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We honour the 2,000-plus Standards development committee members for their work over the previous year and celebrate the winners of our Meritorious Service Awards for 2008. You’ll also see a summary of our 2007/08 Annual Report.

Touchstone will be published monthly from now on and includes updates on New Zealand Standards in development, superseded and withdrawn NZ and AS/NZS Standards, ISO, IEC, Australian, and British Standards. You can order overseas Standards from us so please support New Zealand by purchasing through your national Standards body!

Reflections from John Albertson

John Albertson recently resigned as Deputy Chair of the Standards Council to take up another directorship.  Standards Council members and Standards New Zealand management and staff thank John for his contributions and wisdom over the past nine years.  We wish him all the very best for the future.

Since deciding to stand down from the Standards Council, I’ve had cause to reflect on the many changes that have affected the market, industry, and Standards New Zealand since I became a member.  I’ve seen dozens of new and revised Standards approved and published over the years and, as a Council member, I’ve been astounded at the diversity of them, and have found the depth of information provided in them fascinating.

It has been particularly enjoyable to approve the release of new Standards published on ‘new’ topics – the risk management Standard (AS/NZS 4360:2004) and the New Zealand-only amendment to children’s pyjamas labelling, are two that come to mind in particular.  Both are of great interest to me in my ‘day’ job as Chief Executive of the New Zealand Retailers' Association and I’ve recommended both to our members many times, along with Standards for bicycle helmets, electrical appliances, and many others.

I’m proud to say I really do know the Standards development process, having chaired the committee for radio frequency identification (RFID) e-tags and barcodes.  I found the skill level in the committee and the process we followed was a breath of fresh air – practical, knowledgeable people coming up with practical solutions that really work, following a robust process that included public comment.  Those who serve on Standards committees do so as volunteers, representing the views of their industry or sector – I believe this is a key part of what makes Standards so special and so very usable.

The impact of Standards is huge in New Zealand and all around the world.  We have Standards solutions for virtually every sector and we are all affected and protected by them every day in many, many ways, yet I know we take them for granted.  The benefits are obvious to me – Standards enable consistency and provide guidance, or are a means of compliance.  They create labour productivity, and facilitate trade and export opportunities.  Standardisation as a concept is very much alive and well in New Zealand in so many industries, yet it’s still not acknowledged as much as I feel it could be by officials.  I will continue to ‘talk up’ the benefits of Standards and standardisation, even now I’m not a member of the Standards Council, because I’ve seen the benefits they deliver.

Looking ahead, I know the national Standards body, Standards New Zealand, will continue to improve the credibility and the importance of Standards, through its work with industry and regulators.  It’s challenging times for all sectors currently and Standards New Zealand is no different – with Council members, they will be looking ahead and considering how they can continue to self-fund their operations, while continuing to act for the good of New Zealanders.  If there was ever a case for some form of funding, it would have to be for Standards New Zealand.  I look forward to the day when New Zealanders generally also know and appreciate the benefits Standards deliver.

I also feel it’s time for younger people from industry to step up and become involved in development committees – we need a balance of wisdom and experience, and fresh, younger thinking around the Standards table, to ensure development stays in tune with all that industry and users need.  Please, if you have the opportunity to be involved, do come forward.  And if you head an organisation in an industry that benefits from Standards, please think about how you can encourage the participation of your younger staff.

Finally, I would like to say what a privilege and a pleasure it has been to serve on the Standards Council, to work with the management and staff of Standards New Zealand, and to meet so many committee volunteers and others from all sectors.  You're an amazing group of people who deserve to be saluted for what you do.

All the best and remember, always think positively and treat every challenge as an opportunity!

John Albertson

New staff at Standards New Zealand

Jeff Weir

Jeff joins us as a Business Analyst, and will be focusing on analysis and modelling for a range of topics and projects. Jeff's recent background includes working as an Energy Consultant for Strata Energy Consulting, a Researcher at Parliament, and a Policy Analyst for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Julia Moa

Julia joins us as a Project Administrator in our Solutions team, supporting Project Managers on various projects.  Julia has several years experience working in the industry training organisation (ITO) sector.  When Julia was contracted to work a few months in the Project Implementation team for the Ministry for the Environment, she developed a new enthusiasm for working on projects.  Wellington born and bred, Julia is a youth leader for a group of young people in Porirua, Wellington, and has a passion for music and sports.

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