Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act 2006 review

We are reviewing the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act 2006 (the GIs Act).

The GIs Act provides a registration regime for wine and spirits geographical indications (GIs) only. Although the GIs Act entered into force in 2017, it was originally enacted in 2006 and has only had minor amendments made to it since. As of July 2023 there were a total of 27 registered GIs: 21 for New Zealand wine, 3 for New Zealand spirits, 2 for foreign wine and 4 for foreign spirits.

The GIs Act was developed in the early 2000’s and was designed to specifically meet the needs of New Zealand wine producers, who were the only sector known for using GIs at that time. However, New Zealand’s food and beverage sectors have changed significantly since that time and it may be that other food and beverage producers have started to use geographical indications as part of their marketing strategies.

The driver for reviewing the GIs Act now is the conclusion of negotiations for a free trade agreement with the European Union (EU-NZ FTA), under which New Zealand has agreed to protect around 2,000 European GIs for food, wine, spirits and other beverages.  The GIs Act will be the legislative vehicle for protecting these European GIs.

Find out more about the free trade agreement:

New Zealand-European Union Free Trade Agreement(external link)  — New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade

Release of a discussion paper

In connection with our work to implement protection for EU GIs required under the EU-NZ FTA we released a discussion paper reviewing the GIs Act in November 2022. The purpose of the discussion paper was to obtain information from:

  • Treaty partners, who we know from prior engagement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, have an interest in exploring how GIs could provide protection for mātauranga Māori domestically and internationally
  • food and beverage producers to better understand if the scope of the registration regime under the GIs Act should be extended
  • the public more broadly to understand what opportunities an extended GIs registration regime would provide to New Zealand
  • wine and spirits producers on whether there are any problems with the current regime under the GIs Act that we should look to address.

Find out more about the discussion paper:

Have your say on EU-NZ Free Trade Agreement: Review of geographical indications law

Read the submissions received on the discussion paper(external link)

Reforms to the GIs Act

In conjunction with Cabinet’s decision to sign and ratify the EU-NZ FTA, it has agreed to purse a number of amendments to the GIs Act related to the obligations to protection of EU GIs. These include:

  • entering the EU GIs into the register of GIs, established under section 42
  • establishing a process where any requests from the EU to protect new or additional GIs will go through a domestic examination and opposition process administered by the Registrar of GIs. Only GIs approved by IPONZ would proceed to registration after agreement between New Zealand and the EU
  • giving all registered GIs the same standard of protection that New Zealand is obliged to provide to EU GIs under the EU-NZ FTA
  • providing civil procedures, measures and remedies for interested persons to address the infringement of registered GIs based on those provided under the Trade Marks Act 2002 to trade mark owners
  • authorising the High Court to hear and determine proceedings for the infringement of registered GIs
  • setting out procedures, measures and remedies for the Ministry for Primary Industries to undertake administrative enforcement of registered GIs.

Information from submitters on the use of, and protection available for, GIs, by domestic producers was considered insufficient to be able to recommend to the Government to give priority to a new work programme for the purpose of extending the current registration procedures for wine and spirits GIs to other products. 

Find out more about Cabinet’s decisions to amend the GIs Act and EU-NZ FTA(external link)  — New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade

EU Free Trade Agreement Legislation Amendment Bill enacted by Parliament

On 25 January 2024 the EU Free Trade Agreement Legislation Amendment Bill (the Bill) was introduced into Parliament by the Minister of Trade.  This Bill amends several statutes to facilitate ratification of the NZ-EU FTA, including to the Trade Marks Act 2002 and GIs Act in line with Cabinet’s decisions to sign and ratify the agreement.

The Bill received its first reading in Parliament on 31 January 2024 and has been referred to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee (FADTC) for review. FADTC released its report reviewing the Bill on 12 March 2024.  Parliament completed its third reading of the Bill on 21 March 2024 and the Bill subsequently received its Royal Assent on 25 March 2024.

Find out more about the EU FTA Legislation Amendment Bill(external link)  — Parliament

Next steps

The EU FTA is to enter into force on 1 May 2024 along with the amendments to the GIs Act and the Trade Marks Act contained in the now enacted Bill.

Information about the changes to the GIs Act and the Trade Marks Act is being progressively updated the website of the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ).

Find out more on the IPONZ website:

European Union Geographical Indications(external link)

Our review of the GIs Act is now completed.

Last updated: 08 April 2024