Plant variety rights

This page is about the protection of new plant varieties and our review of the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987.

About plant variety rights

Plant variety rights (PVRs) give you the exclusive right to produce for sale and sell propagating material of a new plant variety.

In the case of vegetatively-propagated fruit, ornamental and vegetable varieties, PVRs give you the additional exclusive commercial right to propagate the protected variety for the commercial production of fruit, flowers or other products.

To be granted a PVR the plant variety must be:

  • new
  • distinct
  • uniform
  • stable

It must also have an acceptable variety name (denomination).

Find out more about applying for and managing a plant variety right on the IPONZ website.(external link)

Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 review

The Government has been reviewing the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987. In September 2018 we released an Issues paper exploring the key issues and opportunities for change in the PVR regime. 

An Options paper was then released in July 2019, seeking feedback on options to amend the Plant Variety Rights Act. 

On 18 November 2019 Cabinet agreed to make change to the PVR Act. These changes give effect to our obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

A discussion document exploring a small number of outstanding policy issues opened for consultation on 10 August 2020 and closed on 5 October 2020. These include Treaty of Waitangi compliance issues and operational issues relating to the PVR Office. Cabinet made policy decisions in relation to these in March 2021.

The Plant Variety Rights Bill (the Bill) was introduced to Parliament on 11 May 2021 and completed its first reading on 19 May 2021. The bill replaces the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 by modernising the regime and implementing the Crown's obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi in relation to the plant variety rights regime and New Zealand's obligations under the CPTPP.

Read the draft Bill(external link) — New Zealand Legislation

A discussion document setting out our proposals for regulations to support the new PVR regime opened for consultation on 14 July 2021 and closed on 1 September 2021. During this time we also held an online hui to discuss the proposed list of non-indigenous species of significance under the new regime.

At the same time, IPONZ undertook a targeted consultation on preliminary issues relating to the PVR fees review. This is designed to inform a public consultation document on PVR fees later in the year.

Read more about the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 review

Next steps

The new Plant Variety Rights Bill has been introduced to Parliament and received its first reading. It has now been referred to the Economic Development, Science and Innovation select committee for consideration.

You can find out more information about the Bill and track its progress through Parliament on the Parliament website. 

Plant Variety Rights Bill(external link) — New Zealand Parliament

Following the consultation on the PVR regulations, we will provide advice to Ministers on these later in 2021.

It is anticipated that the new regulations will come into effect, along with the majority of the provisions of the Bill and the new PVR fee structure in mid-2022.

Last updated: 02 September 2021