InternetNZ Council Candidate Statement 2017

Hello, my name is Dave Moskovitz. I was member number two of the Internet Society of New Zealand (as it was called then) in 1995. I have been on the InternetNZ Council since 2010, and I am asking you to re-elect me for one final term so that I can focus my efforts to bring operational efficiency to our organisation.

TL;DR: I’m an experienced Internet technologist, company director, and innovator. InternetNZ does great work, but has become top-heavy. The time has come to consolidate our gains, and focus on operational efficiency. Rather than growing ourselves, we should put our resources into better supporting other organisations that do good work that is aligned to our objects.

You can find out about my professional background on my blog or LinkedIn profile. Briefly, I’m a software developer by trade, more recently a serial entrepreneur, startup investor, and company director, and passionate about growing the New Zealand digital economy through new companies doing cool stuff on a global stage using the Internet. You might be interested in watching my TEDx Wellington talk on The Four Superpowers of the Internet.

When I entered Council in 2010, InternetNZ was a vastly different organisation, and Council was a very different place too. During my tenure, we’ve seen:

  • The diversification of Council from an all-white-male group to a body that contains a significant number of women as well as Māori representation. Most meetings now have roughly equal numbers of women and men attending.
  • Council lifting its game from being fractious to working well together, respectfully debating the issues to achieve the best outcome for wider society.
  • The professionalisation of staff where InternetNZ is now seen as an important contributor to Internet policy development, and a worthy steward of the dot-nz domain space, as recognised by Government through a Memorandum of Understanding. Our focus areas – Access to the Internet, Trust on the Internet, and Creative Potential – are exactly the areas where InternetNZ can have the most impact. We continue to run a world-class domain name registry with open, transparent, robust policy.
  • The introduction of a formal grants programme and strategic partnership programme whereby we distribute significant funding to other organisations aligned with our objects. We’ve funded a wide variety of important work including such varied initiatives such as relatively early research into SDN, the Christchurch rebuild, the 2020 Trust, and Creative Commons Aotearoa/NZ. Through sponsorships, we’ve also supported Kiwicon, GovHack, Rails Girls, and many more.
  • Key issues supported by our society, such as the rewrite of Section 92a of the Copyright Act to prevent rights holders from wantonly prosecuting alleged infringers, and the nationwide rollout of Ultra Fast Broadband. We also fought against the TPPA, and managed to mitigate some of its worst components, pushed for the establishment of a CERT and rallied against the Vodafone-Sky merger. We’ve also exhibited great leadership in the areas of encryption, copper pricing, and contributed to the Digital Future Manifesto.
  • Much better engagement with our membership and the wider public through events such as NetHui, public speaker series, publications such as dotNews, and stories in the mainstream media.

In many ways, the organisation is on the right track. But things are not nearly as good as they could be. As three organisations (InternetNZ, Domain Name Commission Limited, and NZRS Limited) we lack alignment and could work much more effectively. There has been more than one occasion in the last few years where one of our constituent organisations has “lawyered up” against another. This is not acceptable, and a waste of resources and goodwill. There is unnecessary duplication of effort between the organisations, and no great incentives to coordinate. As a group we’ve sent nine people to an ICANN meeting – without a single structure, there is no way to keep costs like this under control. There are eighteen governors, three CE’s and three deputy CE’s (or equivalent) – that’s crazy for a group of 30-40 people. Our resources are unnecessarily siloed, and we obtain a poor return on investment from them.

I was on the Council’s Organisational Review Committee which recommended that the three organisations be combined into one. It’s worth noting that I am also Council’s nominated director on the board of the Domain Name Commission. This board would be disestablished should the recommendation be carried through, so you could call me a turkey voting for an early Christmas. I also believe that the size of Council should also be significantly reduced.

On the subject of the Domain Name Commission, we could have done a better job in the recent WHOIS consultation. I accept my portion of responsibility for the organisation’s initial poor consideration of vulnerable people affected by the lack of a robust privacy option. However I am satisfied with where the policy landed – we continued to consult, listened, and ultimately ended up with a good result.

