ISOCNZ AGM: New name, new direction

The Internet Society of NZ has ditched its long-winded handle and become InternetNZ, by massive approval of its membership at the annual general meeting on Friday evening.

The Internet Society of NZ has ditched its long-winded handle and become InternetNZ, by massive approval of its membership at the annual general meeting on Friday evening. Of the three design agencies retained to come up with a name and logo for the organisation, one declined to do so unless it was given future work on the back of the exercise, according to InternetNZ executive director Sue Leader, while another ran into shortage of resources due to illness. The remaining company came up with three candidate names. No one wanted “ccTLDnz”, since management of the .nz namespace – the country code top-level domain or TLD – is only part of the organisation’s activities. The third candidate was “dot-nz”. This had some supporters, but many considered it awkward for describing in print or spoken word. Several members considered the “rebranding” premature before the society had clearly delineated its objectives. Such debate would be a continuing process anyway, argued chairman Peter Dengate Thrush, before putting the motion “that the society rebrand”. This was carried by a large majority. One reason for renaming the organisation is to avoid giving the impression that it is a local chapter of the international Internet Society (ISOC). ISOCNZ is independent of ISOC, though it retains close relations. Five alternative logos were advanced. The one with “www” spelt out in forking fern leaves saw members – including the officers at the top table – break into repeated obscene finger gestures. The favoured logo combines the fern leaf with a pixelated cursor arrow, though no final selection was made at the meeting. On a more crucial front, the meeting was faced with many changes to its constitution, submitted by a working party from within the society. These were formally phrased as more than 40 separate motions, but it was decided to hold a general discussion on each main theme. A form with all motions will be circulated electronically, allowing members to vote on each motion online. Main themes were: that the officers be elected by the membership rather than the council; that electronic general meetings be allowed including a special “veto” category for the membership to approve or decline “substantive” decisions of council; that the AGM be held in late February or early March to allow the budget for the forthcoming year to be debated fully before it was put into practice; that members be organised into “constituencies” representing parts of the industry. This, some thought, could create forceful and divisive lobbies within the organisation. Lastly, there was a reorganisation of membership, formally creating fellows of the society. Frank March of the Ministry of Economic Development – secretary of the society - and Don Neal, Rex Croft and Neil James, who worked on the establishment of the internet in New Zealand, were elected fellows. Following controversy over the relationship between ISOCNZ and domain-name registering company Domainz, a motion was passed at the meeting that the chair of the society not be on the board of Domainz and no one should be an officer of both organisations. An election was held to replace 11 positions on the council, and since there were only 13 candidates the result was uncontroversial.

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