The latest update.  After my difficulties using the unreachable payment server, the CSR emailed me asking for all my requirements for the new SIM, and very efficiently sent me the SIM on Tuesday.  This arrived by courier on Friday - I was out of course so a card was left (can't understand why Telecom don't just post SIMs in an envelope so they get left in the mailbox).  Received the SIM on Saturday, with a promised number porting date of Sunday at 1545.  According to the email:

 

Your Telecom SIM card is scheduled to be connected on 17/11/13 at 15.45. Your $60 credit will be applied within 48 hours of this date

 

Once your existing mobile number is transferred to your Telecom SIM card, your SIM card with your current service provider will be disconnected. When you receive your Telecom SIM card, if you would like to bring forward the date that your existing mobile number is brought across to Telecom, you can call 0800 55 00 45 to reschedule this.

 

Well, I dialed this number to receive an automated message telling me my t-stick was already set up for data - strange
Dialing the number in the SIM packaging got me through to a CSR who said he'd bring the porting time forward to Sunday morning (I was out in the afternoon and didn't want to be disconnected).  I needn't to have worried, because as of now (Sunday evening) my 2degrees connection is still alive and well

To be continued...