< September 2019 newsletter

Time is running out to submit on the Plant Variety Rights Act

MBIE plans to share its decision-making power

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is currently undergoing a review of the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987. This Act is New Zealand’s plant variety rights law, which regulates intellectual property protection over new plant varieties.


The review paper contains proposals to incorporate Treaty of Waitangi clauses in the legislation that in effect will mean Maori will decide if a Plant Variety Right (PVR) should be granted, (see ‘New decision-making process’ clause below). By sharing decision making with a private body, the proposed regime would compromise the integrity of our democracy.

From the 'Plant Variety Rights Act Review: Summary of Treaty of Waitangi Compliance Options'

“We consider that the Treaty of Waitangi requires the Crown to consider kaitiaki interests – in a meaningful and mana-enhancing way that facilitates protection of those interests – in the PVR regime. This requires a genuine and balanced consideration of kaitiaki interests at all stages of the PVR process, from the start of the breeding programme to the decision on whether or not to grant a PVR”.

 “Our recommended package of proposals to achieve Treaty compliance in the PVR Act involves:

New disclosure requirements: introduce new information disclosure requirements for breeders, requiring them to provide information about the origin of the plant material used to develop their varieties and if applicable, who kaitiaki are, any engagement the breeder has had with kaitiaki, and the breeder’s assessment of whether kaitiaki interests would be affected by the commercialisation of the new variety”.


“New decision-making process: empower the Commissioner of Plant Variety Rights, jointly with the Chair of the Māori advisory committee, to decide whether, on the basis of the Māori advisory committee’s advice, the PVR should be granted”.

“We also explored an alternative option to the decision-making process proposed above that would permit restrictions to be imposed on the exercise of the breeder’s right. However, because this only allows for consideration of kaitiaki interests after a PVR has been granted and would not allow for a grant to be refused, we concluded that this option falls short of what is necessary for Treaty compliance”.

To see 'Plant Variety Rights Act Review: Summary of Treaty of Waitangi Compliance Options'

Also ‘Options Paper - Review of the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987’

MBIE are seeking written submissions on the issues raised in the Options Paper. Your submission may respond to any or all of the issues, including your views on whether you agree with their analysis and proposed options for Treaty of Waitangi compliance, and whether there are alternatives or additional proposals that should be considered.

There’s not much time left - you can have your say until 5pm on Monday 9th September.

MBIE request we use the submission template provided at: https://www.mbie.govt.nz/have-your-say/plantvariety-rights-act-1987-review-options-paper, saying this will help them to collate submissions and ensure that your views are fully considered. Please also include your name and (if applicable) the name of your organisation in your submission. Also please include your contact details in the cover letter or e-mail accompanying your submission.

Alternative ways to make your submission include by:

  • sending your submission as a Microsoft Word document to [email protected].
  • mailing it to:

Corporate Governance and Intellectual Property Policy Building,

Resources and Markets Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

 PO Box 1473 Wellington 6140

New Zealand


Please direct any questions that you have in relation to the submissions process to [email protected].

Go back to the September 2019 newsletter


Have your say: the PVR regime is undergoing a review, proposing a new decision-making process

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is undertaking a review of the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987. The second stage of consultation is now open. Public feedback on proposed options is currently being sought. Make sure you submit your feedback by 9 September 2019. Continue reading