Personal tools
You are here: Home InternetNZ Activity Archive Election Questions Response 1999 Election Questionnaire for Political Parties - Questions

1999 Election Questionnaire for Political Parties - Questions



The Internet Society of New Zealand (ISOCNZ) is canvassing all New Zealand political parties registered with the Electoral Commission on their policies with regard to the Internet in the run-up to the 1999 Elections. We would very much appreciate a reply to this questionnaire by 30 April when we will be opening an "election issues" section to our Web site, however we will accept responses at any time leading up to the 1999 elections, including additions or modifications to earlier comments. Non-responses to this questionnaire will also be noted.

The Internet has come of age since the last election, and 25% of New Zealanders now access the Internet on a regular basis. Since 1994, when the commercial potential of the Internet became apparent, New Zealand has consistently been one of the top five or six Internet countries on a per capita basis. We believe the Internet will be critical to the development of electronic commerce, slated to grow world wide from around US$8 billion to over US$300 billion over the next five years.

We therefore believe that the Internet policies of the political parties in the next election will be of considerable interest and concern to many voters.

ISOCNZ will publish all responses to this questionnaire on our Web site (, including a comparative breakdown question by question. We will also provide a link to your party's Web site if you provide the URL. We expect to publicly comment on the policies of the various political parties from time to time. If your Party has no formal policy in a given area, please indicate what approach you are taking to develop policy.


ISOCNZ promotes widely and generally available access to the Internet. We interpret this to include affordable connection services into communities and the home anywhere in the country. We therefore wish to promote the competitive provision of Internet access, services and facilities in an open and uncaptureable environment.

Question 1: What policies do you have to ensure an open, competitive environment for provision of Internet services?

Many governments around the world are placing information of importance to their citizens on the Internet. In fact, Wellington City Council was the first government in the world to do this. Yet in New Zealand, official information on the Internet is of variable quality and many government agencies do not have effective Web sites.

Question 2: What policies do you have to ensure that both central and local government agencies move towards the effective use of the Internet to communicate with the public?

Many countries provide on-line access statues, regulations and other forms of legislation. Such access would seem to be a simple and effective way of ensuring that the law is readily accessible to as many people as possible but this is not the case in New Zealand.

Question 3: What steps will you take to ensure that New Zealand legislation can be accessed on the Internet?  As the Internet becomes more and more effective as a means of disseminating information, there is a real danger of a rift developing between the information rich and information poor in New Zealand society.

Question 4: What strategies do you favour to ensure that New Zealand society does not become divided into the 'information rich' and 'information poor'?


In October last year, the Ministry of Education announced a series of measures to promote the use of information and communications technology (ICT) in schools under the Interactive Education strategy. A core part of the strategy is the development of a digital resource centre which will be accessed over the Internet. This implies that schools must be able to make effective use of the Internet both for administration and promotion of learning activities.

The 1998 ITAG survey of IT in Schools ( shows that only a tiny proportion of students can access the Internet. ISOCNZ is a national sponsor of NetDay99, which is a mainly voluntary and community-based project to provide networks between classrooms, an essential step in ensuring that students can access the Internet from classrooms.

Question 5: What strategies do you favour to ensure that schools can readily access the Internet for learning and other needs?

The same ITAG survey indicated that there was a high level of awareness in schools of the potential for ICT in general, and the Internet in particular, to benefit children's learning. But, at the same time, there is concern both in the teaching profession and the wider public that teachers are not equipped with the skills necessary to ensure effective use of ICT to bring this about.

Question 6: How do you plan to ensure that teachers have the technical skills and knowledge to utilise Internet services once they're connected (for example, provision of professional development for teachers, development of curriculum content, etc).


One of the key functions of ISOCNZ is to co-ordinate activities that facilitate the development of the Internet. We are responsible for administration of the .nz Country Code Top Level Domain. ISOCNZ is therefore concerned to ensure that the Internet has the bandwidth and the capacity to provide a secure and reliable basis for the continued development of all forms of electronic commerce in New Zealand.

Question 7: What policies do you have relevant to the maintenance of a stable, secure and adequately serviced Internet in New Zealand? Do you see a role for the Government in the provision of services supporting the New Zealand Internet? If so, what functions should it perform? If not why not?

We believe New Zealand lacks adequate legal and technical infrastructure to support the development and maintenance of 'trusted' relationships between electronic commerce partners.

Question 8: Do you see a need to provide a legal underpinning for electronic commerce in New Zealand? If so, what areas require legislative attention?

Unlike many other countries, including Australia and the UK, there is no recognition in New Zealand criminal law of crimes specifically associated with computers and electronic databases. "Breaking in" to a computer system is not in itself a crime, nor is unauthorised deletion or alteration of electronic information. ISOCNZ is consulting with the wider Internet community about the need for changes to the New Zealand criminal law to cover such issues.

Question 9: Do you plan to introduce legislation under which crackers/hackers can be prosecuted for computer related crime?

ISOCNZ believes that development of electronic commerce requires the free use and availability of strong encryption products and is opposed to restrictions on the export of encryption products as provided for under the Wassenar Arrangement.

Question 10: Do you support the unrestricted use of "strong" (that is, 128 bit or better) encryption by e-commerce to provide secure Internet trading? How do you view the present export restrictions on strong encryption products under Wassenar?

Question 11: Do you see a need for Government involvement in the development of a New Zealand Public Key Infrastructure? Do you consider that legislative measures such as those taken by the Government of Singapore are necessary to regulate the behaviour of Certification Authorities? Do you consider that some form of key recovery or key escrow regime is necessary for law enforcement purposes in New Zealand?

The US Government has declared that there will be no new taxes imposed on Internet transactions to as to encourage the development of electronic commerce.

Question 12: Do you see any need to introduce changes to present tax laws so as to take into account Internet transactions and electronic commerce?


ISOCNZ considers that existing legislation (Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act) coupled with industry self regulation are sufficient to provide protection to minors and other vulnerable groups against objectionable material on the Internet, including child pornography, racist literature and hate mail. We have developed a Code of Practice for Internet Service Providers (ISPCoP) and are working to ensure that it is respected and adhered to by the Internet community. [NB As of July 26 this has been adopted as the New Zealand Internet Code of Practice [ICoP] and serves the whole Internet Industry]

Question 13: Do you support self regulation by the Internet industry or do you propose government intervention through legislation?

© 1999 The Internet Society of New Zealand
Last updated 28 July 1999

Document Actions