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Dateline: 6 March 2000 Early Edition
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I wish I could Stop But...
It was good to see the story that Aardvark and NetGuide broke on Friday about advertising banners on the government's website got some mainstream coverage -- shame nobody cares to acknowledge those who did the groundwork.

Aardvark published the story at 6 am Friday morning -- however, perhaps just coincidentally, the opposition spokesman for IT, Maurice Williamson announced that HE had uncovered the story in a press release issued just before mid-day.

Ultimately it was egg on faces all around for the government and opposition parties. Williamson had to button his lip after scolding the government for their blatant commercialism when it was revealed that the decision to carry the ads was made during the final days of his government's administration -- in compliance with the free-market mantra that was current at the time.

Political bickering aside -- more interesting information has come to hand regarding the operation of the government website.

It seems that despite all the lip-service being paid to the importance of the Internet, e-commerce and a Knowledge Based Economy, neither the current Labour/Alliance coalition, nor the National government before it have seen fit to adequately fund this site.

The software on which it runs is shareware and I've been advised that the department which carries the burden of building and maintaining the site has been forced to invoice other government departments for their listings on it -- simply because they're that short of funding.

This is outrageous -- and makes a total mockery of successive government's claims to be committed to NZ's hi-tech future.

Full marks to the few hard working souls who have managed to create the current government site under what must be rather difficult circumstances. Three stokes of the cane and a week's detention for the government for being so hypocritical.

And about the government's claims to be working to build NZ's knowledge based economy: I renew my call for the government to put-up or shut-up.

Jim Anderton was to have fronted up for a radio programme last night in which I was also to have participated but, not surprisingly, he was a no-show. What's the matter Jim... running scared?

As always, your comments are gladly received.

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