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Status: adopted 1997. This document represents the historical policy development. The Process for new 2LD's has been updated - go to Process - updated December 2000

ISOCNZ Council, 21 May 1997


The document addresses the management of the .NZ top level domain name space with respect to the creation of new second-level domain names. It does not address issues associated with the operation of the New Zealand domain name system.

To Comment on this Document

Submissions on this document are welcomed. They should be sent by email to by 28 July 1997. Those writing submissions are invited to comment on the questions set within the document, and on the document in general.

Submissions will be published on the ISOCNZ web pages at and on the ISOCNZ newsgroup.


The question of whether to alter the second level domain name space within the .NZ domain name space and how this might be done has been with the Society since it received the delegated authority for the .NZ domain name space from IANA. The formal process of answering these questions was begun at the Society's AGM in November 1996. The discussion at the AGM resulted in an initial set of questions and possibilities that were circulated for public discussion. (See Submissions on this document were received through mid-April. Indeed a very late submission was received on 12 May. (Submissions are listed at ) .)


This paper

  1. does not recommend any alterations to the .nz name space,
  2. does recommend a framework for making changes to the .nz name space, and
  3. does recommend how the method in 2 should be adopted.


In one sentence the general tone of the submissions was one of caution. There was support for the creation of two new second level domains, .LTD.NZ and .MAORI.NZ. There were also good arguments put against further expansion.

Basically, the cautious approach reflects arguments that there is no pressing reason for creating new second level domains. Several submissions pointed out that the number of entries in (about 10,000 today) is still a small fraction of the number in similar domains overseas. Further it was noted that once a second level domain is created there will be no going back, we will have it for the foreseeable future.

The greatest discussion occurred with respect to generic second level domain names, e.g. or While some saw advantages in these, the majority of comments expressed concern at the confusion that would result. Do we have or or both? Where do we draw the line? Would companies simple snap up the same third level name within each appropriate second level domain name space? How would the user know where to find an organisation?

The last question raises a critical point. The DNS is not a directory service and should not be treated as such. However, we must also consider that as of today we do not have a proper directory service and many users will attempt to locate company xyz's web site by using We should not frustrate these users by the creation of a confusing array of level two domain names.


Concurrent with ISOCNZ discussions with respect to second level domain names within .NZ the IAHC (International Ad Hoc Committee) completed its considerations of top level domain names. The IAHC has recommended the creation of seven new top level domains. As this paper is written some confusion still exists over the outcome of the IAHC recommendations. They are progressing but not without reservation and opposition.


The Working Group was not convinced of a current imperative to create additional second level domains. Further the experience of the IAHC suggests that it is important to (1) clearly identify what is expected of a domain name at each level, and (2) have an open process that allows community comment on any single proposal.

Thus the Working Group has chosen to propose a framework within which the .NZ domain name space can evolve. Once this framework is in place proponents of new second level domain names will be able to make their case. The remainder of this paper proposes such a framework for public discussion with the view of a possibly amended version being approved at the August ISOCNZ Council meeting.

The Framework

The framework is presented in two parts. First is the process which must be completed to establish a new second level domain name within .NZ. Part of this process includes answering the question "Why is this domain name needed?" The second part of the framework lists a set of attributes that we would expect of any second level domain name. These attributes can be used to measure the quality of an argument supporting the creation of a new second level domain.

By separating the framework into two parts we separate process and principle. We believe this is important as the principles are likely to evolve with time. For example, the principles proposed in this document reflect the arguments made in the submissions for clarity within the second level domain name space. In due course, supported by an array of powerful directory services, the community may be less concerned with avoiding ambiguity in domain names and this principle could be altered.

We also envision that principles will be affected by a process similar to "case law". For instance, if the domain name .AUCKLAND.NZ were proposed the argument would surround the more general principle of geographic based domains. If the name was subsequently approved similar names should find the process straight forward.

The Process for Creating Second Level Domain Names

[ Updated 2000 - go to Updated Process ]

The Working Group views the creation of new second level domains as a very serious matter. Such domains once created are likely to never be removed. Consequently the following procedure is "conservative". The onus is on the proposer to justify the domain and ample opportunity is provided for both supporters and opponents to provide input to the process.

The working group was also cognizant of the possibility of a large number of proposals. The process has been designed to place a minimum workload on ISOCNZ before a non-binding straw poll is taken to measure support for any proposal. Proposals which pass this hurdle will then require the taking of submissions and will cause some work for ISOCNZ. For this reason it is proposed to charge an application fee at this time.

In the following "ISOCNZ Council meeting" is understood to be a physical rather than electronic meeting of Council. A number of time periods are given with minimum and maximum lengths. This is designed to allow ISOCNZ to avoid having crucial dates occur during major holiday periods. In most cases ISOCNZ is expected to meet the MINIMUM time period specified.

Principles Governing Second Level Domain Names

The following are proposed as the current set of guiding principles describing second level domain names. Proposals for new level domains will be expected to justify the new domain with respect to these principles.

Are there additional principles that should be included here?

Adoption of this Framework

The working group proposes that the Framework, as agreed by Council on 21 May, be made available for discussion and further submissions. Submissions should close four weeks prior to the next physical meeting of Council in mid-August. A complete rewrite of the policy governing the .NZ domain name space incorporating the proposed changes will be presented to Council at that meeting for final approval.

© 1997 The Internet Society of New Zealand
Last updated 21 May 1997

Status: adopted 1997. This document represents the historical policy development. The Process for new 2LD's has been updated - go to Process - updated December 2000

ISOCNZ Council, 21 May 1997

© 1997 The Internet Society of New Zealand
Last updated 21 May 1997

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Future Development of the .nz Domain Name Space 21/05/97