InternetNZ investigates becoming a charity

Seeking charitable status is "quite reasonable" as the organisation promotes the public good and it is not run for profit, says president

InternetNZ, the organisation that manages New Zealand internet domain addresses among other functions, is exploring whether it qualifies for charitable status as an organisation that promotes the public good.

President Colin Jackson says InternetNZ pays a substantial amount of tax. Seeking charitable status is “quite reasonable”, he says, as the organisation promotes the public good and it is not run for profit.

“It looks like it might be possible, with the members’ permission,” he says. “It would enable us to do more or to reduce domain name fees further.”

InternetNZ has a policy that the price for domain names should be stable or decreasing and has in the past regularly cut the cost of registration.

Jackson says InternetNZ is also restructuring, to introduce a “commercially focused” board across the core society. It has already done this in relation to other functions such as that of the Domain Name Commissioner.

“It would elevate the council and allow it to do more strategy work and not [spend so much time] dealing with the governance of the office,” Jackson says.

The proposal was recently put to members around the country and received good support, Jackson says.

InternetNZ is also very busy dealing with issues around the operational separation of Telecom, an emerging debate about peering and other proposals, he says.

InternetNZ is keen to encourage fibre-to-the home by lobbying councils to mandate open-access ducting is used whenever trenching work is undertaken. Trenching is the major cost in introducing fibre, Jackson says. Open-access ducting would allow fibre to be laid much more cheaply.

Jackson says InternetNZ supports the development of the new umbrella organisation for the sector, ICTNZ.

“We support ICTNZ and facilitated its development but will not subsume ourselves into it,” he says. “InternetNZ is a member of ICTNZ but will remain an independent body.”

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