2018 conformance policy and infrastructure review

In December 2017, the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs directed us to check that New Zealand’s conformance infrastructure is effectively supporting the economy, the well-being of people and the environment.

About conformance

Conformity assessments check that goods, services, personnel and systems meet standards or comply with regulatory requirements.

Conformity assessments include things like:

  • inspections
  • testing
  • calibration
  • systems auditing
  • certification of products, personnel and management systems.

The conformance infrastructure includes the regulations, institutions and arrangements for carrying out conformity assessments.

The benefits of a robust conformance infrastructure

Conformity assessments play an important role in making New Zealand a great place to live and do business. For example:

  • consumers use the reliable and impartial information to choose products that best fit their needs
  • businesses use conformity assessments to improve their processes, sustainability and lift productivity
  • many regulators rely on the experience and skills of conformance experts to check that goods, services, personnel and systems are safe for people and the environment.

Issues and opportunities paper

We completed the first part of the review and reported to the Minister on 16 August 2018. This work included talking to a range of people, businesses and agencies involved in New Zealand’s conformance infrastructure. Our review found that the overall infrastructure is sound, fit for purpose and in keeping with the size of our economy but there are areas for improvement.

The Issues and opportunities Paper below presents the findings of the review. It highlights the areas for improvement and asks a series of consultation questions based on the findings.

Responses from the public and stakeholders to the questions will help us advise the Government in early 2019 on potential policy changes we could make to improve the operation of the conformance infrastructure.

Issues and opportunities paper [PDF, 1.4 MB]

Summary of Issues and opportunities paper [PDF, 634 KB]

Further background information

Conformity Assessment Services Survey Report [PDF, 1.1 MB]

Sapere Research Group’s Report: Insights into the operation of New Zealand’s conformance system [PDF, 413 KB]

Terms of Reference for the 2018 Conformance policy and infrastructure review [PDF, 321 KB]

Next steps

Public consultation on the findings of the review closed on 28 November 2018.

We will take into account the responses from the public and stakeholders when providing advice to the Government on potential changes in early 2019.