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Policy for Moderation and Registration of Internet Domain Names

The Policy for the Moderation and Registration of Internet Domain Names (version 1.5) was published in June 2009 by the Department of Internal Affairs.

Moderation and registration

Scope of this policy

The scope of this policy is the .govt 2nd level domain namespace of the New Zealand Internet sector (or .nz).

The New Zealand Internet Sector

The New Zealand Internet sector has 11 second-level domains or namespaces (2LD’s). Four of these (.govt, .mil, .cri and .iwi) have strict requirements for registering 3LDs, or third Level Domain names (e.g. or These are called “moderated domains”.

The New Zealand Government recognises the nature of delegated domain spaces, as per RFC 1591 (, and the policy of InternetNZ and others that domain names are licensed for limited periods rather than sold outright.

The Government views the domain names as held and managed by the Crown, via individual government organisations (including territorial and regional local authorities).

What is moderation and registration?

In the context of the naming of Internet web sites used by New Zealand Public Sector organisations, moderation is the process of assessing the suitability of an internet web site name (hereafter “name”), and determining whether the proposed use is appropriate.

Moderation is a quality management system designed to achieve valid, fair and consistent assessment of requests for names. Moderation of is the joint responsibility of the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) and the Association of Local Government Information Managers (ALGIM).

Registration is the process by which the licence to use a name is recorded and passed to New Zealand Registry Services (NZRS). A registration gives the organisation the exclusive right to use of the name for 12 months and the right to renew that registration in future years.

Why is moderated

The namespace is moderated to preserve the authoritativeness of Government websites and email addresses and enable users to easily find their way through the intricacies of Government organisations and to give citizens confidence in communications to and from Government entities.

Standard Setting Body for 2nd level domain

The DIA and ALGIM, working in partnership are responsible for developing, writing and reviewing the policies and procedures that government the namespace. These bodies are also responsible for moderating the namespace.

Who may apply for a domain name?

The namespace is reserved for statutory entities and Government programmes. It includes the Public Service, Crown Entities, local authorities and a variety of other bodies with statutory responsibilities. This does not include State Owned Enterprises and may not include some Local Authority Trading Enterprises (LATEs).

Each decision is arrived at case by case, and no decision should be interpreted as a precedent. Generally speaking, if an organisation has a question about their potential eligibility, they should contact for confirmation.

Central Government

Central Government, for the purposes of this policy generally refers to departments and Crown entities, as defined by the Public Finance Act 1989, Parliamentary agencies and some other organisations with statutory responsibilities. There are some organisations that fall within these criteria but already have separate domains — Crown Research Institutes (* and Tertiary Education Institutes (*

Local Government

Local authorities are those organisations, and their subsidiaries, defined by the Local Government Act 2002, Schedule 2.


Approved Registrar

The approved registrar for domains is the Government Registrar


Government entities will use the Government Registrar at to request a name. The Government Registrar will pass the request to the appropriate moderator and a decision will be made. The moderator will use the Government Registrar’s system to record the decision to approve or decline the name.

The Registrar will advise the applicant of the decision and, in the case of approval, will pass the request to the Registry for inclusion. The Registry is managed by New Zealand Registry Services (NZRS). NZRS updates the DNS zone files hourly so the name can be activated within a short space of time after approval.

Applicants will be required to demonstrate a business need as part of their application for a name.

Applicants will be required to provide the following details:

  • Domain name requested
  • Business reason for the application (brief but comprehensive)
  • Organisation Name
  • Type of Organisation: (e.g. central or local government organisation)
  • Postal Address
  • Name, telephone number and email address of person in the organisation who is responsible for the registration of this domain name (business)
  • Name, telephone number and email address of person in the organisation who is responsible for the registration of this domain name (technical)
  • Nameserver information
  • Other information may be required from time to time.

Read more about getting a domain name

Approval Process

Approval of applications for names is not automatic or guaranteed. All applications are considered on a case-by-case basis. An appeal process for applications is also outlined in this policy.

No approval or refusal of an application can be taken as a precedent for a subsequent request.

By requesting a name in the space, an organisation accepts the terms and conditions relating to this space, as laid out in this policy and in the standard terms and conditions required by InternetNZ and the Domain Name Commissioner (DNC).

In some matters (such as transfer of names to a different registrant), there may be apparent conflict between the standard terms and conditions and this policy. In those cases, this policy over-rides the standard terms and conditions.



Names are not automatically acceptable, merely because the organisation is permitted to use the namespace. Each request is judged on its own merits. Organisations are required to have a solid business case around the need for a name and should consider carefully possible conflicts or confusion.

Avoiding confusion

Names will need to be chosen which avoid confusion with other organisation. Three or four letter names will normally be used only to represent departments or other central or local government bodies where the abbreviation is widely recognised by the general public (e.g. DIA, LINZ).

Generic names

Generic and project names should be registered in the domain only where they are pan-departmental and of national significance.

