Plant Variety Rights Act Review

Plant Variety Rights Act Review

Updated 5 August 2022

A review of the Plant Variety Rights (PVR) Act 1987 is nearing its conclusion, with the Bill at the Committee of whole House stage in Parliament.

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.

On 11 May 2021, the Plant Variety Rights Bill (“the Bill”) was introduced to Parliament, and completed its first reading on 19 May 2021. The Bill was then referred to the Economic Development, Science and Innovation select committee for consideration.

From 14 July to 1 September 2021, MBIE released a discussion document for consultation on proposed PVR regulations. Because significant changes are expected to the PVR Act, the current Plant Variety Rights (PVR) Regulations 1988 are now out of date and no longer fit for purpose. This discussion document was therefore drafted under the consideration that a complete review of the PVR Regulations is needed, rather than an amendment to the current regulations.

On 19 November 2021, the Bill was reported back to Parliament following its consideration at select committee.

  • A link to the revised Bill can be found on the Parliament website.
  • A summary of the key changes to the Bill as recommended by the select committee may be found on the MBIE website.

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.

On 17 December 2021, the results from the consultation held between 14 July and 1 September 2021 was consolidated. We received 17 written submissions on the discussion paper, which covered a wide variety of viewpoints.

We also engaged with stakeholders on this paper at a PVR Technical Focus Group meeting on 11 August 2021 and held a virtual hui to discuss the list of non-indigenous species of significance on 25 August 2021. Cabinet made policy decisions on the new regulations in November 2021.

Read the submissions on the proposed regulations paper PDF [1.56 MB]

On 13 April 2022 public consultations on changes to the Plant Variety Rights Regulations 1987 began in relation to the following:

  • Policy update:
    MBIE consulted on proposed regulations to support the new PVR regime.
  • Fees update:
    IPONZ consulted on proposed changes to PVR fees and the fee structure, based on earlier feedback from industry professionals and PVR contacts.

More information on the above consultations can be found on the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 review section of the MBIE website.

On 10 May 2022 the Bill completed its Second Reading in Parliament.

On 20 May 2022 the public consultations on regulations and fees were concluded. Submissions on these consultations have since been examined and advice provided to the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. A summary of the submissions, as well as individual submissions, will be published on the MBIE website in due course.

Next steps

The new Plant Variety Rights Bill is now expected to enter the Committee of whole House, where MPs will consider the Bill in detail, then vote on proposed changes.

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 the IPONZ PVR fees review please contact

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