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Fri December 01 2023

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NZ engineers seek views on new registration plan

30 May 19 Engineering New Zealand is seeking feedback to help it respond to proposals for a new regulatory system.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) has released a proposal outlining the new regulatory system for engineers. This proposal replaces CPEng with a certification of general engineering competence and licensing for safety-critical engineering work. This system would be independently governed and accountable to the minister.

Engineering New Zealand has already been holding branch sessions around the country and gathering views through our online submissions form or other channels. The deadline for its submission to MBIE is 16th June and so it needs any further feedback by 10th June.

“This proposed new system will have wide-ranging effects, potentially for all engineers,” it said. “It’s really important to have your say.”

Six years ago, the Canterbury Earthquake Royal Commission recommended changes to the way engineers are regulated. “Everyone agrees that we need a regulatory system that keeps New Zealanders safe, which means engineers working within their competence and being held to account when necessary,” said Engineering New Zealand. It has provided feedback as MBIE has developed this proposal.

“While we support much of the proposal, we are concerned about the addition of a new, general certification,” it said. “We believe the ideal regulatory model is a mix of government oversight and professional self-regulation. We support the introduction of a new licensing regime for safety-critical engineering work, underpinned by strong self-regulation by the professional body, Engineering New Zealand. We support regulation of safety-critical work through licensing. Regulating safety-critical work through a licensing scheme would better protect the public and strengthen trust in the profession.”

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However, it doesn’t support regulation of general competence through certification. “As well as licensing, MBIE has proposed a voluntary statutory certification scheme to provide assurance of an engineer’s professionalism and general competence, and act as a prerequisite for licensing.

“We believe government regulation should be restricted to areas of public safety. General competence and professionalism are more effectively regulated by the profession.”

It would back a stronger accountability mechanism. “We support a robust, fair, impartial, transparent and proportional complaints and disciplinary process for the licensing regime, that more effectively manages risk to the public.”

Under MBIE’s proposal, CPEng would be repealed. “But this wouldn’t happen straight away: any transition to the new regime would take time, potentially years,” said Engineering New Zealand. “So if you are currently working towards CPEng or about to be reassessed, keep going. If you are CPEng now, you can also become a Chartered Member of Engineering New Zealand now. This general, internationally benchmarked quality mark will not change.”

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