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Review of Standards NZ - It is important to have your say...

Standards are a very useful way to reduce barriers to trade. It lowers transaction costs if you can design a product to one standard that gives you access to a wide range of markets e.g. one EU-wide standard or one Australia/NZ standard. Also, conformance with credible standards gives consumers faith in your product quality.

Personally I think this will be a good opportunity to say that the way we fund our approach to Standards is suboptimal. In New Zealand we went very much down the “user pays” route with Standards New Zealand, and if a sector is not big enough to fund standards development it does not happen.

In addition, we have very little budget to have New Zealand representation on overseas standards committees and are missing out on the ability to influence the standards being developed as a result. Professor Goran Roos says the innovative manufacturers in Europe ensure they are deeply involved in standards development (they dominate the process) to ensure the standards reflect their always evolving product development. There is a “public good” interest to ensure NZ participation in international standards development in my view, particularly given our companies are most often SME’s and standards development should be designed to suit smaller companies as well as large.

Summary

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is undertaking a review of New Zealand’s standards and conformance infrastructure review, with a specific focus on the standards system. To help its analysis of issues, MBIE is interested in understanding the value that a range of users - including businesses, regulators and consumers - derive from the standards system in New Zealand.

To understand more about this value, MBIE would like input from stakeholders on:

  • how national standards are being used by you and/or your sector
  • what you find most valuable about the national standards development process
  • the extent to which you use international and/or trans-Tasman standards, and the extent to which specific New Zealand standards are needed
  • any issues you face in using national standards or the standards development process.

Where to send your input

Please send your input by 5pm, 31 July 2012 on the above topics either via email to standards@med.govt.nz, or to:

2012 Standards and Conformance Infrastructure Review
Trade Environment team
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
33 Bowen Street
PO Box 1473
Wellington 6140

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