NZICT scratches to establish quorum at AGM

Industry body abolishes preferential voting rights

Industry organisation the NZICT group had difficulty establishing a quorum at its annual general meeting yesterday.

A quorum was required to make approve accounts and reports and to vote on a crucial constitutional change. This abolishes preferential voting rights, establishing a “one organisation, one vote” policy.

Until now, Tier One corporate members – the largest and richest organisations, mostly international companies - have been entitled to three votes, Tier Two companies to two votes and general members to one.

This has brought some criticism of the organisation as being dominated by large international players.

The vote to change this part of the constitution nearly failed to occur, however, as initially only 25 voting members turned up at the two AGM venues, in Auckland and Wellington (connected by videoconference). The quorum is 32.

If the vote had been formally abandoned, it would have been another week before it could be taken again. It was decided to postpone the vote and hope more members turned up later in the evening – but this didn’t quite happen either.

One more member was cajoled into Wellington with a phone call and another five arrived later in the evening in Auckland, leaving the meeting still one short. Finally a non-member in Auckland consented to join – at a reduced fee – and a quorum was established.

The vote was overwhelmingly in favour of abolishing preferential voting rights.

CEO Brett O’Riley’s term of office ceased at the AGM and a successor has still not been appointed, though there are “excellent candidates”, O’Riley says.

Shortage of personnel remains the industry’s biggest challenge, O’Riley told the meeting, and this will affect the whole New Zealand economy as more business is done digitally. An effort must be made to establish contact with the rising generation of “digital natives” and persuade them that the skills they think of as natural can be the passport to a good career, O’Riley said.

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