Standing again for InternetNZ Council

After much agonising I’ve decided to stand again for the InternetNZ council. It’s an important organisation, and we have seen excellent results over the last three years. While the demands on my time have sometimes been very high, the cause is worthy, and it has been rewarding to meet and work with a wide range of new people.

Members for more than three months will be allowed to vote for councillors, and I encourage everyone to sign up the the superb NetHui.

Here’s my election statement:

I’m proud to be a current InternetNZ Councillor, finishing my first term with this election, and I seek your vote for this 2013 election.

The last three years have been a great time for Internet NZ. The team and members responded with energy and intelligence to bring a calm and authoritative tone to a large number of critical policy debates. We’ve also been active in less visible work including IPV6 and Internet Filtering, and in supporting the 2020 Trust in getting better at helping people to learn and connect.

But we really caught ourselves doing something right  with NetHui, and kudos goes to Vikram Kumar for both pushing for the event, and coining the name. This year promises more than ever, and I’ve been impressed with the continuing professionalism in the preparation and conduct of the event under the acting leadership of Jordan Carter.

But we can do more. A lot more: 

  • Too many people are not connected to the internet in New Zealand. Statistics NZ reports 331,000 households don’t have broadband and 63,000 households with children don’t have internet*, and that’s unacceptable. We can count the number of disconnected better, and we can work to connect them and keep them connected.
  • There is no single authoritative place to find information about the Internet in New Zealand. We are the natural place to collate and host it.
  • Our policy makers and media are often at a relatively early stage of a learning journey in topics that we know well, albeit often a rapid one. We are the natural providers of fact-based independent advice and education.
  • New issues rain upon us all of the time, and we need the scale and experienced hands on the team to be able to present well informed and aligned responses and advice across a broad range of topics.

However:

  • We have perennial discussions about the scope of Internet NZ. Are we guardians for the infrastructure and values, or are we also guardians for matters that are more material today, such are privacy, security and copyright?  We need, in my opinion, advocates in NZ for all of these matters, and to ask if not us, then who else? for  issues like copyright, PRISM and TPP.
  • We are wonderful custodians of our .nz mandate, but I worry that a large share of the source of our source of income is from purchasers of domains for profit, who may switch to more lucrative gTLD offerings. NZRS will need Council support and guidance that allows them to conduct their business in a newly competitive realm while still adhering to the Society’s values.
  • We hold funds, most of which are payments in advance. We have an incredibly conservative bank-debt-only investment strategy, and need to continue to gently explore more professional ways to manage those assets. That means we need professional investment heads around the Council table, to act as a committee to advise the council and the external parties who are the investment professionals.

What I stand for

My shared mission is simple – Let’s connect everyone at ever increasing speeds, let’s help individuals and business take advantage of this wonderful infrastructure to improve society and the economy, and let’s create the best environment to create and consume content in the world.

But let’s also ensure that while we are a non profit, that we are unafraid of money. Money allows us to better achieve our objects, but like any business we need to be prudent and take a long-term perspective.

Bio

I’m a founder, director, active investor or advisor to several early stage companies including 200Square, PocketSmith, Vend, Lingopal, myTours, Powerkiwi, Define Instruments, Cadimage and more.

I’ve recently launched a fund management company a colleague, and that in turn is launching a fund, Punakaiki Fund to invest in growing Internet, Technology and Design-led businesses.

I’ve been a part of the NZTE Better by Design program as a private practitioner, and serve on the Return on Science Investment Committee. I’m also the current Chair of the Council’s Investment Committee, and was a driver in creating the strategy and committee itself.

I was a co-founder of Pacific Fibre. We tried, and I learned a lot. It’s now the time for someone else to have a go, and one of our team is now with Hawaiki.

http://nz.linkedin.com/in/lancewiggs

Writing: Blog at LanceWiggs.com and business advice column for Idealog.

Education: MBA (Yale), B Tech (Massey) and a large number of professional development courses, including the COMU/Massey course in governance.

Member of the Institute of Directors and (currently unpaid) member of NZICT.

About Lance Wiggs

@lancewiggs
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