On the 3rd of May, 2000 Telecom New Zealand carried out their promised destruction of phonecards which had been returned to Telecom by the public. These cards had been returned to Telecom for replacement with new "Chip" cards following the upgrading in 1999 of the Telecom cardphone to a smart "Chip" based system.

From September 1999 onwards, thousands of members of the public took up Telecoms offer to exchange cards by posting their old magnetic phonecards to a Post Office box in Christchurch. After processing the returned cards and posting out replacements all the old cards were punched with a single hole and then put back into the original wrappers and then stored in locked "wheelie bins".

On the 3rd of May, 2000 Telecom arranged for the destruction of these cards by shredding at a commercial security disposal company. To witness this disposal several people were invited along by Telecom New Zealand. Those present were Lester Hotton (President of the Christchurch Phonecard Club,  Steven McLachlan (Phonecard Dealer) and George Calvert (Phonecard issuer).

The following photos illustrate the destruction of the cards.

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"Wheelie Bins" being unlocked by Telecom Staff member Cindy Duck.

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"Wheelie Bin" contents being tipped onto chute slide

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Phonecard packages on chute

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Selection of phonecards awaiting shredding

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Card packages being sorted onto conveyor belt

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Cards going down chute for shredding

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Shreds of phonecards and packaging on conveyor belt

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Another view of shredded phonecards on conveyor belt.

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Compacted cube of shredded phonecards being loaded into wastetaker bin

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George Calvert overseeing destruction process

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The "Destruction Team"  led by Bruce Buddicom of Telecom Payphones at right.

Although exact figures for the total number of cards destroyed are not yet available the total face value will exceed several million dollars. It is also understood that another destruction will take place in Auckland later this year when Telecom's own remaining stocks of magnetic phonecards are shredded.

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