Industry warns Government of LED road lighting trade barrier

Published: Thu 19 Mar 2015 04:01 PM
Industry warns Government of LED road lighting trade barrier
A low rate of adoption of LED road lighting and an “approved or accepted list” of luminaires (light fittings) has caused some major lighting suppliers to lose interest in the New Zealand road lighting market says the chairman of the Lighting Council of NZ, Chris Byrne.
Expanding on a warning note he struck at the Road Lighting 2015 conference in Auckland last week, Byrne says there is healthy demand and competition for LED in all other lighting market sectors – residential, commercial and institutional – but the road lighting sector has been hampered by trade restrictions and low take-up.
“It was exciting to receive confirmation last week from the Minister of Transport, Simon Bridges, that the Government will be funding accelerated LED road lighting conversions, but the continued existence of an approved list of road lighting LED luminaires can only be described as a barrier to trade,” says Byrne.
“As a signatory to the World Trade Organisation Government Procurement Agreement, NZ Government procurements must be fair and transparent and based on outcome-based technical specifications, in compliance with recognised international standards, rather than opinion or preference.”
Byrne says the lighting sector in New Zealand is currently well represented by all of the global players, both European and American, and there is also some very high quality development and manufacture being undertaken by New Zealand companies.
He says while the NZ Transport Agency could be complimented on its decision to fund an accelerated changeover to LED lighting on New Zealand roads, its decision to restrict purchasing to an approved or accepted list of luminaires is short sighted.
“As LED technology continues to evolve rapidly it will be to New Zealand’s great disadvantage if procurement continues to be based on a list of specified luminaire products rather than outcomes-based technical specifications,“ says Byrne.
“By specifying products rather than outcomes, New Zealand is not only stifling trade in one of the world’s fastest developing markets, but – more importantly - it is also hampering its own ability to take advantage of the latest developments in the field as they become available.”

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