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Deeply concerned about content of Architects Bill

Media Release – May 13, 2004
Landscape architects deeply concerned about content of Architects Bill

New Zealand’s landscape architects today slated a proposed law change which they say will damage their profession and the industry.

Under the Architects Bill, anyone will be able to describe themselves as an architect - a title which has long been protected by law. Like landscape architects, architects have a professional body, an Institute, which sets standards for qualifications and competency.

The standards provide consumer protection. With the law change, consumer protection is undermined. This seems to be entirely contrary to government policy.

But while "architect" would be open to all, the planned legislation would limit use of the term "registered architect". This is not adequate for the consumer.

New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects president Di Lucas condemned the bill which will replace the Architects Act of 1963.

``We are supporting the NZ Institute of Architects in seeking to reverse this proposal and change it back to what was in the Architects Bill as introduced to the House last year,’’ Ms Lucas said.

``There are potential negative implications for landscape architects if the protection is dropped. I understand the government tried to do this with dentists and their lobbying got it reversed.’’

The bill before Parliament threatens to damage the level demanded of all qualified architects and will result in a blurring of understanding between architects and non-architects.

Ms Lucas said people like draughtsmen could call themselves an "architect" and this could confuse the public as to whom they should deal with. Instead of helping the public, the change will undermine the regulation of the profession.

The Dental Council went through a similar frustrating debacle which threatened any technician potentially calling themselves a dentist.

``The dentists have what appears a better solution in the Health Practitioners Act that covers nurses, dentists, etc. In the HPA, a dentist is a person who is registered. A nurse is a person who is registered. Thus there is precedent for this title protection.’’

Ms Lucas has written to Commerce Minister Margaret Wilson and appealed to her to have the bill reworded. She told Ms Wilson she was ``appalled at the select committee recommendations, which appear to undermine the standards established in the industry’’.


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