STRENGTHENING NEW ZEALAND’S STANDARDS SYSTEM – TRANSITION PROJECT – NEW INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS  

There are changes occurring in the standards world following a policy review of New Zealand’s standards and conformance infrastructure which commenced in early 2012. The stated purpose of the review was ‘to develop proposals for a viable and well-functioning standards system that meets the needs of business and regulators into the foreseeable future’. At a meeting on 14 October 2013, the government agreed to recommendations that will see the Standards Council disestablished and a new standards body established within the government agency, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The new body will have an independent statutory board – established by legislation and not subject to the direction of ministers – and an independent statutory officer role. The new institutional arrangements will see standards continue to be developed by technical expert committees according to a set of criteria specified in regulations, adhering to the current standardisation values of transparency and consensus.

Regulators who cite/reference standards are expected to take responsibility for their development and ongoing maintenance, and access to those standards.

A Standards Bill is expected to be introduced to Parliament early this year which will enable the necessary legislative changes. Work is ongoing on the transition project. In the meantime, Standards New Zealand continues to operate under the Standards Act and it is business-as-usual.

There is more information on the Standards New Zealand website (link www.standards.co.nz/news/Policy+Review.htm)

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