I have been a hardworking Councillor, and have a member of the time-consuming but important Grants Committee, and I believe I’ve only missed two Council meetings during my tenure. On Council, I have by far the most experience in governance, and am one of four Councillors with in-depth experience in writing software that implements the protocols that are the core business of our organisation.

Should I be re-elected, my focus will be on Operational Efficiency: turning the InternetNZ group into a high functioning, efficient, authoritative, well-oiled machine that continues to provide world class policy advice, registry services, and works hard for the Local Internet Community as required by RFC1591. Rather than continuing to grow as an organisation, I would rather see InternetNZ deploy its resources in better supporting allied organisations through more grants, sponsorships, and strategic partnerships. Rather than trying to do more ourselves, I believe we will be better off enabling others to do great things with the Internet in their respective spheres of interest.

If you would like to discuss anything with me, I am always available on my email or my mobile +64 27 220 2202.

NZ politicians on their parties’ startup policies

I organised a Lean Startup Meetup today exploring New Zealand political parties’ policies related to startups.

Jonathan Young (National), Gareth Hughes (Greens), Vikram Kumar (Internet Mana), and Clare Curran (Labour) all presented their parties’ positions.

I made an audio recording of the session, which you can either download (mp3, 21MB) or play right here:


Photo credit: @Builtinwgtn

Main points –

Jonathan Young:

  • Innovation is the catalyst for economic development
  • Important for government to be as nimble and sharp as the startup sector
  • The formation of MBIE was important, as it brought many disparate agencies together for the benefits of companies
  • The main people leading government – John Key and Steven Joyce – are both experienced private sector businessmen [sic]
  • Recent announcements are beneficial to startups, eg entrepreneur work visas, cashout policy, black hole expenditure, crowdfunding.

Gareth Hughes:

  • ICT is a priority for the Greens – it’s the future for NZ
  • The development of the ICT sector must be supported by government leadership, including
  • Having a government CTO
  • A Digital Rights Commissioner in the Human Rights Commission
  • Repealing the GCSB ammendments and TICS acts, as well as closing Wahopai
  • Extension of NZVIF
  • Support for organisations light Lightning Lab and The ICEHOUSE
  • Free wifi and public transport

Clare Curran:

  • Startups are part of something much bigger than anyone realises – they’re a critical part of the economy, and the fastest growing part of the economy
  • The ICT sector is at the heart of Labour’s economic development plans
  • We’re facing long-term skill shortages which can only be filled with immigration
  • We have infrastructure issues that need fixing
  • Government procurement must give local companies a decent chance
  • The soon-to-be-announced policy is comprehensive and joined up

Vikram Kumar:

  • The difference between the Internet Party and the rest is similar to the difference between Xero and MYOB – the Internet party was born in the cloud
  • All Internet party policies are ICT policies
  • There are “table stakes” which the government needs to get right as a basis for everything else: provisioning a second cable into NZ and a policy of no government backdoors
  • How do we get, grow, and sustain startups?
    • Free tertiary education
    • Scaling things we know work well, eg the Kiwi Landing Pad
    • Attracting more VC funding into NZ
    • Allowing startup funds to be efficiently recycled by exiting founders
    • More hubs and people working together

InternetNZ Election Statement

I’m standing for the InternetNZ Council again.  This is an important job in a great organisation. If you’re a member, I’d appreciate your vote.  If you’re not a member, then I’d urge you to join (note you must have been a member for at least three months prior to the election to vote).  It only costs $21, and is a great way to be involved in shaping the future of the Internet in New Zealand and globally.

Here’s my election statement (officially published on the InternetNZ web site), and I’d be happy to answer any questions here in the comments.

Hi, I’m Dave Moskovitz and I spend most of my life in startups at the busy intersection of technology, commerce, and making the world a better place. I’m a programmer by trade, but most of my work at present is in governance, investment, and education. You can find out more about me on my blog or my LinkedIn profile.

