Improving our GMO regulations for laboratory and biomedical research

Closed 25 Aug 2023

Opened 3 Jul 2023


The Government sought feedback on proposed changes to Aotearoa New Zealand’s legislation and regulations for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) used in laboratory settings and for biomedical therapies. 

The proposals respond to concerns from the research community that current GMO regulations are hindering research and innovation. They aim to remove barriers to foster research and improve health outcomes. 

The consultation document presents 10 policy changes to: 

  • regulate laboratory research more proportionately 
  • streamline the approval and assessment process for biomedical therapies and medicines 
  • ensure the regulations are more up to date and future proof. 

The proposals apply only to laboratory settings. They will not alter rules on the release of GMOs outside laboratory settings, such as the provisions for field trials and releases of GMOs into the environment. Medsafe’s approval processes for medicines and biomedical therapies will also remain unchanged. 

As well as the full consultation document, there is a supplementary consultation document covering aspects of the proposals that may be of interest to hapū, iwi and Māori.

Read the summary consultation document [PDF, 283 KB]

Read the full consultation document [PDF, 1 MB]

Read the supplementary consultation document for hapū, iwi and Māori [PDF, 311 KB]

What happens next

This consultation closed on 25 August 2023.

After receiving submissions, we will analyse them to inform policy and government decisions. If Cabinet agrees to the proposed changes, amendments will be made to the HSNO Act (through an amendment Bill), to secondary legislation and to standards.

If you have any further questions, please email