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. More information on the consultation may be found on the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 review section of the MBIE website.
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.
MBIE is now in the process of collating all submissions and feedback received from the above consultations. These will then be reviewed and used to provide advice to Ministers on changes to the PVR regime.
Once policy decisions have been made by Cabinet, new legislation will be drafted and is expected to be introduced to Parliament in May 2020. Members of the public will have a further opportunity to make submissions on the Bill at the select committee stage.