I have worked hard as a Councillor since my election in 2010. I currently serve on the Grants Committee and the Investment Committee, as well as being the Council-appointed director on the Domain Name Commission board. I have also volunteered to work on the NetHui programme planning group and will do whatever I can to make this year’s NetHui the best yet. I have also served on the Business Development Committee and the CEO review special committee. If you’re in doubt as to my contribution to any of these groups, just ask anyone who’s been involved.

During my tenure I have done my best to be available to members. I’ve participated on the members and Policy Advisory Group (PAG) email lists, trying to keep the signal-to-noise ratio as high as possible, also taking time to be present at member meetings and fora. I’m easy to find online if you’re trying to get in touch with me.

I am particularly pleased that during my time on council, our membership has nearly doubled. Our membership is becoming ever more diverse which is fitting as our stakeholders are really everyone in New Zealand. I strongly believe that InternetNZ is the kaitiaki, or guardian of this critical resource, for the benefit of everyone, and want to ensure that we act in the best interests of wider society, keeping the Internet open and uncaptureable, and promoting a better world through a better Internet. This affects everyone, and as the designated manager of the dot-NZ domain space under RFC1591, we have a sacrosanct responsibility to serve the community. We do this well, but we could be even better.

InternetNZ does a lot of good work, in the areas of promoting better rights and freedoms with respect to online security and surveillance, sensible protection of the fair use of copyrighted material, ensuring that citizens’ rights online are equivalent to their rights offline and more. We’ve worked hard to become the “go-to people” for information and policy advice about the Internet. We enable other organisations such as the 2020 Trust, Creative Commons Aotearoa/NZ, the World Internet Project, and Netsafe to improve access to the Internet, encourage free sharing of information, measure Internet usage, and provide public education about online safety. We also partnered with a number of organisations in Canterbury following the earthquake to do our bit to assist with the Christchurch rebuild. And we help connect our members and stakeholders with each other and wider society through events like NetHui.

I would like to see InternetNZ do even more by using a greater proportion of our resources to enable other organisations to make the Internet in New Zealand a better place, fulfilling our Constitutional object “to maintain and extend the availability of the Internet and its associated technologies and applications in New Zealand, both as an end in itself and as means of enabling organisations, professionals and individuals to more effectively collaborate, cooperate, communicate and innovate in their respective fields of interest.” That is our primary purpose, and that is where we should be focussing our attention.

If re-elected, I will continue to work hard, and strive to work better as a networked organisation, leveraging our resources to enable other aligned organisations to participate in and advance our mission.

InternetNZ Council Candidacy

Last year, I was elected to the InternetNZ Council for a one-year term, as the result of the early resignation of Chris Streatfield. After one amazing but short year in office, I’m pleased to offer my services again as a councillor.

In the last year I have

  • Made significant contributions to the development of the Investment and Charitable Grants policies
  • Organised the NetHui session on Digital Literacy as part of the Access and Diversity stream
  • Encouraged a wider group of people from my diverse networks to join InternetNZ and participate in the conversation
  • Pressed for the widening of InternetNZ’s brief “up the stack”, so that we focus on the usage and impact of the Internet in wider society, rather than just the pipes
  • Connected InternetNZ staff and other councillors with appropriate people in external organisations where we can make a difference, such as the Wellington City Council’s Digital Strategy Development forum
  • Made myself available to members through Twitter, LinkedIn, and email to raise any issues of concern to Council
  • Promoted a culture of creative entrepreneurship, shared purpose, and respect around the council table

If re-elected, I will continue to work hard to ensure that:

  • The NZ Internet (in the widest sense) remains open and uncapturable
  • Council focusses on its responsibility to its members as well as wider society in its full diversity
  • InternetNZ gets the best out of its staff and operating companies, supporting our excellent Chief Execs to achieve the strategy we set
  • Strategic opportunities are recognised and seized as they arise
  • I am available and approachable for members to voice their concerns and act as a conduit to Council.

I look forward to continuing in my role to keep InternetNZ the great organisation it is, and expand its impact and the good it does in society.