Only one sour note at InternetNZ AGM

A dispute about the previous year's budget and the probably illusory danger of InternetNZ being technically insolvent at the beginning of the year enlivened the second instalment of an otherwise routine AGM.

A dispute about the previous year's budget and the probably illusory danger of InternetNZ being technically insolvent at the beginning of the year enlivened the second instalment of an otherwise routine AGM.

The meeting of the internet policy body, held last weekend, had failed to reach a quorum the previous weekend. This time it still attracted only 14 members, rising to about 20 with late arrivals. Fortunately, a resumed meeting is judged to have achieved a quorum no matter how small the number attending.

President Keith Davidson tried to put an optimistic face on the low attendance, saying that since members had not turned up in great numbers to protest against what InternetNZ was doing. “I take that as showing that we’re doing what members want.”

Officials of the society and its subcommittees had, however, not done what outgoing treasurer Steven Heath wanted.

His biggest criticism was that last year’s AGM had drawn up a budget that “if adhered to would have led to the society being insolvent near the beginning of 2002”, had it not been for an “unexpected” dividend of about $300,000 from Domainz.

Other officials said the dividend was not unexpected at all, and the society had never been in danger of insolvency, whereupon Heath asked if it had been expected why had it not formed part of the budget. Heath also criticised lack of expenditure planning by subcommittees and “extreme unwillingness on the part of the executive director to do cashflow projections”.

Councillor Jennifer Northover moved that the treasurer’s report be not accepted until the language was changed to reflect “a less subjective approach” and several typographical errors fixed. T he motion was passed and the report was rejected.

A series of scheduled motions saw the administrative committee denied increased power to interpret rules, and officers and members retain the right to resign their offices and memberships as an act of protest and rejoin the society at any time. It had been suggested that they be barred from returning for a year.

The industry advisory group to InternetNZ, which has never been active, was abolished, and a motion to reduce the size of council from 20 to 14 was passed. Almost all members present at the meeting voted against this motion, but it was passed 34 to 13 when online votes were counted.

It had been intended that all votes for the new treasurer, Chris Streatfield, and for the advance motions would be done online, and two terminals were provided at the meeting for this purpose. Most members present, however, had either not received or forgotten to bring their voting identifiers and passwords, so the votes had to be conducted manually.

The meeting concluded with a summary of the proposed new structure of international internet body Icann, by international committee head Peter Dengate Thrush, who suggested the new structure, if implemented, would give more influence to members from domains outside the US than the old structure had, but there were still some concerns about eight board members being appointed by a shadowy “nominating committee”, which is likely to preserve a state of US domination.

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