Wine and spirit geographical indications will soon be able to be registered in New Zealand as a result of a Bill introduced into Parliament today.

A geographical indication indicates that a product comes from a particular place and possesses certain qualities or characteristics because of that place - a well-known example being 'Champagne'.

The Bill seeks to amend the Geographical Indications (Wines and Spirits) Registration Act which passed in 2006, but was never brought into force.

Proposed changes in the Bill include the following.

  • A limitation on the length of time a geographical indication is registered, unless a renewal fee is paid. This is to help fund the cost of implementing and maintaining a registration system.
  • Deeming the terms 'New Zealand, 'North Island' and 'South Island' to be registered geographical indications.
  • Providing that the Registrar may refuse to register a geographical indication whose use or registration would likely be offensive to a significant section of society, including Maori.

The introduction of the Bill will be welcomed by the New Zealand wine industry, which sees the registration of New Zealand wine geographical indications as supporting its international trade strategies.

In a media statement released today, New Zealand's Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, the Hon Paul Goldsmith, said 'Some consumers are prepared to pay a significant premium for wines from certain New Zealand geographic regions. The reputation of New Zealand wines must be prudently guarded if we are to continue growing our wine exports'.

The full Graphical Indications Amendment Bill can be read here.