A new approach to New Zealand’s Plant Variety Rights regime

Published: 29 November 2019

The government has agreed a new approach to New Zealand’s Plant Variety Rights (PVR) regime. These proposals meet our commitments to Māori under the Treaty of Waitangi while also aligning with the highest international standards of plant variety rights protection.

PVR law incentivises innovation in the development of new plant varieties – such as disease resistant crops and new varieties of fruit – by providing intellectual property rights over them. The regime has been under review by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) since 2017.

Along with modernising the PVR Act, the central focus of the review has been to design a regime that is consistent with the Crown’s Treaty of Waitangi obligations and New Zealand’s obligations under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

“Our plant breeding industry has changed significantly over the last 30 years, and a review of this intellectual property law was necessary to ensure the PVR regime both meets our obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi and is fit-for-purpose for a modern, dynamic, internationally-connected plant breeding industry,” says MBIE Manager of Intellectual Property Policy, Susan Hall.

These changes follow the release of an Issues Paper in 2018 and an Options Paper earlier this year, along with extensive public consultation through a series of hui and industry workshops.

It is intended that new legislation will be introduced to Parliament in May 2020 and the public will have a further opportunity to comment on the proposals during the select committee process.