New Zealand Law Society

Navigation menu

Domain Name Commission releases first regulatory review

29 August 2019

The Domain Name Commission Ltd has published its first regulatory review. This was carried out by independent reviewer David Pickens and covers 2018/19.

The Commission (DNCL) was appointed by InternetNZ to develop and monitor a competitive domain name registrar market. InternetNZ holds the .nz top level country code top level domain name delegation. The DNCL is governed by a board of directors, with operational matters managed by an independent Domain Name Commissioner and staff.

The review was sought by the DNCL and is based on 23 interviews with key DNCL stakeholders, documents and feedback provided by the DNCL and desktop research.

The review says there is much for current and past DNCL staff to be proud of.

"They are well regarded for what has been achieved to date and, equally, there is much optimism with respect to where the DNCL is heading. Culture, integrity, capability and transparency all feature highly. Further, there appears little threat to the DNCL’s strong public interest agenda; and the self-regulatory model, with some stakeholder and government oversight, appears the right one. Those with an international perspective of TLDs were particularly effusive in their praise."

However, it says, there are challenges. The internet provides opportunities for enormous gain, but there are also tremendous risks and costs.

"Many stakeholders felt the DNCL was not playing its part in helping to manage these risks. There were many calls for a more active DNCL. This, it was claimed, would be consistent with international trends and was necessary to retain confidence and safety in the .nz space. Others, however, disagreed; citing lack of evidence, they also worried about the associated costs and suggested others were better placed to take on such a role.The importance of natural justice and following due process were also emphasised," the review says.

"Both sides appeared credible and the author was unable to choose which to support. What was clear, however, was the potential for such a rift between important stakeholders to damage the .nz space. A process to resolve that rift is suggested in the report, one the DNCL appears already to be taking."

Last updated on the 16th September 2019