Peter Dunne needs to explain why millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money is being used to prop up outdated and unsupported computer systems across the public service - exposing some key Ministries to increased security risks, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says.
Labour has complained to the Ombudsman following a refusal by Mr Dunne to respond to Official Information Act requests and requests by a journalist on the number of government agencies continuing to run computers on the Microsoft Windows XP operating system which is no longer officially supported by Microsoft.
Microsoft, along with various security agencies, has issued global alerts regarding the serious cyber security risks facing organisations that remain on the unsupported XP system. High fees are being charged for extended service agreements.
“According to OIA responses, at least 20 ministries and 14 district health boards failed to migrate all of their computer terminals off of Windows XP before Microsoft’s 8 April 2014 end of support deadline,” Clare Curran says.
“At least 40,000 computer terminals remain on the obsolete XP operating system, with individual agencies left to either shell out taxpayer dollars to Microsoft to extend support, or shrug their shoulders and hope for the best.
“They include Police (nearly 10,000), Justice (5,584), Defence (73), Corrections (259), and Ministry of Primary Industries (1793). More than $1 million has already been paid out over an unspecified time to continue support of nearly 20,000 DHB computers still using XP.
“The Department of Internal Affairs, through the Government Chief Information Officer, is meant to show leadership on internal Government ICT Policy, yet while every other agency has revealed their corresponding figures without question Peter Dunne and the Department of Internal Affairs continue to hide behind national security provisions of the OIA and refuse to do so.
“This government has known the exact date XP support would expire for the last six years yet decided to let individual agencies flounder and go it alone, wasting millions in taxpayer funds and hiding the true cost,” Clare Curran said.