National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee

The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) was established under the Animal Welfare Act to provide independent advice on animal welfare to the Minister for Primary Industries.

NAWAC's role in animal welfare

NAWAC gives the Minister for Primary Industries advice on:

  • the welfare of animals in New Zealand
  • animal welfare research needs
  • legislative proposals
  • codes of welfare
  • regulations
  • traps and devices
  • hunting and killing animals in a wild state.

Section 57 of the Animal Welfare Act 1999 lists all of NAWAC's functions.

Find out more

NAWAC's work

NAWAC prioritises its work to make the most of its limited resources while improving animal welfare in New Zealand. NAWAC uses a framework to decide which animal welfare issues to address first. The committee updates its work programme every year.

Download NAWAC's prioritisation framework [PDF, 52 KB]

Download NAWAC's work programme [PDF, 337 KB]


NAWAC has published guidelines explaining how the committee works. It updates the guidelines regularly to reflect the experiences gained during NAWAC's deliberations.

These guidelines are not a legal interpretation of the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

  1. Approach to the consideration of draft codes of welfare [PDF, 35 KB]
  2. Dealing with practices which might be inconsistent with the spirit of the Animal Welfare Act [PDF, 43 KB]
  3. Setting minimum standards where section 73(3) applies [Revoked] [PDF, 66 KB]
  4. Process for the development of codes of welfare [PDF, 112 KB]
  5. Role of science in setting animal welfare standards [PDF, 37 KB]
  6. Wider issues relevant to setting minimum standards [PDF, 62 KB]
  7. Taking account of society’s ethical values, technical viewpoints and public opinion [PDF, 23 KB]
  8. Balancing animal welfare needs [PDF, 75 KB]
  9. Assessing the welfare performance of restraining and kill traps [PDF, 88 KB]
  10. Phasing out one animal management system in favour of another [PDF, 25 KB]
  11. Principles of consultation [PDF, 60 KB]
  12. Prioritisation framework [PDF, 52 KB]
  13. Recommending regulations where section 183A(2) applies [PDF, 37 KB]
  14. Determining level of intervention [PDF, 94 KB]



NAWAC holds 4 ordinary meetings a year. Summaries from the meetings are published on this website, or you can request copies – email

Annual Reports

NAWAC produces an annual report which covers all of its operations for the year, including work on codes of welfare and regulations, and updates on research.

Download the latest NAWAC annual report [PDF, 384 KB]

Membership of NAWAC

NAWAC is made up of a chairperson, the chairperson of the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee, and up to 9 other members. The Animal Welfare Act 1999 lays out requirements for membership. Members are chosen for their expertise and need a range of knowledge and experience including:

  • veterinary science
  • agricultural science
  • animal science
  • commercial use of animals
  • care, breeding and management of companion animals
  • ethical standards and conduct in respect of animals
  • animal welfare advocacy
  • understanding of the public's interest in animals
  • environmental and conservation management.


Members can be nominated by a relevant organisation but do not represent the nominating organisation on the committee. Any vacancies on the committee are also advertised on this website and the Government's jobs website.

Who to contact

If you have questions about the committee, email

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