A Green approach to animal welfare considers animals before profits, and provides the New Zealand public with the opportunity and knowledge to value, and engage with, animal welfare issues. We will do this by establishing an independent, parliamentary voice for animal welfare to hold our primary industries to account, and ensuring that animals do not get exploited for the purposes of entertainment. To increase public awareness of the importance of animal welfare issues, we will also support educational programmes and informed consumer choice as it relates to animal welfare.


All sentient animals (domestic or otherwise) within Papatūānuku and the domains of Tāne and Tangaroa are respected and held to have intrinsic worth, and their rights are upheld.

Values and Principles

Policy decisions relating to animal welfare must uphold the following values and principles:

  • Honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi: Respecting the mauri of all animals within Papatūānuku, and the domains of Tāne and of Tangaroa includes revealing and upholding the whakapapa tangata whenua have with te taiao. This means animals are due respect, love and rights.  
  • Ecological Wisdom: Reducing animal exploitation practices that drive environmental pollution, climate change, and zoonotic pandemics improves ecological and human wellbeing. Protection and restoration of indigenous biodiversity should be paramount. 
  • Social Responsibility: Ownership of animals, including companion animals, is a responsibility, not a right, that includes ensuring a high quality of life for all animals in people’s care. 
  • Appropriate Decision-Making: The rights and wellbeing of sentient animals, who are not able to advocate their own needs and perspectives, should be given weight in all relevant decisions.
  • Non-Violence: Animals should not be exploited or harmed for farm production, entertainment, or by human neglect, and their distress and pain should be minimised. Empathy and compassion towards all animals should be nurtured. Humans should remember our connections with other species and ensure that no cruelty occurs between us living together.

Strategic Priorities

The Green Party’s strategic goals include: 

“Our laws and practices will respect the biological integrity of all life, while prioritising the health of indigenous species and ecosystems.”

Actions in this policy that work towards this goal include:

  • Prohibit new, and phase out existing, factory farming of animals, including highly intensive outdoor facilities such as feedlots. (1.6)
  • Limit the permissible journey length for transporting live farm animals for any purpose in consideration of their suffering while being transported. (1.11)
  • Ensure that RNZSPCA  is adequately resourced to undertake its animal welfare enforcement and education work. (1.21)
  • Require non-animal methods of experimentation and testing to be used wherever they exist. (3.6)

Connected Policies

In this policy, animal welfare is explored in the contexts of Agriculture, Food, Recreation and Sport, and Research. Other policies consider the wellbeing of animals in the wild - see our Conservation, Environmental Protection, Land Use and Soils, and Climate Change Policies.


Latest Animal Welfare Announcements


Racing Minister gambling with dogs’ lives in unnecessary and self-imposed delay

The Green Party is concerned with reports that the Racing Minister is kicking decisions on the future of greyhound racing until after the election.
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Years of Green Party work leads to the end of live exports

Aotearoa will finally bring an end to the live export by sea of cattle, deer, sheep and goats.
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Green Party dismayed at delay in intensive winter grazing regulations

“The Government’s decision to cave into agribusiness and delay the implementation of critical regulations on intensive winter grazing is a bad outc...
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Animal Welfare

Animals are worthy of care and respect, but current rules allow animal abuse and exploitation. Aotearoa could easily have a world-leading animal w...
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New Zealand leadership needed to protect whales

The Green Party is deeply concerned by Japan’s resumption of commercial whaling, Green Party Animal Welfare Spokesperson Gareth Hughes said today. ...
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Review of live animal exports needed to protect animal welfare and New Zealand’s agricultural brand

The Green Party is welcoming the announcement by Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor to review New Zealand’s live animal exports rules. “New Ze...
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