DNC newsletter - December 2019



December 2019 

Message from the Commissioner

Kia Ora and happy holidays,

It’s our last newsletter of the year. Before we head into a new decade, let’s reminisce over the highlights in 2019.  

The start of the year began with a focus on: 

  • A safer namespace because of the exceptional circumstances related to the Christchurch terrorism event. It resulted in a new interim emergency domain name suspension power. This power is only to be used in limited circumstances for online terrorism content associated with a .nz domain name.
  • Our landmark defence of our award in the US courts of a preliminary injunction against DomainTools and the settlement of our US case against WhoIs XML API. Part of our efforts has been to leverage the litigation to instigate broader policy debates when it comes to protecting registrant’s privacy choices locally and globally.

In the middle of the year two significant strategic pieces of work were delivered: the Deloitte Compliance Strategy and David Pickens independent regulatory review report on the operations of the Domain Name Commission.

As a result, much of the DNCL’s focus this year has been directed to implementing the recommendations made by Deloitte and Mr Pickens. We have made a number of structural changes to the way we work and formed partnerships with third-party providers to bolster our threat monitoring, compliance and market reporting functions. More changes will happen in 2020 and progress reports will be added to the website. 

This year we also:

  • completed our end-to-end review of our dispute resolution service which has resulted in a decision to introduce negotiation as a service for the resolution of domain name disputes among other matters. A pilot of a new negotiation service will commence in 2020 and
  • we rolled out several awareness and educational campaigns throughout the year including a spotlight on the .schools.nz domain namespace and  #ShopSafeNZ campaign to tackle fake webshops. 12 partners supported the campaign in its inaugural year.  

We were exceptionally busy building and maintaining international multi-stakeholder relationships to contribute to global cooperation that promotes a safe, trusted and secure domain namespace.

As well as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and Council for the Country Code Names Supporting Organisation (CCNSO) we were on working groups and gave presentations at:

We also have strengthened some special relationships locally with the Digital Safety Office, part of the Department of Internal Affairs and CERT NZ. We extended our Pacific cooperation with Vanuatu hosting a colleague and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Papua New Guinea to build their capacity. We are also working with the Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society and APTLD to bring APTLD to the Pacific for the first time in Fiji in 2021.

In terms of our governance, structure and operations we have:

  • had three departures and two arrivals which have given us the opportunity to create new roles dedicated to customer service, compliance and implementation of reform work and
  • have appointed two new independent Directors to the DNCL Board and two new experts to the .nz dispute resolution panel. 

While 2019 has been transformative for DNCL, it’s also been busy for our small DNCL team, InternetNZ staff and our trusted partners. 

All have worked tirelessly to deliver trusted and safer outcomes for the .nz domain name space and my sincere thanks goes out to them.

Finally, my best wishes to you and your loved ones. May you enjoy a well-earned break, a safe and peaceful holiday season, and I look forward to meeting with many more of you in 2020.  

Ngā Mihi,


Consumer retail price of domain names

The DNCL has again completed a desktop scan of the publicly available retail prices advertised by Registrars for .nz domain names published on their websites. This was last completed in 2017.

The Pickens independent regulatory review identified market information disclosure for Registrars and registrants as an action for the DNCL to consider.

To ensure a competitive market offer for domain names, DNCL will therefore be looking at ways to make retail pricing more transparent to registrants.

The DNCL will be confirming the prices obtained through our website scan in January with each Registrar.


#ShopSafeNZ campaign  

This is the final month of our #ShopSafeNZ campaign. Thank you to our 12 partners who have helped us to spread the word about shopping safer online. 

To check out the campaign visit fakewebshop.nz. We’ve also made available our social share cards here: social cards

Notification to registrants of Web.com, NetworkSolutions and Keysystems

The DNCL has written to all impacted registrants of the Web.com data breach this month to remind them to update their passwords. 

The message also warns registrants to be extra careful at this time of year with clicking on links in emails as they may be more prone to phishing attacks.

Dispute resolution experts

The disputes resolution panel held their annual meeting to discuss their expert decisions in Auckland. There were 11 decisions to discuss since last year’s meeting. All decisions of the experts are available at https://dnc.org.nz/decisions

The meeting was also the last for Sir Ian Barker QC who retires from the panel of experts after more than 10 years. 

Sir Ian has had an illustrious legal career spanning six decades stretching back to the 1950s. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1973, 15 years into his career and was a Judge of the High Court from 1976 to 1997. He is also the longest-serving chancellor at the University of Auckland, from 1991 to 1999.

Sir Ian has been instrumental in shaping global and local legal approaches to domain name disputes. He has been a World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) panellist for domain disputes for almost 20 years and was one of the first experts appointed by the Domain Name Commission to hear .nz domain disputes.

Sir Ian leaves the panel with all our very best well wishes. There will be an announcement in the new year of Sir Ian’s replacement plus an additional panellist. 

DNCL Board changes 

After five and a half years as a Director of DNCL, Lucy Elwood has stepped down. 

Lucy has been an instrumental part of DNCL’s efforts for self- regulatory best practices and was a key supporter of the DNCL’s decision to conduct US-based litigation.

She leaves at a time when the company has defined its next three-year strategy and continues with its focus on market regulatory, dispute resolution and compliance and enforcement functions. 

Lucy’s term ends on 31 December and we thank her for her governance expertise, enthusiasm and efforts over the years. 

Adam Hunt continues as a Director through to the middle of 2020 and will be joined by two new independent directors for the first Board meeting in February 2020. InternetNZ will make an announcement about the new directors.

Office hours & dispute resolution service hours   

Our office will be closed from 4 pm on 20 December 2019 and will re-open on 6 January 2019. We will be triaging enquiries via our email service.

Over the holiday period, the .nz dispute resolution service will be closed. The final working day will be 20 December 2019, with the first working day of being 13th January 2020.

2019 year in numbers

Media and articles that caught our attention 

The .nz panel dives deeper into on .nz policy issues

uk: Nominet establishes Countering Online Harm Fund to help tackle child exploitation.

CENTR publishes its Report on the Internet Engineering Task Force meeting which took place on 16-22 November 2019 

DNC news