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Measurement Standards

The Measurement Standards Act 1992 is administered in the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology. This Act requires the Minister of Research, Science and Technology to provide uniform units of measurement of physical quantities for use throughout New Zealand. The method by which this is achieved is prescribed in the National Standards Regulations 1976 (with Amendment No.1, 1992) which requires the Chief Metrologist of the Measurement Standards Laboratory, Callaghan Innovation, to be a "verifying authority" in respect of units of measurement. The New Zealand base units of measurement are required to be of the same magnitude as the standard of measurement for the time being accepted by nations adhering to the Metre Convention. A schedule of units is given in the Regulations.

Weights and Measures

The Weights and Measures Act 1987, including the various amendments to it, are administered by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs (part of the Ministry of Economic Development). The Act is confined to measurements for "use for trade". Legal measurement traceability is required to be to those standards maintained pursuant to the Measurement Standards Act 1992, or to those maintained by an "approved overseas country". The Minister of Research, Science and Technology may declare by notice in the Gazette any country to be an approved country, where the Minister is satisfied that the national standards of that country are of sufficient accuracy.

The Weights and Measures Amendment Act 1991 inserted provisions for the appointment of "Accredited Persons" for the purposes of "(a) Stamping with a mark of verification any weight, measure, or weighing or measuring instrument; and (b) Issuing certificates of accuracy in respect of any weight, measure or weighing or measuring instrument".

The Trading Standards unit in the Consumer Protection and Standards branch of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is responsible for enforcing the provisions of the Weights and Measures Act. This includes regular inspection of the accuracy of traders' measuring devices (shop-keepers' scales, petrol pumps, etc), and monitoring the packaging of goods to ensure the contents are not under-weight.

Calibration Laboratories

The Testing Laboratory Registration Act 1972, with subsequent ammendments, has the purpose:
" …to provide for the development and maintenance of good conformity assessment practice in New Zealand that is consistent with international practice and facilitates trade."
The non-profit organisation International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) carries out this function under the direction of the Council, and accredits calibration and testing laboratories which must comply with the requirements of the documentary standard NZ/ISO/IEC 17025 "General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories". Within New Zealand, only MSL (as New Zealand's national metrology institute) and accredited calibration laboratories are able to provide traceable calibration.

Fair Trading

The Fair Trading Act 1986 requires that no person shall, in trade, engage in conduct that is liable to mislead the public as to (among other things) the quantity of goods (Sections 10 and 13).


The Measurement Standards Laboratory of New Zealand has been appointed by notice in the New Zealand Gazette, 6 August 1992, p 2703, as a laboratory approved for the testing of any weighing device and the testing and surveying of any weighing site, pursuant to section 197 (1) of the Transport Act 1962 (as substituted by section 3 of the Transport Amendment Act 1992).

For more information, please contact us.

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