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Developing standards through a formal process ensures that standards are drafted by a qualified and balanced committee of experts, standards users, and those impacted by standards including through public feedback.

Standards New Zealand manages the development of standards in New Zealand. This includes:

  • The development of national and regional standards.
  • The development of standards-related solutions.
  • The adoption of international standards for the New Zealand market.
  • The publication of New Zealand, joint Australian/New Zealand and international standards.

We follow a detailed process to develop standards, which uses internationally-recognised practices that are collaborative, transparent, and robust.

Our resulting standards are formally approved by the Standards Approval Board in accordance with the requirements of the Standards and Accreditation Act 2015.

Types of standards

We work with three types of standards: New Zealand standards, joint Australian / New Zealand standards, and international standards.

New Zealand standards are either:

  • Created in New Zealand, or
  • Adopted from an international standard and approved as suitable for use in New Zealand.

New Zealand standards are prepared by a New Zealand development committee, which is governed and managed by Standards New Zealand.

Joint Australian/New Zealand standards (“AS/NZS standards”) are developed by a joint development committee, comprised of members that represent both New Zealand and Australian stakeholders. These joint committees are managed by either Standards Australia or Standards New Zealand.

Standards New Zealand and Standards Australia jointly encourage the adoption of international standards where needed. We generally develop joint standards only in situations where this is not the best solution for our shared regional needs.

Working with international partners

International standards are developed by international bodies and can be adopted by countries for national use. These standards are developed by experts from all over the world, who contribute as members of technical committees.

Standards New Zealand is involved with two such international bodies:

  • Member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
  • Member of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), through the IEC National Committee of New Zealand.

Standards New Zealand also represents New Zealand at the Pacific Standards Congress, an independent organisation that shares expertise and resources on areas of standardisation.

Working with international partners

Other standards-based publications

A standard is a document that goes through our most rigorous process, but it is only one type of product we develop and provide access to. Standards development committees also produce other documents that can provide guidance.

  • Interim standards
  • Handbooks
  • Publicly available specifications
  • Technical specifications
  • Technical reports
  • Miscellaneous publications

Types of standards publications

Standards development process

Standards development occurs over six phases and replicates the same process run by international standards organisations like ISO and IEC:

  1. Proposal and scoping: A new standard is proposed and assessed.
  2. Committee formation: A committee is formed to develop the standard.
  3. First draft: The committee develops an initial draft of the standard.
  4. Public comment and feedback: The draft is circulated for public comment, and changes are made based on comments.
  5. Committee ballot and final approval: Once a consensus is reached on a final draft of the standard, the committee formally votes on whether to approve it.
  6. Publication: The new standard is published and made available for purchase.

Standards development process

1. Proposal and scoping

Anyone within New Zealand can initiate a standard as long as they can provide the necessary requirements and funding. There is a wide range of private and public organisations that initiates and helps fund the development of standards. These organisations include industry bodies as well as government departments.

To commission a new standard, you must complete and submit a project commissioning brief. This document outlines various aspects of the proposed standard and its development, including: 

  • The project scope.
  • Whether there are any related international standards.
  • Why a related international standard would not be appropriate for adoption.
  • The benefits of the standard.
  • The stakeholders to be consulted.
  • Funding details.
  • Any identified risks or issues.
  • Other relevant information required to initiate the development of a new proposed standard.

The project commissioning brief outlines the rationale for the creation of a New Zealand standard. It describes the financial, environmental and social impact of its development, and identifies how key stakeholders may be impacted. This information helps create a business case for the development of that standard.

Commission a standard

If you would like to discuss standards development, email the Standards Development team.


Once we receive your brief, we will discuss various options and solutions with you, including whether a standard would the best option for your organisation. In situations where standards development is considered, we will provide an estimate of time and cost once we have completed a full assessment of your needs.

When developing new standards or revising existing standards, we will first look into adopting an international standard. This is to avoid potential duplication of work, comply with the Standards and Accreditation Act 2015, and ensure that New Zealand is aligned with international practice. If this is not applicable, we may opt to develop a New Zealand-specific standard.

We may also choose to adopt a standard from another standards body (such as a European or a United States standard) or other like-minded standards bodies (such as Standards Australia). If a standard is adopted in this way, it may be modified to fit the New Zealand context better.

We will then collate all assessed information into a project proposal.

2. Committee formation

If a proposal is approved by you as the commissioner and an agreement is signed, we will establish a balanced committee to develop the new standard. This will involve approaching a range of stakeholders to nominate one or more members to the committee. These stakeholders may include consumers, regulators, industry and professional associations, research and academic organisations, minority or affected groups (such as those relating to interests of tangata whenua), and employer representative bodies.

The New Zealand Standards Approval Board will review and approve all committee members, then appoint a committee chairperson.

  • All committee members must agree to abide by a code of conduct.
  • The committee members will discuss the scope of the development project, its terms of reference, drafting tasks, timeframes and progress monitoring. These are agreed at the initial committee meeting.

The committee will then begin developing a technical content draft for the new standard. This may involve research, consultation, and further discussions.

Help make standards

Express your interest in joining a standards committee

3. First draft

After a number of meetings, the committee will agree on an initial draft for the new standard. Standards New Zealand will review and edit the contents of this initial draft to a presentable format.

Standards are normally written as voluntary guidelines. However, a standard (or part of a standard) may be referenced in legislation. If this happens, the referenced standard is likely to be mandatory.

In some instances, a new standard may incorporate unsettled or new science that could have significant impact on key stakeholders. In these instances, we will request for a review of the draft standards, accompanying documents, and supporting evidence from the Chief Science Advisors - He Rauhinga Tohu Putaiao (CSA) Forum, which is led by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor.

Read about unsettled or new science in standards development projects

4. Public comment and feedback

Once the committee has reached an initial consensus on the draft standard, we will prepare this for public comment. We contact organisations that have an interest in the standard to encourage feedback on the draft, which is made publicly available on the Standards New Zealand website. Anyone may comment on a draft within a limited timeframe.

This public comment phase usually lasts eight weeks. It gives the wider community an opportunity to review the content of the document before it is published. All comments submitted during the public comment phase are reviewed and considered by the committee and may result in changes to the draft standard.

The Standards New Zealand website includes a list of draft standards that are currently open for public comment.

Comment on draft standards

5. Committee ballot and final approval

Following public comment and any changes to the draft content, the standards development committee members hold a ballot on the updated draft. This is to ensure that there is consensus within the committee before the final draft is published. Committee members may vote positively or negatively on the final draft, and may provide additional comment.

If the standards development committee reaches a consensus on the draft content, the New Zealand Standards Approval Board is asked for approval to publish the new standard.

6. Publication

If a draft standard is approved by the New Zealand Standards Approval Board, we will publish a copy of the new standard and make this available to users.

View our latest publication announcements

How to buy or subscribe to standards

Development process for Australia /New Zealand Standards

Joint Australian/New Zealand standards follow a similar development process as New Zealand standards. However, there are certain differences:

  • Joint Australian/New Zealand standards are developed by a joint standards development committee. This is comprised of members that represent both New Zealand and Australian stakeholders.
  • The day-to-day operation of a committee for a joint Australian/New Zealand standards is managed by Standards Australia in most instances.  

As with New Zealand standards development, both Standards New Zealand and Standards Australia encourage the adoption of international standards where possible.

Drafts of joint Australian/New Zealand standards undergo a concurrent public comment period in both New Zealand and Australia. Once finalised and approved, these standards are published in both countries.

See the Standards Australia website for more information on committees managed by their organisation.

Standards Australia website(external link)