Technical questions about standards content

Clarification of content, technical enquiries, finding out when standards are being updated, how to see if standards are cited…

I am starting a new business. Can you tell me which standards I should review to operate in my industry?

No, as we are not industry experts we cannot advise which standards you need to consider as part of your business. Standards New Zealand facilitates the development of standards through standards development committees of technical experts, and provides access to these standards. Our staff are not technical experts.

Our standards can be searched by the relevant industry. Please see our search page for how to narrow your standards search into different fields, for example, construction, food technology, or the clothing industry.

We also recommend that you look at information provided by your industry body, industry regulators, or legislation that applies to your industry, to find out more.

I want to import a product. Can you tell me which standards apply?

No, Standards New Zealand is not able to advise if the product you are importing needs to meet any mandatory requirements or if specific standards apply. This information can be obtained from government organisations that administer these requirements in each different industry.

We recommend that you look at information provided by your industry body, industry regulators, or legislation that applies to your industry, to find out more.

Who certifies that a product conforms to a standard?

Standards New Zealand is not a certification body, so we cannot determine whether products comply with standards. This role is fulfilled by certification, testing and inspection bodies, which could be accredited by accreditation bodies.

If you need to have a product or service tested in an accredited laboratory you will need to visit the website of International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ). The IANZ website lists accredited laboratories including a description (scope) of the product/service testing capabilities of each accredited laboratory.

If your organisation is looking to obtain certification for a particular management system standard (e.g. ISO 9001, ISO 14001 or ISO 22000), or if your query is about specific product certification you will need to contact an accredited certification body. Certification bodies are accredited by Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ). The JAS-ANZ website includes a register which identifies each accredited certification body including a description (scope) of the management system standards and/or product certification standards it is competent to certify against.

If you have a query about the certification status of a particular organisation, the JAS-ANZ register has a Certified Body search function. The register identifies organisations that have been independently certified or inspected by a JAS-ANZ accredited certification body and issued with an authentic certificate.

If your query is about inspection body services, you can contact either IANZ or JAS-ANZ as both organisations offer accreditation of this service.

I have a technical enquiry about a standard. Can Standards New Zealand help me with the application or implementation of a standard?

No, we are not able to respond to technical queries about the content of a standard. This is outside of Standards New Zealand’s legislated purpose, responsibility, and areas of expertise.

We are unable to comment on the application or interpretation of our publications as these activities are handled by or technical experts in the industry, or, if the standard is cited in legislation, the applicable regulator may undertake these activities. Your individual situation may involve factors that we are not aware of and as such we recommend that you contact the relevant regulator or a technical consultant in your industry.

Note: an exception to this is a permanent technical advisory group that has been established to provide interpretations on fire protection standards. Please see our fire formal interpretations web page for more information.

How can I find out if the latest version of a standard is cited in legislation?

If a standard is cited in legislation, our website will usually state this. But we recommend you check with the appropriate regulator if you are unsure.

Which standards are mandatory or cited in legislation?

For information on cited standards, go to Standards and law and search for legislation, or browse by sector. You can also visit www.legislation.govt.nz (external link) to find out more about New Zealand Acts and Regulations. 

Why are only some standards cited in legislation?

All standards are voluntary unless they are cited or referenced in legislation. Regulators use certain standards as a means of complying with legislation, and the extent to which those standards are mandatory depends on the manner in which they are cited by the legislation. Cited standards are usually 'prescriptive' - a means of compliance with the legislation.

Why do we have standards if they are not mandatory?

Standards that are not cited provide valuable guidance or good practice to industry or consumers – they can serve to improve the quality of products or services, ensure consistency, promote productivity, and encourage innovation.

What standards are in the process of being updated? When will they be released?

For information about upcoming publications and standards in development, see the current Standards New Zealand Work Programme. Information is also provided in the latest and past issues of Touchstone. If you require more information please email enquiries@standards.govt.nz.

If you have a number of standards that you’re interested in finding out about, you can sign up to one of our free electronic subscriptions (external link) .