The emission intensity of diamond samples containing negatively charged nitrogen-vacancy centres are measured as a function of magnetic field along the 〈111〉 direction for various temperatures. At low temperatures the responses are sample and stress dependent and can be modelled in terms of the previous understanding of the 3E excited state fine structure which is strain dependent. At room temperature the responses are largely sample and stress independent, and modelling involves invoking a strain independent excited state with a single zero field spin-level splitting of 1.42 GHz. The change in behaviour is attributed to a temperature dependent averaging process over the components of the excited state orbital doublet. It decouples orbit and spin and at high temperature the spin levels become independent of any orbit splitting. One significant implication of this averaging is that it simplifies the development of room temperature applications.