Plant Variety Rights Act Review

Plant Variety Rights Act Review

A new Plant Variety Rights Act 2023 entered into force in January 2023, following a review of the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987.

Updated 19 March 2024

A new Plant Variety Rights Act 2022 (“the PVR Act 2022”) entered into force on 24 January 2023, following a review of the previous Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 (“the PVR Act 1987”).

The review of the PVR Act 1987 was first initiated in the early 2000s, to acknowledge significant changes in the plant breeding industry in the decades since its commencement. However, this review 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 Plant Variety Rights (PVR) regime. Further negotiations under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) also required a modernisation of the PVR regime, so that this would be consistent with the updated international plant variety protection system, the 1991 Convention (UPOV 91).  

After several public consultations and revisions, the new Plant Variety Rights Act and Regulations received Royal Assent in December 2022, and commenced on 24 January 2023.


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 1987 and, where supported by the analysis, some preferred options. MBIE received feedback 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 1987, particularly changes that would 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 PVR Office. MBIE received additional feedback on these outstanding policy issues and took this feedback 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 were expected to the PVR Act 1987, a complete review of the Plant Variety Rights Regulations 1988 was recommended, rather than an amendment.

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

On 17 December 2021, the results from the consultation held between 14 July and 1 September 2021 were 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   MBIE

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.

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 were then examined and advice provided to the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

During November 2022, the Bill passed the final steps of the Parliamentary review process:

  • On 9 November it went through the Committee of whole House, followed by the Bill completing its Third Reading on 16 November.
  • On 18 November the Bill received Royal Assent, becoming the Plant Variety Rights Act 2022.

On 19 December 2022, the Plant Variety Rights Regulations 2022 received Cabinet approval.

On 24 January 2023, the Plant Variety Rights Act and Regulaions 2022 formally commenced.

In November 2023, we commissioned a study on the economic, innovation and public good value of the PVR regime in New Zealand. This study was undertaken by Business and Economic Research Limited (BERL), and its results will be used to inform future options for funding of the PVR regime.

Plant variety rights: Economic and public good benefits [PDF, 821 KB]

More information

For more details on the review of the PVR Act 1987, including copies of consultation papers and submissions, please visit the MBIE website:

Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 Review   MBIE

For more information on how PVR fees have changed with the PVR Act 2022, please see our summary of fee changes document:

Changes to Plant Variety Rights Fees from 24 January 2023 [PDF, 216 KB]