Single vote blocked NZCS consulting membership

Ian Howard has resigned from the NZCS Council and joined the ICT-NZ board in protest at Council split

NZ Computer Society members have been prevented by a crucial casting vote of the ruling Council from being consulted on joining the new industry umbrella body, ICT-NZ, says former Council member Ian Howard.

The NZCS council was split evenly in the vote earlier this year over a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the organisations to join forces. Howard has since resigned from the Council and joined the ICT-NZ board in protest at the split, which he says reflects a geographical and philosophical division between those willing to move to reflect the modern commoditised nature of the industry and those clinging to a notion of an industry requiring siloed sets of expert technical disciplines.

He believes the attitude among the broader membership would be more favourable to negotiations with ICT-NZ. “People usually get things right,” he says, while official bodies don’t necessarily reflect broad opinion.

The vote showed a North-South division in attitude, Howard says. Northland, Auckland and Waikato delegates were in favour of a referendum and those from Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin against.

The motion was lost on the President’s casting vote.

Government bodies such as NZ Trade and Enterprise, faced with a fragmented industry, have already turned to focussing their attention on individual companies rather than industry bodies, Howard says.

“That shows the futility of fragmentation. It’s time for collaboration to take over from competition.” ICT-NZ is still working to try to find a way through the differences with NZCS, he says.

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