Standards are generally voluntary. New Zealand Standards are used by a range of people and organisations to enhance their products and services, improve safety and quality, meet industry good practice, and/or support trade into existing and new markets, for example, SNZ HB 4102:2011 Safety in the home, AS/NZS 1102 Graphical symbols for electrotechnical documentation, and AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk management – Principles and guidelines.
However, they can be given a different status by regulators and Government agencies. Standards can become enforceable when empowered in legislation, regulations, or in a legal contract by the relevant agency/organisation. For instance, building and construction design Standards become compulsory when ‘cited’ or ‘referenced’ by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment as part of the New Zealand Building Code. Similarly, health Standards can be empowered by the Ministry of Health, safety Standards by the Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employment, and Standard model bylaws by local authorities.