UPDATE FROM DEBBIE CHIN
STANDARDS AND CONFORMANCE INFRASTRUCTURE REVIEW
The Ministry of Economic Development has initiated a policy review of New Zealand's national standards and conformance infrastructure. The Standards Council, Standards New Zealand, and the Ministry of Economic Development will be working together to ensure the review is robust. Our collective aim is to promote a well functioning Standards system that meets the needs of businesses, consumers, and regulators into the foreseeable future. After many years of operating within a business model that has presented more and more challenges, the Standards Council and I believe this review will be a critical step towards finding a stable and enduring solution to the sustainability and progress of this organisation.
The review terms of reference are still being finalised. Once the scope of the review has been agreed, I will be in contact with you as the Council and I would like to encourage wide stakeholder input. We believe your perspectives are essential to pinpoint what is working well and what needs to change within the current system. The Ministry will be leading the review work over the coming months, with a final report and recommendations due to be completed by October for consideration by the Minister of Commerce.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR STANDARDS NEW ZEALAND MEMBERS, RESELLERS, AND CUSTOMERS
On 31 May, we advised all our members, resellers, and subscription customers by email of the following changes:
Pricing changes, effective from 2 July 2012
Standards New Zealand regularly monitors the impact on the cost of providing our products and services.The cost of printing, publishing, and distributing Standards publications and our ongoing operational expenses have continued to rise since our last price review. We do not receive government funding and rely on revenue from Standards development contracts and from the sales of Standards to cover our operating costs.
Accordingly, we will be applying an average price increase of 3.1% affecting the majority of our products, services, and fees.This will be effective from 2 July 2012. See the attached PDF for full details.
Changes to our terms of business, effective from 2 July 2012
Following an internal review of our terms of business with Standards New Zealand members, resellers, and other customers with credit facilities, we wish to advise we have made some changes to our terms of business from 2 July 2012. See the attached PDF for full details.
Last issue of hard copy Standards Magazine to be published end June 2012
Like many organisations struggling financially in these difficult economic times, we have had to review where we can make savings in order to be a sustainable organisation in the future.
Touchstone, our free monthly e-zine, now has thousands of subscribers and it is our primary communications channel. Due to the decreasing numbers of members wanting a hard copy magazine and who are opting to subscribe to Touchstone instead, and increasing production and postage costs, we have decided to retire the bi-monthly Standards magazine.
The next issue, planned to be mailed at the end of June, will be the last. If you don't currently subscribe to Touchstone, you can read the latest issue and subscribe free by visiting www.standards.co.nz/touchstone.
During the week 17 – 24 May, Standards New Zealand held its first ever sale of printed stock prior to our annual stock-take of Standards. It was great to see so many users of Standards take the opportunity to add to their hard copy libraries. We hope to do this again next year.
REBUILDING FROM RUBBLE
Earlier this year, I was approached by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to contribute to the May issue of their monthly magazine Focus+ which has the theme of managing crises.
In the article Rebuilding from rubble I write about the ongoing lessons we are taking from the Canterbury earthquakes and the crucial role of Standards in the rebuild of the region. More than that, however, I also talk about the increasing awareness among government officials and industry leaders of building resilience into our overall systems to deal with extraordinary circumstances. This means putting processes in place that help communities anticipate and, if necessary, respond and recover from disruptive challenges. I see a need for resilience Standards to be developed in a similar way to existing risk management Standards.
There are also reflections from experts in their fields including Roger Shelton, Senior Structural Engineer, Building Research Association of New Zealand (BRANZ), and a member of several national and international Standards committees. Roger talks about how, although early findings following the Canterbury earthquakes suggest most buildings that met the Standards of the time fared well, Standards development is an iterative process and must evolve to meet growing knowledge. Chris Mak, fire protection expert, says that, overall, fire protection devices (such as sprinklers) that met applicable Standards performed well in the earthquakes but, again, lessons have been learned for future fire protection Standards development.
You can read the complete article here.
STANDARDS AND REGULATIONS
Earlier this year, in an effort to support the maintenance of our database on Standards incorporated into the law, we wrote to a selection of regulators asking them to confirm our records of Standards cited in their regulations.
This generated a number of useful discussions with regulators, and so we decided it would be beneficial to further engage with this group to address their queries and concerns and seek to strengthen the relationship between Standards New Zealand and these stakeholders.
This week, a meeting was held between members of Standards New Zealand's Strategic Development and Governance and Solutions teams and a group of 27 regulator representatives from a variety of departments/ministries. The agenda included issues related to citing Standards in regulation, such as section 10(4) of the Standards Act 1988, common errors in citations, and World Trade Organisation (WTO) technical barriers to trade obligations.
As part of our presentation, we communicated that we are custodians of the national Standards catalogue, the importance of regulators managing incorporated Standards as a portfolio, understanding why particular Standards are incorporated and ensuring that incorporated Standards remain fit for regulatory purpose, and the utility of Standards as a tool in the regulatory 'tool box'.
We offered to provide peer review and technical support on how Standards are incorporated into technical regulation, raised the issue of access to Standards and how Standards New Zealand could help, and highlighted our role in notifying the WTO of Standards that may create technical barriers to trade.
Our presentation was very well received by attendees and this initiative highlights Standards New Zealand's commitment to working with Government agencies to improve the quality of technical regulation.
STANDARDS AND SUGAR
I was reminded of how Standards expand trade and export opportunities last month when I read that New Zealand Sugar Company Ltd became just the fourth food manufacturer in New Zealand to achieve certification of an international food safety Standard.
The company, known for its brand Chelsea Sugar, underwent a year of rigorous assessment and continuous improvement to achieve certification of ISO 22000 Food safety management systems. NZ Sugar's General Manager Bernard Duignan said in his media release that it was 'important that NZ Sugar operates at a standard that is world class. ISO 22000 is based on scientific and technical advances, and takes us well and truly beyond the realms of compliance to constantly identifying and controlling food safety hazards'.
You can read more about this great achievement in Touchstone.
ROOMS FOR HIRE
Standards New Zealand has a range of meeting rooms for hire. From meetings for as few as two people to seminars, conferences, or training for up to 60 people, we can accommodate your needs.
We are located in the heart of the Wellington CBD, with parking and accommodation next door. We can also supply catering and a full range of meeting room equipment.
Contact us next time you need a venue. Please visit our website for more information.
Debbie Chin, Chief Executive
Standards New Zealand