The .nz Advisory Panel makes its recommendations to InternetNZ
Sue Chetwin .nz Advisory Panel Chair •
The .nz Advisory Panel has now finished its work and made its recommendations to InternetNZ, on the future of the .nz policies.
It would be an understatement to say this has been quite the journey. When our panel of 10 (now nine) set out on this review in the middle of last year, none of us truly understood what lay ahead in terms of the workload. Then there was, and remains, the spectre of COVID-19. The panel was determined not to let the pandemic stand in the way of taking as wide a sounding as possible from local communities and experienced stakeholders. This has enabled us to develop recommendations which should lead to improvements for all involved in the .nz domain name space.
The Panel’s task was to consider whether the .nz policy framework was still fit-for-purpose, after little amendment over two decades. In undertaking the work, we were mindful of how significantly online activity had increased since the last review. Its ubiquity has turned it from a fun activity to an essential service (which is still fun a lot of the time!) But, importantly, most of us simply cannot live without access to it. So, the Panel’s view was the principles guiding the custodian of the .nz Top Level Domain, InternetNZ, needed to reflect its importance to New Zealand-Aotearoa and its peoples.
In making the recommendations, the Panel recognised our vastly changed demographics since the early 2000s. That puts pressure on InternetNZ and .nz to offer a service reflective of that change. In particular, there has been a strong revival in the use and learning of te reo Māori—the principles need to reflect that growth and encourage greater participation in .nz by Māori.
The Panel wants .nz to be in a position to encourage people to participate and innovate online. The recommendations reflect the idea that anyone wanting to access a .nz domain name and gain the skills to do so, should be able to easily achieve that. Of course that needs to be balanced against .nz’s use in a secure way. So, .nz needs to have the tools and developed networks to address harmful content expeditiously— as it did with its emergency measures during the Christchurch mosque mass murders and more recently with COVID-19 to stop the dissemination of harmful content.
The panel is recommending the .nz domain name space should be governed by five overarching principles. We recommend that .nz:
- be secure, trusted and safe
- be open and accessible
- serve and benefit New Zealand and reflect and be responsive to our diverse social, cultural and ethnic environment
- support te reo Māori and participation in .nz by Māori
- enable New Zealand to grow and develop.
Under the principle about supporting te reo Māori and Māori participation in .nz, it is particularly recommending InternetNZ needs to consult more with Māori to develop meaningful partnership relationships.
The Panel was appointed to this work because of its different but important expertise in the various aspects of Internet domain name use. It’s a broad church. All have worked tirelessly to bring this recommendations report together. The debates have been vigorous but respectful. On behalf of the Panel, I would like to thank everyone who has given their time and experience to talk to us and provide us with a better understanding of the parts that make up the whole of this extraordinary system. Those consultations have been both domestic and international. Finally, we think our recommendations will make for a better .nz domain name space. They address issues of openness, security, access, benefit, cultural recognition, innovation and growth. They provide the springboard for InternetNZ’s next step in developing the .nz domain name space. On behalf of the panel, it has been a privilege to be involved in such a significant project.
What’s next for the .nz Policy review?
InternetNZ has received our recommendations, and will be looking at how to realise them. InternetNZ will be taking a good look at the proposed changes, and will make some in principle decisions by the end of this year. In early 2021 InternetNZ will be going out to the community to start consultation on a range of policy changes.
Keep an eye out for your chance to have your say on the .nz policy changes next year. For updates on the review, you can sign up below.