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 (the PVR Act). 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 PVR Act. 

On 18 November 2019 Cabinet agreed to make changes 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 included 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 was reported back to Parliament on 19 November 2021, following consideration at select committee. The select committee commentary, which includes the revised version of the Bill, and the advice provided by officials can be found on the Parliament website.

Plant Variety Rights Bill(external link) – New Zealand Parliament website

Read a summary of the key changes to the Bill

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 the document was discussed at a PVR Technical Focus Group meeting on 11 August 2021 and we also held a virtual hui on 25 August 2021 to discuss the list of non-indigenous species of significance.

At the same time, IPONZ undertook a targeted consultation on preliminary issues relating to the PVR fees review. This informed a public consultation on fees which opened on 13 April 2022 and closed on 20 May 2022.

Over the same period, MBIE consulted on an exposure draft of the proposed new PVR regulations.

Feedback received in both consultations will help inform final regulations and fees settings in the new PVR regime.

Read more about the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 review

Next steps

The Bill was reported back to Parliament on 19 November 2021, following consideration at select committee. The Bill is now proceeding through the remaining Parliamentary stages.

You can find out more information about the Bill, track its progress through Parliament, and read the select committee report and advice provided by officials on the Parliament website.

Plant Variety Rights Bill(external link) – New Zealand Parliament website

Following consultation on the exposure draft of the PVR regulations, we will provide advice to Ministers if any changes are needed.

Following consultation on the proposals for PVR fees, IPONZ will provide advice to Ministers and seek policy decisions later in 2022.

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

Last updated: 26 May 2022