Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 review

We are reviewing the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987.

The Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 is now over 30 years old and has only had minor amendments since it was first passed. The plant breeding industry has changed significantly during this time and a review was necessary to ensure the regime is fit-for-purpose today. We also need a regime that protects kaitiaki interests in indigenous plants consistent with the Treaty of Waitangi – a central focus of this review.

Another major driver for the review was meeting our obligations under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which requires us to align our PVR regime with the International Convention on the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 91) by 30 December 2021.

The review of the PVR Act began in February 2017 and has been carried out by MBIE. We have engaged extensively with industry stakeholders and Māori organisations and individuals throughout the review, including the release of

an Issues paper in September 2018 [PDF, 1.8 MB]  and

an Options paper in July 2019 [PDF, 1.2 MB]

Cabinet has now agreed to make changes to the PVR Act, and new legislation will now be drafted.

Find out more about the review process

In 2018 we consulted on an Issues paper

An Issues paper exploring the main issues and opportunities for change in the plant variety rights (PVR) regime was released for consultation over September-December 2018.

We held public/industry meetings and hui for engagement with Māori during the consultation period.

We also released a Māori engagement plan that set out how we planned to engage with Māori at this and later stages of the review.

Find out more about our engagement with Māori during the review.

What we heard during the Issues stage consultation

We heard a wide variety of views at the public/industry meetings and regional hui with Māori last year. We also received 36 written submissions on the Issues paper. These submissions cover a wide range of views, including plant breeders, growers, the legal sector and Māori. 

Submitters who wished to remain anonymous are referred to as ‘anonymous submitter’. Redactions have been made in accordance with the Official Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 1993 and when content may be defamatory or commercially sensitive. Two submitters requested for their submissions to remain confidential. These submissions have not been published.

Read the summary of submissions [PDF, 169 KB]

Read the submissions on the Issues paper(external link)

Read the key themes from the regional hui with Māori [PDF, 194 KB]

View the presentation from the regional hui with Māori [PDF, 591 KB]

What we heard has informed the development for the options for change to the PVR regime that we are now consulting on.

In 2019 we consulted on an Options paper

On 9 July 2019 we released an Options paper for consultation. This paper was informed by what we heard during the Issues stage, and by an independent economic analysis of the Plant Varieties Innovation system commissioned by MBIE. This analysis was carried out by the Sapere Research Group.

The Options paper set out options for changing the PVR Act and, where supported by the analysis, indicated preferred options.

Read the economic analysis [PDF, 1.4 MB]

Find out more about the consultation on the Options paper

What we heard during the Options stage consultation

We received 53 submissions on the Options paper, and held a two day hui in Wellington on 5-6 August. The hui brought together industry stakeholders and Māori organisations and individuals.

Overall, submitters were generally comfortable with the options proposed in the paper, but some changes were made in response to submissions. These are described in the Cabinet paper.

Read the submissions on the Options paper(external link)

Read the notes from the hui [PDF, 1.7 MB]

Disclosure of origin requirements in the patents regime

Over September-December 2018 we also consulted on a discussion document considering options for introducing a requirement that patent applications include the origin of any genetic resources and traditional knowledge used in their inventions.

Find out more about patent disclosure of origin requirements.

Next steps

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

There remain a small number of additional policy issues that require further consideration and consultation. These include Treaty of Waitangi compliance issues and operational issues relating to the PVR Office.

A discussion document exploring these outstanding issues opened for consultation on 10 August 2020 and closed on 5 October 2020.

Following this consultation process, we hope to seek Cabinet decisions on these outstanding policy issues and introduce a Bill in early 2021. Once the Bill is introduced, we will begin consultations on changes to the Plant Variety Rights Regulations 1988.

Last updated: 14 December 2020