News Blog Articles What does the change in Government mean for Aotearoa’s animals?
What does the change in Government mean for Aotearoa’s animals?

What does the change in Government mean for Aotearoa’s animals?

November 24th, 2023

The results of the 2023 general election are in, and it seems Aotearoa will now be shifting to a National-led Government. Naturally, many Kiwis will be curious about how this change will impact SAFE’s ongoing campaign work, and more broadly, New Zealand’s animals.

Rest assured, whatever may eventuate in the coming months, SAFE will continue to campaign for animals across the country as firmly as we have ever done.

Below we outline some of our key campaign areas, where we currently stand, and what might come next.

Live export by sea

SAFE has long been a staunch advocate for the hundreds of thousands of animals who have endured immense suffering at sea in the live export trade. In April 2023, alongside those great many Kiwis who opposed the trade, we celebrated the long-awaited ban on live export by sea.

However, amid the celebrations came a jarring revelation. In the lead up to the election, both National and ACT publicly announced their intentions to bring the cruel live export trade back.

In response to their shocking plans to reverse the ban, over 13,500 impassioned New Zealanders contacted National and ACT urging them to uphold our world-leading ban on live export by sea.


We want to assure you that SAFE will work harder than ever to protect this hard-fought victory. We cannot let our progress be undone, but as always, we are stronger when we stand together.

Urge National and ACT to protect the ban on live export by sea.

Greyhound racing

On a more positive note, during the final Leaders’ Debate, both Labour leader Chris Hipkins and National leader Christopher Luxon stated they agreed that it is time for the cruel greyhound racing industry to be shut down.

As SAFE has illustrated numerous times over the past year, the industry has proven time and time again that they cannot ensure the safety of the dogs they exploit. We are pleased the incoming Prime Minister has recognised this.

While this is incredibly exciting news, we cannot afford to become complacent. SAFE will continue to closely scrutinise the greyhound racing industry and hold the National Government accountable to their commitment.

Review of animal welfare legislation

In August 2023, the Regulations Review Committee* confirmed that there are issues with how some animal welfare legislation is developed. The Committee recommended that Government undertake an urgent and thorough review of secondary legislation** under the Animal Welfare Act***, including codes of welfare****.

The Committee’s recommendation comes in response to a report from the New Zealand Animal Law Association (NZALA) identifying over 50 deficiencies in the codes of welfare including the inhumane confinement of hens in colony cages and pigs in farrowing crates.

The Committee, chaired by National MP Judith Collins, was comprised of representatives from across the political spectrum. This was a positive signal that animal welfare ought to be treated as apolitical, and SAFE will push for this review to be progressed as a matter of priority.

Codes of welfare

Before Parliament dissolved prior to the general election, the code of welfare for pigs (you can find out more about what we fought for here) was awaiting sign-off with the Minister for Agriculture. The updated code, which will include new rules around the use of farrowing crates, is due for release in 2024. This came after SAFE and NZALA took the Government to court back in 2020, and the use of farrowing crates was deemed to contravene the Animal Welfare Act. More can be read about this issue here.

Consultation – meaning the draft code will be released for public comment – on a new rodeo code of welfare is scheduled to take place during 2024, as is the publication of an updated code of welfare for dairy cows.

Unfortunately, a review of the poultry codes of welfare, as well as a new code of welfare for farmed fishes, is long overdue for development by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC). Their delay means hundreds of millions of animals are suffering in unimaginable conditions that breach their legal rights under the Animal Welfare Act.

SAFE will continue to fight for these vulnerable animals by keeping the pressure on NAWAC, and the new Government, to progress these codes with urgency.


While the political climate has changed, SAFE’s mission to ensure the rights of animals are protected has not.

We will continue to work tirelessly to protect our precious animals.

What else you can do to help:

  • Regardless of which parties are in power, it remains clear that we cannot rely on Government alone to prioritise animal welfare. Aotearoa needs a strong, independent voice to fight for the rights of animals at the highest level. That is why SAFE is calling for a dedicated voice to represent You can find out more, and help us amplify the call for a Commissioner here.
  • Now more than ever, animals need us to continue working on their behalf to build a kinder, more compassionate future for them. Your support makes all the difference in helping us be a force for change.Make a gift for animals today.



* The Regulations Review Committee aims to ensure that rules and regulations are developed and applied fairly. They scrutinise secondary legislation and regulation-making powers, consider complaints from the public, and act as a kind of ‘watch-dog’ to hold the Executive branch of Government to account. The Committee is made up of representatives from across Parliament to ensure that their deliberations remain free of party-politics.


** Secondary legislation refers to rules and regulations which are made by people outside of Parliament under particular Acts. Secondary legislation typically aims to expand on laws under empowering Acts, particularly when it comes to how laws are implemented and applied in practice.


*** Read more about the Animal Welfare Act here.


**** Codes of Welfare are an example of secondary legislation which are developed under the Animal Welfare Act to establish practical guidelines for the care of animals. Codes of welfare outline minimum standards and best practice recommendations across different species and animal activities. The codes are intended to be flexible enough to be modified and improved in line with the evolving nature of scientific knowledge, technological advancements, and societal expectations. Codes of welfare are not directly enforceable, however failure to meet a relevant minimum standard in a code may be used as evidence in animal welfare prosecutions.


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As a charity, SAFE is reliant on the support of caring people like you to carry out our valuable work. Every gift goes towards providing education, undertaking research and campaigning for the benefit of all animals. SAFE is a registered charity in New Zealand (CC 40428). Contributions of $5 or more are tax-deductible.