National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC)

This committee has been established under the Animal Welfare Act to provide independent advice to the Minister for Primary Industries on.

The committee plays an important role in the development and establishment of codes of welfare and produces various information materials including a booklet on how to write codes: Guidelines for Writing Codes of Welfare Link to PDF document (427 KB).

NAWAC updates its work programme once per year. You can read the 2014 work programme here Link to PDF document (124 KB).

A full list of NAWAC’s functions can be found under section 57 (offsite link to of the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

From time to time NAWAC publishes guidelines which set out the principles and procedures by which it operates. These guidelines are not intended as a legal interpretation of the Animal Welfare Act 1999 and are updated in light of experience gained by NAWAC during its deliberations.

NAWAC is an invited observer of the European Forum of Animal Welfare Councils (EuroFAWC). EuroFAWC (offsite link to aims to promote sound scientific and ethical advice about animal welfare. It provides a platform for debate, for sharing information and views , and a network for members of the Animal Welfare Councils throughout Europe.

NAWAC holds four ordinary meetings per year. Meeting summaries can be found at:

In addition, NAWAC produces an annual report and these can be found at:


Members of NAWAC are chosen on the basis of their expertise. They may be nominated by a relevant organisation but do not represent the nominating organisation on the committee. Forthcoming vacancies will also be advertised on MPI’s website at (offsite link to and at (offsite link to (Boards and Governance).

The Minister for Primary Industries appoints each member, and the committee comprises:

There is a range of skills needed to be a member of NAWAC and knowledge and experience is needed in:

  • 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;
  • public interest in respect of animals;
  • environmental and conservation management;
  • any other area that the Minister considers relevant.

The committee's current membership is as follows:

  • Dr Kathryn B Bicknell BSc, PhD, Senior Lecturer in Economics, Lincoln University (independent appointment)
  • Ms Susan (Sue) E Brown CA, BBS, Chartered Accountant (nominated by the Ministry of Women's Affairs)
  • Mrs Ingrid N Collins MNZM, Chief Executive/Owner Three Rivers Medical (nominated by Te Puni Kokiri)
  • Dr Penelope M Fisher BSc, MApplSc, PhD, Wildlife Toxicologist & Research Leader, Landcare Research NZ Ltd (nominated by Landcare Research NZ Ltd)
  • Dr John S Hellström ONZM, BVSc PhD, Director Biosecurity Ltd (independent chairperson)
  • Ms Katrina (Katie) S Milne Farmer, National Board Member Federated Farmers (nominated by Federated Farmers of New Zealand)
  • Dr David R Scobie BAgSc (Hons), PhD, scientist (nominated by the New Zealand Society of Animal Production)
  • Mr Alan J Sharr CA (PP), DTM, MInstD, Principal, Marriotts Chartered Accountants (independent appointment)
  • Dr Julie C Wagner BVSc, veterinarian (nominated by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs)
  • Dr Virginia M Williams BVSc, MACVSc, DipProfEthics, (chairperson of the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee).


Operational research

MPI is responsible for providing the Minister for Primary Industries with policy advice on a wide range of issues.

A function of the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) is to recommend areas where research into the welfare of animals is required.

Sound policy advice requires robust data. Where there is a lack of suitable information MPI may seek to contract a research group to provide it. This type of research – to develop and implement policy – is known as “operational research”.

Page last updated: 19 December 2014