23 August, 2012
Standards New Zealand's Meritorious Service Awards
Council members, Chief Executive Chin, and distinguished guests -tena koutou.
I am honoured to be here today to recognise the commendable and exceptional work of those who have contributed to standards development in New Zealand.
I would also like to acknowledge my Parliamentary colleague, the Honourable Lianne Dalziel, for the work she has done in this area in her previous role as Commerce Minister.
I understand that there are over 2000 volunteers who freely offer their time and expertise to Standards New Zealand.
This morning we are here to recognise the immense contribution of these volunteers to business and to New Zealand as a whole.
Standards touch every aspect of New Zealand society and are essential to ensure products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality.
Although the standards are not specifically designed for achieving economic benefits, the ways in which Standards change business practices, and peoples' behaviour, inevitably has an economic effect.
Studies done in Germany, England, Canada, Australia and France have shown a strong link between standards and economic growth.
In the UK alone, standards annually contribute 2.5 billion pounds to their economy.
And in Australia, sampling standards contribute about 100 million Australian dollars to the mining industry.
About 80 per cent of world trade is impacted by International Standards.
These studies show that standards are valuable instruments that help reduce costs and increase productivity.
They help businesses access new markets and facilitate international trade.
New Zealand is no different from the rest of the world.
A recent study in New Zealand illustrated the link between standards, productivity and GDP in New Zealand.
Interestingly - although not unexpectedly - this study has shown that the greater impact of standards on the wider economy, in fact, arises from labour and capital productivity gains.
Our economic strategy is about improving productivity generally. We need to business in New Zealand to grow.
High quality standards are an essential enabler of business growth- high quality product standards, management and service standards remain at the core of business growth.
The high quality of New Zealand Standards is a reflection of the knowledge and commitment of standards developers.
Recognising the importance of Standards, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is currently undertaking a review of New Zealand's standards and conformance infrastructure, with a specific focus on the standards system.
The purpose of the review is to ensure that we have a viable and well-functioning system that meets the needs of business, regulators and consumers into the foreseeable future.
I'm pleased to be given this opportunity today to reflect on all the good work done by the standards industry.
You can be proud that you help make New Zealand a prosperous and safe place.
Congratulations and good luck.