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Proposed changes to the way organic production is regulated


15 March 2021: Ongoing consultation

Consultation on the proposals for regulating organic businesses in the primary sector is now underway.

Find out more about the proposals and how to have your say

22 April 2020: Draft organic products regulatory proposals available

On 23 March 2020, Parliament’s Primary Production Select Committee called for submissions on the Organic Products Bill. Submissions close 28 May 2020.

To help you make submissions, we are providing draft proposals for regulations for organic food, beverages, and plant and animal products. These draft proposals illustrate how features of the bill could work in practice.   

Draft proposal for regulating organic businesses in the primary sector [PDF, 676 KB]

We are not yet seeking your feedback on the draft regulations proposals. This draft discussion document is for your information only.

We had intended to consult on these regulations at the same time as the Select Committee consulted on the bill. But we decided to postpone this stage of the work so that stakeholders could focus on adjusting to COVID-19 requirements. We will formally consult on the proposed regulations later.

Visit the NZ Parliament website to make a submission on the bill

The Organic Products Bill and how to make a submission

How a bill becomes law

27 February 2020: Introduction of the Organic Products Bill

The Government has agreed that the Organic Products Bill will be considered by Parliament.

The Bill provides a framework for the development of standards for all organic products. It sets requirements for all businesses involved in their production through to sale (with the sole exception of retailers of pre-packaged products).

The purpose of the Bill is to:

  • increase consumer confidence in the purchasing of organic products
  • increase certainty for businesses making organic claims
  • facilitate international trade in organic products.

Cabinet Paper on the Organic Products Bill [PDF, 1.2 MB]

Regulatory Impact Assessment [PDF, 315 KB]

The Government has also agreed to public consultation on regulatory proposals covering the details of how businesses become approved as organic.

Cabinet Paper on the release of the discussion document [PDF, 757 KB]

Next steps

The Bill will have its first reading soon.

If the Bill passes its first reading, it will be referred to the Primary Production Select Committee. The committee will then consult on the content of the Bill. Around the same time, the Ministry for Primary Industries will begin a consultation on regulatory proposals.

The Organic Products Bill – NZ Parliament

Read the Bill, follow its progress and find out how to make a submission – NZ Parliament

How a bill becomes law – NZ Parliament

4 December 2018: Cabinet agreement on enabling National Organic Standards

On 3 December, the Government announced that a national standard for organic production will be progressed as a Bill next year.

This Bill will allow the development and introduction of National Organic Standards and ways to check that these requirements have been met.

Next steps

The next step is to draft an organics Bill to be introduced next year. There will be opportunities for the public and those in the industry to feedback at the Select Committee stage.

Officials will also start developing a national organic standard and associated regulations.

There will be further consultation on the content of:

  • the bill during the Select Committee process.
  • organic standards and associated regulations.

To get updates on new organic regulation, email

10 August 2018: Summary of submissions and Cabinet paper released

Next steps

The next step is for Government to consider whether and how it would like to proceed with work on new organic regulation. Should the Government decide to proceed with new organic regulation there will be further consultation on the:

  • legislation that will be required to support a standard
  • content of the standard itself. 

What was proposed?

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) sought feedback on whether New Zealand would benefit from new organic regulation.

To assess whether regulating organics would have merit for New Zealand, it is important to think about how such an approach might work in practice and understand its possible benefits, costs and impacts.

The discussion paper proposed changes to the way organics are regulated and set out some options for what a new regime for organic products could look like.

During the consultation, which ran from 14 May 2018 to 11 June 2018, public meetings were held throughout the country.

Consultation documents

Public meetings

MPI held public meetings to provide information and answer questions on the proposal.

Submissions are public information

Note, that any submission you make becomes public information. People can ask for copies of submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we have to make submissions available unless we have a good reason for withholding it (refer to sections 6 and 9 of the OIA).

Tell us if you think there are grounds to withhold specific information in your submission. Reasons might include that it's commercially sensitive or it's personal information. However, any decision MPI makes to withhold information can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may tell us to release it.