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Update from Debbie Chin

Our hearts go out to the families, friends, and colleagues of the 29 miners who lost their lives in the Pike River Mine disaster. This event is having a profound impact on the New Zealand mining industry and the West Coast community as they come to terms with what has happened.

The Government has just appointed a Royal Commission of Inquiry to be headed by High Court Judge Justice Graham Pankhurst. He will be joined by two other commissioners, one expected to be an international mining expert. The Royal Commission will investigate the cause of the explosion, the cause of the loss of life, the search and rescue operation, the systems at the mine, and the applicable rules and regulations in the industry as a whole. Other formal inquiries will include ones by the New Zealand Police and the Department of Labour.

It is important not to underestimate the task ahead for the inquiries as they endeavour to discover what happened on 19 November 2010 at Pike River. Standards New Zealand will work with those conducting these inquiries as they undergo the difficult task ahead.

It is almost unbelievable that New Zealand has suffered two major disasters within 11 weeks.

The building and construction sector's focus on the Canterbury earthquake continues with a number of initiatives and research projects now underway:

  • analysis of research requirements by BRANZ
  • ground remediation solutions and guidance
  • pallet racking review
  • fire protection review
  • procedural guidance for ground remediation approvals.

Standards New Zealand has held discussions with the developers of these initiatives to ensure we are part of any sector-based response and communication.

On 23 November 2010, I hosted a targeted forum for expert committee chairs and industry/sector advisory groups to share their knowledge and observations on the Canterbury earthquake and its effects for the region and for New Zealand. The forum was well received by the attendees, who found the discussions and information sharing very useful.

The forum involved representatives from the plumbing, timber, design and construction, concrete and cement, fire protection, electrotechnical, and gas sectors. The forum will be used to inform potential work across a range of Standards and demonstrates the value Standards New Zealand can add through coordinating stakeholder input.

We will keep you updated in future issues of Touchstone as new information comes to hand.

On behalf of everyone at Standards New Zealand, I'd like to wish you a relaxing, enjoyable, and safe holiday season. We look forward to working with you again next year.

Debbie Chin
Chief Executive
Standards New Zealand

A Standards Holiday Greeting

John Lumsden, Standards Council Chair

It's nice to know that even as we're enjoying the holiday season, Standards never take a holiday. And while they're not a present you unwrap – their presence helps to ensure New Zealanders enjoy more prosperous, safer, and healthier lives.

In my first few weeks as Chair I have learned vast amounts about Standards and standardisation, and the opportunities and challenges ahead. I've also learned more about the people behind our Standards – from the sponsors to the technical committee members, to the people who use Standards to the committed Standards New Zealand team – and I am impressed by the high calibre and commitment of these men and women.

Early next year the Standards Council will meet for a strategy session about the future of Standards and standardisation in New Zealand. One of my goals for the meeting is to discuss ways to ensure that Standards are part of the national dialogue. To date the Council has done a very good job at promoting Standards in many sectors, but we now need to build a greater awareness about the role of Standards.

I look forward to meeting and working with many of you in 2011. In the meantime, have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

Standard thoughts

Richard Westlake, immediate past Chair of the Standards Council

I have very much enjoyed chairing the Standards Council over the past 7 years. During that time, Standards New Zealand has made many significant changes and I am proud that those changes are paying off in such a positive way. For the past 2 years we have reported a financial surplus – which is particularly pleasing considering the global economic climate and challenging business environment that Standards New Zealand operates under.

Standards New Zealand has been around for nearly 80 years. The organisation was founded after the Hawke's Bay earthquake of 1931 to ensure future such events did not result in a similar loss of life. That not a single person died in the Canterbury earthquake on 4 September 2010 is testimony to the far-sightedness of that decision. It has been an honour to be involved with an organisation with such a history – an organisation that is as vitally important today as it was when it was established in 1931.

I have been fortunate to work with an outstanding group of people on the Standards Council. Their experience, knowledge, and commitment have been truly extraordinary. I feel that today you have a strong Council that is well placed to work toward the Council's vision of ensuring New Zealanders are more prosperous, safer, healthier, and have more convenient lives through the impact of Standards solutions.

The Standards Council is well supported by staff at Standards New Zealand. Chief Executive Debbie Chin and her senior leadership team have been excellent to work with and have clearly embraced the mission and vision of the Standards Council. It hasn't always been easy, but I'm proud that a 2009 independent review of Standards New Zealand's business model reflected very positively on the changes that have been made – changes that have secured Standards New Zealand's future as New Zealand's lead Standards body.

I must also thank the organisations and hundreds of expert committee members who give of their time and knowledge year in and year out, for the betterment of all New Zealanders. They do this mainly behind the scenes on topics ranging from risk management to pool water quality to safety in laboratories. It is not an exaggeration to say that these men and women make all our lives better.

Standards New Zealand publishes many important Standards each year (122 in 2009-2010 alone) that are fit for purpose and represent industry and user consensus. Further afield, Standards New Zealand's relationship with Standards Australia is unique and it makes both organisations – both countries – stronger. As a 'small player' New Zealand continues to have an important role on many international Standards committees – our representatives are internationally respected in their fields and able to contribute much to Standards development.

Over the past several years, the Standards Council and many international studies have made a compelling case for Standards and standardisation across many sectors. As a nation, sadly New Zealand lags behind most developed economies in recognising the contribution that standardisation makes to economic growth, innovation and the well-being of the population. This contribution is frequently invisible – like any lubricant – but it does not come without a cost.

Until New Zealand and successive governments and their advisers wake up to this potential, and consistently make that investment, we shall continue to ask, 'What might we have achieved and what opportunities have we missed?'

I am hopeful that under the leadership of newly appointed Chair John Lumsden, we will see some real progress in the coming years, and I wish the Council and Standards New Zealand every success for the future.

Call for nominations – Meritorious Awards 2010

As the year draws to a close, Standards New Zealand is seeking nominations from Standards development committee members to nominate fellow committee members for the annual Meritorious Awards.

These awards provide a special opportunity for you to recognise the outstanding work of some of our committee members who have contributed to Standards development in 2010.

Nominations for this year's Meritorious Awards will be accepted until 20 December 2010. The award ceremonies in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch are tentatively scheduled for March and April 2011. Visit our Meritorious Awards 2010 webpage for more information and the nomination form.

Standards New Zealand Christmas close-down period in 2010-2011

Standards New Zealand will be officially closed from 12 noon on Thursday, 23 December 2010 and will re-open at 8.30am on Monday, 10 January 2011.

Placing orders for Standards over this time

You can still place orders for PDFs, add Standards to your Online Library portfolio, and order hard-copy documents during the close-down period via our webshop at

If you are a member of Standards New Zealand or pay by credit card, your PDF order will be fulfilled immediately. All hard-copy orders and orders paid by online banking or cheque will be processed and fulfilled when we return on 10 January 2011.

If you require urgent assistance over our holiday close-down period, please call 027 224 3005 and we will do our best to assist.

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