Isocnz council votes to rewrite critical report

The Isocnz council has spiked a report from its own working group which recommends the removal of the domain name registry function from Domainz.

The Isocnz council has spiked a report from its own working group which recommends the removal of the domain name registry function from Domainz.

The group, led by Victoria University's John Hine, was tasked in March with reviewing and making recommendations on the framework within which the domain name system for the .nz country-code domain is administered and managed. Its members include council chair Peter Dengate Thrush and Isocnz's well-regarded executive director Sue Leader, both in an ex-officio capacity.

Recommendations in its draft report include the adoption of an ICANN-style shared registry system, under which the registry database and customer service functions of the DNS would be separated - meaning Domainz would compete on the same basis as other organisations which wish to act as registrars. Registars - typically ISPs and Internmet developers - can currently act only as agents for Domainz.

But after the draft was presented to the Isocnz council meeting on May 26, the council passed a motion that "the Working Group report be rewritten, with the recommendations deleted and replaced by a number of key questions on which further input and discussion is invited, and presented" at the Isocnz AGM on June 23.

The motion was moved by council secretary Frank March and is based on a response written by March before the working group's draft report was published. The motion was seconded by councillor Andrew Mason, who is currently working as a consultant on implementation of the troubled Domainz Registry System - which would effectively be replaced under the Hine group's recommendations.

But the council may have no choice but to debate the Hine recommendations at its AGM. Former council member David Farrar says he has had motions bearing "very close resemblance to the recommendation[s] in the report" accepted for the AGM agenda.

With eight councillors - including Jim Higgins, whose dual role on the council and the board of Domainz has been the subject of criticism - ending their terms as of the AGM, June 23 is shaping up as a pivotal day for Isocnz and its registry business.

The recommendations listed in the draft report's executive summary are as follows:

1. That Isocnz adopt a Shared Registry Model for administering the DNS within .nz. This should be implemented by removing the Registry function from Domainz and maintaining Domainz as a Registrar.

2. That Isocnz establish an Implementation Team consisting of representatives of appropriate Council Committees and Working Groups, an industry representative and contracted project manager to oversee the transition.

3. Requirements to become a Registrar should be minimal: a legal entity willing to sign its contract and pay its invoices.

4. The charging regime use by the Registry should be as neutral as possible, reflecting the Registrars use of the Registry. A monthly charge should include a fixed or minimum component equivalent to approximately 100 names.

5. The information held in the Registry for each name should be that information required for the correct operation of the DNS, identification and authentication of both the responsible Registrar and the Registrant, and technical and administrative contacts for the name.

6. Isocnz should establish policy setting standards for the governance of the .nz portion of the DNS. This policy should be enforced through contracts.

7. Isocnz should adopt a Statement of Best Practice. This statement should be instrumental in the governance of the Registry and in the development of working relationships with Registrars.

8. A standing committee should be established to maintain liaison between Isocnz, the Registry and the Registrars.

9. Isocnz should consult with its legal advisors with a view to establishing a method for funding DNS policy development that is fully transparent and subject to annual approval of the membership.

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