What are standards and how do they help grow New Zealand?
Standards are agreed specifications for products, processes, services, and performance. They are generally voluntary but can be mandatory when cited in Acts, regulations or other legislative instruments.
Standards provide potential solutions to issues, resolve problems, provide a means of compliance with legislation, and create commercial benefits such as trading opportunities.
Standards solutions are used by a diverse range of organisations to:
- Keep people safe and prevent accidents and injuries
- Increase productivity and boost economic growth and trade opportunities by connecting New Zealand to international markets
- Minimise unnecessary duplication, confusion, and inconsistencies in processes
- Encourage best practice within sectors and support quality regulation.
Standards solutions save time and money, foster innovation, offer effective alternatives to legislation, and build support for best practice using a consensus-based process.
Standards solutions include:
- Standards or publicly available specifications that set a benchmark for best practice and can be cited in Acts, regulations, or other legislative instruments.
- Interim standards may be urgently needed in a particular sector, but the necessary research has not yet been completed. They are usually published with an expiry date and must be reviewed and re-issued as final standards within a certain time period. Interim standards can als obe handbooks, guidelines, and codes of practice that provide sector guidance - including how to implement established standards.
- Auditing tools that assist with measuring performance against established standards or other specifications.
- Other documents, such as industry guidelines, that use a standards development process to address specific issues. They can become a full standard if required.
There are three main categories of standards:
- International standards
- Joint Australian-New Zealand standards
- National New Zealand standards