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New Zealand standards

A New Zealand standard (NZS) is a consensus-based document developed by a balanced expert committee, taking into account input received through public comment. The resulting document represents as far as reasonably practical the consensus view of all those directly or indirectly affected by the content.

Because of the high degree of consensus, standards are generally widely applied and have high status.

Standards may be in the form of specifications, codes of practice, adoptions of standards from other countries, glossaries, bylaws, or test methods.

Joint Australian/New Zealand standards

Joint AS/NZS standards are developed by a joint standards development committee, comprising of committee members representing both New Zealand and Australian stakeholders.

Interim standards

When a standard is technically incomplete but is required urgently, or where the standard is to be used for a limited period of time, an interim standard (NZS Int) may be produced.

An interim standard should be reviewed within 12 months of publication and a decision made about its future status as a New Zealand standard. It may continue as an interim standard for a limited time, be withdrawn, or be turned into a regular New Zealand standard.


Handbooks (NZS HB) are informative* documents that provide additional information. Usually, a HB is published to support a standard or a group of standards already in place by providing additional information. In some circumstances a HB may be produced where there is no standard but the information is considered to be in the public interest.

For example, a HB could be published to gauge reaction and seek comment in a new industry, and - depending on the feedback - determine whether it could be further developed into a standard at some point.

*An informative document is one that gives additional information and is only for guidance.

Publicly available specifications

Publicly available specifications (PAS) are normative* documents responding to an urgent market need. They represent either consensus in an organisation or industry external to Standards New Zealand or consensus of the experts within a working group. A PAS can be produced by Standards New Zealand on behalf of another organisation, where it is recognised as having the status of a document developed and published by an independent national standards body.

*A normative document is one that provides requirements.

Technical specifications

Technical specifications (SNZ TS) are normative documents representing consensus within a development committee.

They may be prepared in an industry where the subject matter or environment is undergoing rapid change and where speed of delivery is important, or the required level of consensus by a balanced expert committee to support a standard is not available.

Sometimes the national interest may be better served by providing the public with access to information which has achieved a certain degree of stakeholder agreement, in a document that has lesser status than a standard. While it may include normative language, it does not purport to be a standard and the title page contains information to this effect.

Technical reports

Technical reports (SNZ TR) are informative documents representing information collected in support of a normative document. They contain collected data different from that normally published as a standard or technical specification. Such data may include, for example, data obtained from a survey, data on work in other international organisations, or data on the ‘state of the art’ in relation to standards of national bodies on a particular subject.

Miscellaneous publication

Miscellaneous publications (NZS MP) are informative documents representing information of a different kind to that published in a normative document. MPs reflect the views of the author(s) and there could be other, equally valid points of view on the subject.

If you would like to know more, or would like to discuss which type of publication may fit a proposed standards development project, please contact