Plant Variety Rights Act 2022 Receives Royal Assent
Following Committee of the Whole House readings the Plant Variety Rights Bill was read a third time on 15th November 2022 and received royal assent as the Plant Variety Rights Act 2022 on 18th November 2022.
The provisions of the Act commence in 3 stages—
- the provisions for establishing the Māori Plant Varieties Committee commenced the day following Royal assent so that its terms of reference can be finalised and work can commence on guidelines for breeders and kaitiaki:
- the bulk of the provisions will then commence by Order in Council once the new regulations are made:
- the provisions relating to consideration of applications by the Māori Plant Varieties Committee will commence by Order in Council no less than 1 year (and no more than 2 years) after Royal assent to give breeders sufficient time to understand their new obligations to engage with kaitiaki (where relevant) prior to making their applications.
As earlier reported here the Bill was introduced to Parliament in May 2021 and was given its first reading that month. The Bill sought to make the PVR legislative regime compliant with the Treaty of Waitangi and to ‘give effect’ to the 1991 version of the UPOV Convention (UPOV 91) so that New Zealand can meet its obligations under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
As earlier reported here the Bill that resulted from the select committee contained a number of notable amendments. However, the third reading only made some clarificational and tidying up type amendments.
In the first reading the Bill had broad support with four of the five parties voting in favour. This stemmed from the basic framework for the Bill being formulated during the TPP negotiations (predecessor to the CPTPP) when National was in government. Only the Greens did not support the Bill at its first reading as they considered the CPTPP compliance provisions overly compromised the Treaty of Waitangi compliance provisions. In the second reading the Maori party withdrew its support for the Bill, presumably for similar reasons to the Greens. By the third reading the Bill only retained the support of Labour and National, with the Act party withdrawing its support as it considered there was not enough certainty around the scope of the powers of the Maori Plant Variety Rights Committee.
Author: Quinn Miller