International meeting on OOXML Standard


'Standards New Zealand is proud to be representing New Zealand at an international meeting on the development of a significant information technology Standard', says Grant Thomas, Chief Operating Officer, Standards New Zealand.

National delegations from 37 countries will be participating in a ballot resolution meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on 25-29 February 2008 on the draft international Standard ISO/IEC DIS 29500, Information technology – Office Open XML file formats.

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.

'The objective of the ballot resolution meeting (BRM) will be to review and seek consensus on possible modifications to the document in light of the comments received along with votes cast by National Standards Bodies 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 interoperability and intellectual property issues,' says Mr Thomas.

To prepare for this ballot resolution meeting, Standards New Zealand formed an advisory group, and is sending two delegates from the group, and a Standards New Zealand General Manager, to the meeting.

Mr Thomas says, 'The meeting will be an opportunity for the international committee to discuss and try to resolve concerns raised by countries that voted against the specification. Our advisory group plays a crucial role in considering the proposed resolutions of these concerns, and advising Standards New Zealand about whether these adequately address stakeholders concerns. The advisory group has concentrated on issues submitted by New Zealand, but has also considered any concerns raised by other countries that they believe are important and relevant to New Zealand.'

The advisory group is made up of representatives from:

Internet NZ
NZ Open Source Society – technical
NZ Open Source Society – strategist
Microsoft NZ
Microsoft NZ partner
Archives New Zealand
State Services Commission
NZ Computer Society

Following the Ballot Resolution Meeting Standards New Zealand will again consult with the Advisory group before making a recommendation to the Standards Council who will then make the decision on whether the New Zealand vote should be changed. This decision will be made on 25 March.

More information and to view the ISO/IEC press release

More information on New Zealand’s vote


For more information please contact: Grant Thomas

mobile +64 21 744 991, email