Ethics, values and standards

Names will not be accepted which might bring the Government sector into disrepute inadvertently or otherwise. Particular care should be given to acronyms that might be pronounced as a word.


Names should clearly indicate the organisation or service. Domain names should not be used for branding purposes for individual projects.


When a name is not approved, organisations may consider using a 4th level name from their own standard name e.g. and are reminded that the www. prefix is optional.

An organisation’s rights & responsibilities

Government organisations and local authorities are permitted to register names within the namespace. A third party cannot register names on behalf of an organisation unless they are registered in the organisation’s name with the organisation’s contact information, under a pre-agreed arrangement with the approved Registrar.

An organisation using a name should ensure that the use is in accordance with all appropriate governance requirements. These may include any or all of the following:

  • Legislation (Official Information Act, Privacy Act etc)
  • Governance documents for the organisation (articles of incorporation, Statement of Intent, Strategic Business Plan etc)
  • Applicable government or organisational policies and guidelines (such as SIGS – Security in Government Sector, New Zealand Government Web Guidelines, Policy Framework for Government-held Information, the organisation’s ISSP, Information Architecture and security policy, etc).

Registrar’s rights and responsibilities

The Government Registrar exists separately from the moderator role, although the Department of Internal Affairs manages both. The Registrar is a service entity that manages the process of domain name moderation in the space, and interfaces with the main SRS. As the Registrar is the only registrar permitted to register and maintain names within the namespace, all names for the space must be requested through the Registrar.

Names may not be transferred to commercial registrars. This is an exception to the normal operation of the .nz domain name space and occurs because the registrant of all names is ultimately the Crown, acting through agencies of government.

The Registrar will manage the process of establishing new names in a timely manner. However, the act of moderation may mean delays to registrations which are beyond the Registrar’s control.

The Registrar will act on policy decisions provided by the moderator. All questions regarding policy should be directed to

Moderator rights and responsibilities

The moderators exist to maintain the integrity of the namespace. Historically, this has been by restricting entry but changes to Internet governance in NZ and world-wide means that moderators have to take a proactive role in managing the spaces they control.

The namespace is moderated by the Department of Internal Affairs, through the ICT Group, in partnership with ALGIM. The moderators have the authority to approve or decline entry to the namespace. The moderators will give a reason for any declined applications.

The moderators will give due consideration to each case. In normal circumstances, where no issues are raised, the process should be completed within 5 working days. The moderators do not guarantee any particular timeframe, however, and applications should be made well in advance of the business need.

Applications will not be approved on the basis of stationery or promotional material having been printed. Organisations must ensure that approval is gained before the domain name is used in any way.

Payment of domain names

All domain names with the Government Registrar will be funded centrally by the Department of Internal Affairs, on behalf of the Crown. Agencies will not be charged directly for maintaining a domain name. The Crown notes and accepts the Internet NZ policy position that registration of a domain name in the .nz space implies no direct property rights but constitutes a renewable licence to use the name.

Withdrawal of a domain name

By the organisation

An organisation may cease use of a domain name at any time. They must advise the moderator that a name has been abandoned. Abandoned names will generally not be reissued, to prevent confusion, but will be made inactive to reduce cost to the Government.

By the moderator

The moderators’ role is not merely a gatekeeper on the domain, but a manager of domain names on behalf of Government, as Government as a whole stands to benefit from having an authoritative domain, and bears the costs of maintaining it.

The moderator has the right to review and terminate all registrations, existing as well as proposed. If a registration is deemed to be invalid, for technical reasons, incorrect usage or because it was incorrectly permitted under previous regimes, the moderator will enter into negotiation with the nameholder to transition to a valid name, or to withdraw the 3LD delegation in the case where a name has been invalidly granted.

The moderator will from time to time review the currency of existing domain names and may enter into negotiation with a nameholder to withdraw a name which is not being used, or issue 30 days notice of intention to terminate, subject to appeal.

Transfer of names

As there will be only one registrar operating in the moderated space, transfer of name management from the Government Registrar to a different registrar after the initial registration is not possible.

Appeal procedure

If a moderator declines an application for a name, or terminates a registration the affected organisation may appeal the decision. All appeals must be submitted in writing to the General Manager, Government Information Services, Knowledge Information Research & Technology Branch, Department of Internal Affairs. The General Manager will consider the appeal. Consideration may or may not include a request for additional information or for a conversation with the appellant.

The appeal should provide additional details of the business needs outlined briefly in the initial application, and state why the organisation feels the moderator’s decision should be reviewed.

Each appeal will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The success or failure of any appeal will not set a precedent for any other appeals.

Address for appeals

Appeals should be addressed to:

General Manager
AoG Services Delivery
Department of Internal Affairs
PO Box 10526

Or email:

GM, AoG Services Delivery at

Exclusion of Liability

The moderators and the registrar will not be liable to a registrant for any action or failure to act (unless in bad faith) in connection with the operation of the domain.

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