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Bill updates standards, conformance infrastructure

Hon Lianne Dalziel
Minister of Commerce, Minister for Food Safety,
Associate Minister of Justice, MP for Christchurch East

9 September 2008 Media Statement

Bill updates standards and conformance infrastructure

Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel today introduced a Bill making changes that will help cement New Zealand's reputation for a high quality, trustworthy standards and conformance infrastructure.

"A reputable standards and conformance infrastructure is essential to our international trade by allowing overseas markets to rely on our standards and it allows the government to achieve environmental, health and safety objectives without compromising growth. This Bill updates and simplifies the governance arrangements for our standards and conformance infrastructure to bring it into line with international best practice," Lianne Dalziel said.

The Standards and Accreditation Bill replaces the Acts covering the Standards Council and the Testing Laboratory Registration Council, which are both autonomous Crown entities established by legislation.

The Bill’s primary purpose is to update and simplify the governance arrangements of both the entities by separating their governance and technical advisory functions. The Bill provides for a smaller governing board for each entity, directly appointed by the Minister of Commerce, to promote a better focus on governance.

It requires each entity to establish distinct technical advice structures: for the Standards Council, sector advisory boards (SABs), to improve the strategic direction of standardisation in New Zealand; and for the Testing Laboratory Registration Council, professional advisory committees (PACs), to provide expert advice on accreditation programmes.

The Bill also re-names the entities using the trading names by which they are known to their stakeholders: Standards New Zealand (Standards NZ) and International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ).

The Bill updates the functions of each. It clarifies that Standards NZ can endorse the processes by which standards are developed, in addition to endorsing standards. The Bill also formalises IANZ’s longstanding designation as New Zealand’s Good Laboratory Practice compliance monitoring authority, in line with OECD decisions.

The Bill arose from a Review of New Zealand’s Standards and Conformance Infrastructure, completed in May 2007, which found that the infrastructure was fundamentally sound but could be improved to meet future challenges.


ENDS

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