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New Zealand needs standards

There can be little doubt as to the value of standards. They provide safety and quality assurance, business efficiencies and support interoperability, market access and trade opportunities, and are often the benchmark for the right way to do things. This value remains timeless and inclusive to all. However, how standards are developed and applied will need to change to meet shifting consumer needs and the larger issues they address.

Time for change

Part of this change will be the need to do more in adding value where it is most needed – addressing climate change, strengthening the digital economy and supporting industries to do the right thing and met their regulatory obligations. These are issues that have a direct impact on the safety and prosperity of all New Zealanders.

Just as standards have needed to evolve from paper books to digital PDFs, so too must they continue to evolve to meet the demands and needs of today’s and tomorrow’s users. There is a need to keep up to date with competitors’ more progressive digital offerings that provide better convenience, utility and interactivity.

Time to be competitive

To meet the cost-recovery funding model with funding from industry and government regulators, our strategy will need to be competitive and commercially driven, and yet this exists within a challenging economic environment amidst recent recessions, global pandemics, costly natural disasters and reduced budgets. Business costs continue to rise and yet remain necessary to maintain service. Standards New Zealand exists within a very challenging economic environment.

Standards New Zealand’s purpose and value offering aligns with Government’s focus on building strong economic growth and a robust regulatory environment – fair markets that thrive. Standards underpin good practice and policy and only exist to address a need. Challenges can be turned into opportunities to create consistent solutions to larger issues built on tried and tested practice. First must come business sustainability.

Time for collaboration

As Standards New Zealand evolves as an organisation there is a need to look at diversity and building our capability to engage with and support the needs and aspirations of Māori, so we too can be more reflective of modern Aotearoa New Zealand. Challenges exist where pools of expertise can be limited in some industries. Here looking beyond our shores at international engagement can benefit New Zealand.

New Zealand is not alone. Similar challenges are being experienced with international counterparts whose strategic priorities mirror much of our own. There are macro contexts relating to climate change, digital evolution, high customer expectations, funding constraints and relevance.

Long-established international relationships help us provide the gateway to international participation. Participation provides New Zealand with an avenue to understand and influence the development of international standards that will have an impact on New Zealand’s interests. This ensures industry has their finger on the pulse of global issues and global responses.

We must also maintain our relationship with Standards Australia, a critically important relationship that underpins the development and maintenance of thousands of joint Australian and New Zealand standards, many of which are cited in legislation supporting regulatory systems here in New Zealand. These joint standards also support a one-economic-market objective, supporting interoperability of goods and services on both sides of the Tasman.

Standards exist for all

What is clear is that there is an ongoing need in industry and government for the value standardisation brings. This strategic plan clarifies the priorities Standards NZ has chosen, the key activities and outcomes and the benefits they could bring.

Standards New Zealand exists not to better its own interests, but to serve the interests of all New Zealanders and the work outlined here will be necessary to support a safe and prosperous future. A future-proofed national standards body will be responsive to the needs of industry and government, appropriately resourced to provide products and services that benefit all New Zealanders and well connected to remain relevant and trusted. Herein lie the opportunities ahead.

Birds eye view of a ship docked on a wharf filled with cargo