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NZ maintain negative vote on proposed IT Standard

MEDIA RELEASE


30 March 2008

New Zealand maintains negative vote on proposed IT Standard

'Standards New Zealand has confirmed its negative vote for the adoption of the OOXML specification as an ISO/IEC international Standard', says Debbie Chin, Chief Executive, Standards New Zealand.

Following extensive stakeholder engagement, and participation in a ballot resolution meeting on the draft international Standard ISO/IEC DIS 29500, Information Technology - Office Open XML File Formats, Standards New Zealand has reiterated its previous recommendation that ISO/IEC should publish the document, but as a Technical Report rather than a full international Standard.

In September 2007 Standards New Zealand voted against adoption of the specification because of stakeholder concerns about technical omissions, errors, and inconsistencies within the draft Standard, as well as harmonisation, interoperability, and intellectual property concerns.

Mrs Chin says 'There have been significant improvements to the specification since it was first put forward for voting in September 2007, however there is still insufficient New Zealand stakeholder support for Standards New Zealand to vote for publication as an ISO/IEC international Standard.'

'Our role is to ensure that overall New Zealanders will benefit from publication of a particular Standard and in this case it was clear that while some would benefit, there would be others who would be disadvantaged. A major concern is the expected increase in costs for government agencies that would result from the specification being adopted as an ISO/IEC international Standard. Cost increases for government agencies ultimately impact all New Zealanders.'

The outcome of the international vote count, and whether the document will be published as an ISO/IEC Standard, is not yet known as votes close midnight 29 March, Geneva time.

ISO/IEC DIS 29500 is a proposed standard for word-processing documents, presentations and spreadsheets that is intended to be implemented by multiple applications on multiple platforms. According to the submitters of the document, one of its objectives is to ensure the long-term preservation of documents created over the last two decades using programmes that are becoming incompatible with continuing advances in the field of information technology.

ENDS


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