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Sun June 16 2019

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New Zealand engineers respond to licensing proposals

17 Apr Government plans to license safety-critical work have been welcomed by Engineering New Zealand, but the organisation has questions about the proposed certification of general competence.

Engineering New Zealand chief executive Susan Freeman-Greene said that everyone wants a regulatory system that keeps New Zealanders safe and holds engineers to account when necessary, and that change is definitely needed. “We support the concept of licensing for safety-critical engineering work, because this will give assurance that engineers can perform specific, safety-critical work like designing high-rise buildings,” she said. ““We think it’s important that the licensing system can eventually extend into all areas of safety-critical engineering work; for example, heavy vehicles and water.”

As well as licensing, the government has proposed a voluntary statutory certification scheme to provide assurance of an engineer’s professionalism and general competence.

“We believe government regulation should be restricted to areas of public safety, like the licensing proposal,” said Freeman-Greene. “We think the responsibility for general competence and professionalism should sit with the profession, rather than the government.

“Statutory certification of general competence would duplicate Engineering New Zealand’s Chartered Member assessment process, which is a voluntary professional recognition and competence scheme that’s internationally benchmarked.”

She added: “We know people find the current system confusing. Adding statutory certification as well as licensing would create a more confusing system, which is in no one’s interests.”

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