111 (pronounced "one-one-one") is the emergency telephone number in New Zealand.

111 was first implemented in Masterton and Carterton on 29 September 1958, and was progressively rolled out nationwide, with the last exchanges converting in 1988. In 2008, 111 is celebrating fifty years of service.

Why 111?

111 was specifically chosen to comply with the positioning of United Kingdom's 999. With pulse dialling, New Zealand telephones pulse in reverse to the UK - dialling 0 sent ten pulses, 1 sent nine, 2 sent eight, 3 sent seven, etc in New Zealand, while in the UK, dialling 1 sent one pulse, 2 sent two, etc. In the early years, New Zealand telephone equipment was based on British Post Office equipment, except for this unusual orientation. Therefore dialling 111 on a New Zealand telephone sent three sets of nine pulses to the exchange, exactly the same as UK's 999.

Dialling 111

Any phone within New Zealand can dial 111, even mobiles and payphones with no credit.

Upon dialling 111, the Telecom operator will answer first: "111 emergency - Fire, Ambulance or Police?". The operator will then connect you to the relevant service. For situations requiring multiple services, the operator will put you through to the most urgently needed service (For example, in a car accident involving injuries, which requires both Ambulance and Police, the operator will put you through to Ambulance.).

On average, only one in three calls to 111 are real emergencies. After the first false call, if you make another false call to 111 within a month, the fine is $6.


In New Zealand in 2004, the police answering of emergency telephone service came under sustained scrutiny for systemic problems. On May 11 2005, a severely critical independent report [ [http://www.police.govt.nz/resources/2005/comm-centres-review/ Communications Centres Service Centre Independent External Review Final Report - New Zealand Police] ] into the Police Communications Centres was released. It expressed ongoing concerns for public safety, and identified inadequate management, poor leadership, inadequate training, understaffing, underutilised technology and a lack of customer focus as being underlying risks for systemic failures. The report made over 60 recommendations for improvement, including recommending a 15 to 20 year strategy to move away from using 111 as an emergency telephone number because of problems with misdialing due to the repeated digits.

Despite ambiguous reporting, these issues were never with the 111 service itself, and did not impact fire or ambulance services. The problems were restricted solely to the Police Communications Centres.

International usage of 111

In North America, this code cannot be used as an N11 number because of a conflict with the rotary alternative for star commands (11XX for *XX).

In South Korea, 111 is a special telephone number for reporting spies, international crimes, terrorism, corporate espionage, employment fraud and forgeries, and other crimes that threaten national security. It is operated by National Intelligence Service. [ [http://www.nis.go.kr/docs/center/ National Intelligence Service] ko]

ee also

* 000 Emergency phone number in Australia.
* 112 Emergency phone number across the European Union and on GSM mobile networks across the world.
* 119 Emergency phone number in parts of East Asia.
* 911 Emergency phone number in US and Canada.
* 999 Emergency phone number in United Kingdom (where it works parallel to 112), Poland and the former emergency telephone number in Ireland. Also an emergency number in several non-EU countries.

* Emergency telephone
* Emergency telephone number
* In case of emergency (ICE) entry in the mobile phone book.


External links

* [http://www.111.govt.nz/ Official 111 website]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJ6_rQ4GTMc YouTube video: Behind the scenes of "111" NZ Police Communications]
* [http://www.police.govt.nz/service/111/helping-police.html NZ Police simulated 111 calls]

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