Variety testing in New Zealand
The testing of new plant varieties in New Zealand is conducted through growing trials. These growing trials allow the Plant Variety Rights (PVR) Office to assess the new variety according to certain criteria.
Section 49(1) of the Plant Variety Rights Act 2022 states that a PVR must not be granted for a plant variety unless a growing trial has been undertaken for that variety. These growing trials assess the criteria set out in Section 32(a) of this Act.
Section 49 of the Plant Variety Rights Act 2022 — New Zealand Legislation
Section 32 of the Plant Variety Rights Act 2022 — New Zealand Legislation
Section 10(d) of the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 similarly states that a variety can only be granted a PVR if that variety is novel, distinct, uniform, and stable. The requirement for a growing trial under this Act is supported in Part 3 of the Plant Variety Rights Regulations 1988.
Section 10 of the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 – New Zealand Legislation
Part 3 of the Plant Variety Rights Regulations 1988 – New Zealand Legislation
Growing trials consist of both plants of the candidate variety and plants of any other necessary varieties. These plants provide comparative data and recordings, which in turn allow an official description to be drafted for the new variety.
The organisation, arrangement and type of growing trial will vary for different plant species, and different procedures will apply to each.
The PVR Office may use any of the following testing arrangements:
- Central testing by the PVR Office.
- Centralised testing by a research or industry organisation.
- Growing trials on a property that is organised by the variety owner or agent, with trial inspection and evaluation by the PVR Office.
- Breeder testing.
- Foreign test reports.
More detailed information is available under our technical guidance on arrangements for growing trials.
Use of plant material
All testing arrangements may require access to plant material for one or more of the following official purposes:
- For a growing trial to determine distinctness, uniformity and stability.
- For a verification growing trial.
- For supply to a reference variety collection.
- For a growing trial as a similar or reference variety.
Further detail is available under our technical guidance on the availability and supply of plant material.
This requirement also applies to foreign-bred varieties with no plant material present in New Zealand at the time of application. Applicants should assume that the PVR Office will request plant material of these varieties to be supplied or made available during the course of the application.