Leap Day Broke New Zealand’s Gas Stations

Leap Day Broke New Zealand’s Gas Stations

February 29 is a weird day. It comes around once every four years, bringing with it questions about if we should be paid extra for the day, if it’s good or bad luck to get engaged on the sacred day and guesses as to whether fancy watches will keep up with the extra day. In New Zealand, however, they had bigger issues: Leap Day totally messed up the country’s gas stations.

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Pay points at filling stations across New Zealand were out of action for 10 hours yesterday, reports Ars Technica. The unwanted shutdown came when the calendar flipped over to February 29 and computer systems running pay stations at gas stations across the country couldn’t cope.

According to the site, filling stations operated by multinationals like BP, as well as local gas companies including Gull and Waitomo, couldn’t accept payments made through their self-pay terminals. As Ars Technica explains:

John Scott, the CEO of Invenco Group, the provider of the self-payment terminals that malfunctioned, confirmed to Reuters that a “leap year glitch” caused the problem. Scott said the problem only affected New Zealand code. Invenco is investigating for more information about what caused the glitch.

Scott also told The New Zealand Herald that Invenco worked with Worldline as it rolled out the fix. France-headquartered Worldline makes software for processing card payments. Worldline claimed that all non-Invenco terminals using its technology continued to work during the outage, per Otago Daily Times.

The outage was more than just a mild amusement for anyone that thought New Zealand just forgot about the day. According to some reports out of the country, one driver was turned away from four gas stations after they couldn’t get a payment to process and fill up their car. At the other end of the stick, gas stations were forced to miss out on half a day’s business over the snafu.

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The outage hit local chains and international gas giants. Photo: Mark Coote/Bloomberg (Getty Images)

Thankfully, the problem was fixed before the calendar was turned over to March. That, however, didn’t stop one Allied Petroleum representative quipping that the retailer would be sure to add the leap day to their calendars before it next rolled around in 2028.

Alternatively, maybe just give your gas station workers an extra day off next leap year, New Zealand?