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Topic # 85638 23-Jun-2011 00:42
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(Note to mods: I've specifically put this in Off-topic, because it's really about Auckland Council, and imo it doesn't really fit the Telecom forum)

TL;DR Version: Auckland Council has weird hi-jinx with their local phone number, that in some cases, forces people to make a 'toll call'.

Okay, so the Auckland Council has a special 'call free from anywhere in Auckland' number: (09) 301 0101, they've had it since the merger in November last year.

We were part of the old Rodney Western Ward (specifically in Waimauku - which is part of the Auckland Local Calling Area).

After the merger happened, calling worked fine as a local number (301 0101) for us for a while, although half the time we'd ring up the person in the call centre (presuming the old Auckland City Council staff) would say "Oh, I have no idea about that, let me transfer you to Owera".

At one point I commented about this to one of the Owera staff who told me "Oh yeah, we are changing that, anyone calling from the old Rodney will get automatically diverted to the Owera phone system 'soon'", which I just assumed meant that Auckland Council would just trunk the calls to Owera.  But oh how wrong I was!

A couple of months ago, when I was still with Orcon for tolls, we tried to call the Council and started getting messages from the exchange saying to the effect of: "This is an automated message from Telecom, the number you are dialling is a Toll Call and needs to be prefixed with '09'", Orcon told me on Twitter that "Well yeah, that number would be charged at normal rates if you prefix w/ 09" so I called up Telecom to report a fault with local calling.  (To cut a long story short, after one unhelpful Faults guy, I managed to get someone that knew what they were doing, and they did some fancy thing to override the override code, which let me dial as a free call, but I never heard what the outcome of the issue was, so assumed it was fixed). 

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, we needed to query something with the council, so called again, and got the exact same exchange message, now with tolls at Telecom, and the same issue, I called faults ago, and after some hunting by them got told that instead of (what I'd assume is the norm) Auckland Council handling redirecting calls within their own system, they asked Telecom to redirect calls from ex-Rodney area phone prefixes, to the Owera office, at the exchange level, because I didn't dial '09' the exchange(s) wouldn't let the redirect to an out-of-area exchange happen.

In the end faults said, "It's not a fault, it's not an ideal setup, it confuses us, but it's how we were told to set it up".  (And I can't blame them, gotta listen to the people that pay the big $$$)

I'm not stingy for not dialing 09 before dialing a local number, and I am left to wonder, how many other people are confused by this (especially when I'm sure I've heard Auckland Council omit the 09 in Radio Ads).

Anyway, this is mainly for humour, and the question: Are there any other weird/wacky setups like this in NZ?

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Baby Get Shaky!
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  Reply # 484778 23-Jun-2011 07:50
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No wonder I've been getting comments about trouble calling the AC council. I refer a lot of people to that number and the AC Transport number and a few have come back saying they can't call it. Sounds like an extremely hap-hazard way of doing things.

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  Reply # 484794 23-Jun-2011 08:47
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IMHO, Auckland does not cover anything north of the harbour bridge, including North Shore. I lived in Glenfield for a few years until recently, and any time I looked up anything to do with Auckland (as the greater area, not just Nth Shore), North Shore/Rodney never ever appeared in the searches.

Even a recent report on the quality of water at popular swimming beaches for ALL of Auckland ommitted results (or even testing) of beaches in the North Shore area.

Getting bit OT now :-p
Back on track....

Since moving to Rodney District (sorry, "AUCKLAND SUPER CITY"), Ive also had the fun of trying to reach the Orewa council office - however Im on Orcons plan with "free" national calling so calling 09 etc isnt an issue for me.

I dont see why they bother with a central number when everyone knows their local council number and you end up being directed there anyway....




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  Reply # 484798 23-Jun-2011 09:03
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Seems like local calling is an outdated concept these days :)

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  Reply # 484808 23-Jun-2011 09:23
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Free local calling is outdated....







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  Reply # 484851 23-Jun-2011 10:11
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kingjj: No wonder I've been getting comments about trouble calling the AC council. I refer a lot of people to that number and the AC Transport number and a few have come back saying they can't call it. Sounds like an extremely hap-hazard way of doing things.


If I remember correctly, Akl Transport's number doesn't have any toll exemptions.  I think the big problem is that if they wanted to do some 'Auckland Wide' toll free number, they should've just got an 0800 (or similar) from Telecom, asked for a special deal, and require out of Auckland callers (which I'd imagine would be a few that would be calling out-of-area about their consents etc) to call a toll number.

That is how Rodney Council (and iirc, Maxx) did it successfully for many years.

I also had suspicions when the number was first advertised that providers wouldn't identify it as a free to call number either.

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  Reply # 484863 23-Jun-2011 10:22
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It's the downside of NZ where there is no established nationwide local access number range. In Aussie for example a 1-300 number is a local call within any LICA and in the UK there are several ranges including 0870. Here the only option is 0800 which can be a very costly option.

When 0867 was introduced there was talk of pushing a number such as 0873 as a local access number but this never really gained any traction.



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  Reply # 484869 23-Jun-2011 10:31
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sbiddle: It's the downside of NZ where there is no established nationwide local access number range. In Aussie for example a 1-300 number is a local call within any LICA and in the UK there are several ranges including 0870. Here the only option is 0800 which can be a very costly option.

When 0867 was introduced there was talk of pushing a number such as 0873 as a local access number but this never really gained any traction.


I was going to mention that, but the problem with comparing to the Australian model, is that 'local calling' also costs a flag fall.

As NZ doesn't have any local charges. I'm not sure how viable 'local-rate' numbers would be for the Teleco's, I will give it one thing, it'd be much better for the Auckland Council setup, which I think is your point.

Edit:  Maybe what needs to be done, is for the NAD to provision a bunch of 'big back yard' type number prefixes in each area, split it up into the major calling districts (Auckland, Wellington, etc etc), which are defined as free (with or without 09/etc) from within the parent calling district.  I'd imagine something as part of the 09 assignments, or maybe something like 08xy  (x = 3,4,6,7,9   y = a number for each sub region in x).

It could work.

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