Plant Variety Rights Act Review


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Plant Variety Rights Act Review

Updated 3 September 2021

A review of the Plant Variety Rights (PVR) Act 1987 is currently underway.

The plant breeding industry has changed significantly over the last 30 years, and this review is necessary to ensure that the PVR Act is fit-for-purpose going forward. Although a review of the PVR Act 1987 was first initiated in the early 2000s, it was put on hold in anticipation of the release of the Waitangi Tribunal’s Wai 262 report, which made a number of recommendations affecting the PVR regime. It was further delayed by international negotiations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which has since morphed into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Under the CPTPP, New Zealand is now required within three years to modernise the PVR regime to be consistent with the updated international agreement on plant variety rights (UPOV 91).


From 17 September to 21 December 2018 the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) consulted on an Issues Paper. MBIE also held regional hui for engagement with Māori, as well as public and industry meetings around New Zealand.

From 9 July to 9 September 2019, MBIE released an Options Paper for consultation. This paper was informed by the issues stage and by an independent economic analysis of the Plant Varieties Innovation system commissioned by MBIE. The Options Paper set out options for changing the PVR Act and, where supported by the analysis, some preferred options. Further feedback was received via this consultation, and via a PVR hui held in Wellington in August 2019.

On 18 November 2019, Cabinet agreed to make changes to the PVR Act. These changes give effect to our obligations under the CPTPP and the Treaty of Waitangi.

On 10 August 2020, MBIE released an additional discussion document for consultation. This document addressed outstanding policy issues relating to compliance with the Treaty of Waitangi, as well as administrative/operational matters with the Plant Variety Rights Office. Additional feedback was received on these outstanding policy issues and taken into consideration during policy decisions in March 2021.

Copies of all of the above consultation papers and submissions are currently available on the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 review section of the MBIE website.

Next steps

Following the drafting of a new Plant Variety Rights Bill, this Bill was introduced into Parliament and received its first reading in May 2021. The Bill is expected to be referred to the Economic Development, Science and Innovation select committee for consideration.

Further consultations on changes to the Plant Variety Regulations 1988 are also expected while the Bill is with the select committee.

  • MBIE has recently consulted on proposed regulations to support the new PVR regime. Visit the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 review section of the MBIE website.
  • IPONZ has recently completed a targeted consultation on preliminary issues relating to a review of PVR fees. The results of this limited consultation are currently under review and will form the basis of a public consultation document on PVR fees later in 2021.

How to stay informed

IPONZ will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.

To receive early notice of updates, subscribe to MBIE’s PVR Act Review newsletter. If you have any particular questions in relation to this review, you may also email

For any questions regarding IPONZ PVR fees review please contact

For more information, please visit the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 review section of the MBIE website.