New Zealand's Standards and Conformance System

Standards and Conformance

The New Zealand Standards and Conformance System

All economies which hope to participate in increasingly globalised trade and supply chains need an effective and reliable standards and conformance infrastructure. Technical standards for products and services ensure the safety and protection of consumers and other users. Such technical standards may be established and mandated by governments as regulatory standards, and/or through voluntary standards adopted by industry and commerce to protect the consumer or demonstrate conformity with regulatory technical standards.

Of equal importance to the technical standards for the products or services themselves, is the integrity of how compliance with the standard is demonstrated, by the supplier, to the regulators and/or consumers. Establishing compliance with such technical standards is carried out by ‘Conformity Assessment Bodies’, and to give an assurance that these conformity assessment bodies are carrying out the assessment competently, they are required to be accredited, by an Accreditation Body, for the specific conformity assessment activities they undertake.

In essentially all trading economies, the organisations making up the standards and conformance infrastructure in the voluntary (non-regulatory) sector are:

  • The national standards writing body, who develops and publishes written technical standards that are adopted as the ‘national standard’;
  • The National Measurement Institute, who maintains and disseminates the national standard of physical measurement;
  • The national legal metrology authority, who administer and enforce the national system of trade measurement;
  • The Accreditation Body(ies), who, through accreditation, provide assurance that the assessment of conformity (often involving measurement) against the written technical standards is performed competently.

New Zealand is no exception, and the bodies making up the standards and conformance infrastructure are:

  • Standards New Zealand, the national standards writing body;
  • The Measurement Standards Laboratory (MSL), the New Zealand National Measurement Institute;
  • Trading Standards, a team within the Consumer Protection and Standards Branch of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), and the national legal metrology authority;
  • International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ), the national accreditation body for laboratories, inspection bodies, and other related bodies, and;
  • The Joint Accreditation System for Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ), the Australasian accreditation authority for certification and inspection bodies and other related bodies.

MBIE is responsible for overseeing the standards and conformance infrastructure in New Zealand and advising the Government on related policy. A more in depth description of the New Zealand standards and conformance system, including its role in the New Zealand regulatory sector and its place in international trade, can be found in the MBIE publication ‘A Guide to New Zealand’s Standards and Conformance System’ below.

Also provided is a June 2019 report from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research titled “IANZ: The Economic Side” which examines the way IANZ supports the New Zealand economy.

The New Zealand Standards and Conformance System