New Zealand Industry

The manufacturing industry accounts for nearly half of New Zealand’s exports and employs a tenth of the labor force. Food production dominates, but important sectors are also the wood and pulp industry, machine manufacturing and metalworking and oil refining.

Processing of agricultural products is the largest sector, both in terms of turnover and number of employees. The Fonterra dairy giant, which is owned by approximately 13,000 farmers, is New Zealand’s largest company. Fonterra accounts for close to 90 percent of the country’s milk production and is the world’s largest exporter of dairy products. Fonterra was hit by a crisis in 2013 when about 1,000 tonnes of dairy products were recalled after warnings that they could contain a bacterium that causes the deadly disease botulism. After three weeks, it was clear that it was not about this bacterium, but the damage had already happened: the perception of New Zealand milk as clean and of the highest quality had been disrupted, including in the important Chinese market.

The timber and pulp industry has become increasingly important since the 1970s, when planted forest began to be ready for harvesting. Growing exports to China have boosted the forest industry in recent years.

Most industries are located in the area of ​​Auckland in the north, which is also a trade center. Most of the timber industry is in the north, as is the country’s only oil refinery and a steel industry, but at the far south is an aluminum smelter. The bauxite raw material is imported from Australia, and the smelter exports most of its production.

  • COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of New Zealand. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.

The industry has undergone major changes since the 1990s as a result of deregulation in business and industry. Many traditional factories have been competed out, and some companies have moved manufacturing to low-wage countries. At the same time, for example, the high-tech industry has grown significantly with, among other things, pharmaceuticals, computers and aircraft manufacturing.

New Zealand also has a number of specialized companies that manufacture, for example, pleasure hunts, mountain bikes and sports, camping and climbing equipment. Investments have also been made to develop biotechnology companies.

New Zealand



Mount Taranaki receives special legal status

December 22

Mount Taranaki, sacred to various Maori groups and viewed as an ancestor or family member, is given the status of its own legal entity by Parliament. Earlier in the year, the Whanganui River received the same recognition (see March 2017).

New law to stop greenhouse gases

December 18

The government announces that various sectors of society should be consulted in connection with the drafting of a new climate law. The law aims to stop greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and is scheduled to be submitted to Parliament in the autumn of 2018 to later lead to the establishment of an independent climate commission. One question that needs to be investigated is not least how the emissions in agriculture, which account for almost half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, can be reduced.


New Zealand is seeking refugee cooperation with Australia

November 17

New Zealand has had a standing offer to Australia since 2013 to receive 150 refugees from Australian refugee camps outside the country. In connection with the unrest on the island of Manus in Papua New Guinea (see Papua New Guinea: calendar), Prime Minister Ardern renews the offer. However, Australia has, as before, refused the proposal, citing that the United States has promised to welcome refugees from the camps.

Winter one month shorter by 100 years

November 10

A researcher at the National Institute for Research on Water and Atmosphere (Niwa) notes in a study that winters in New Zealand have been shortened by about a month since the early 1900s. Winter begins in June and lasts until the end of August.


NZF leader Peters becomes Foreign Minister

October 25th

Party leader for New Zealand First becomes both Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister in the new Labor-led coalition government. NZF receives three additional ministerial posts. Labor’s former party leader Andrew Little becomes Minister of Justice. The Green Party receives two ministerial posts that are outside the government, with party leader James Shaw as climate minister.

Labor forms government

October 19

Winston Peters, party leader for populist New Zealand first, announces that the party is choosing to support Jacinda Ardern and wants to form a coalition government with her Labor party. Peter’s party, with its 9 mandates, was given the opportunity to decide which party would govern the country – Labor or the Nationalist Party.


Even result in parliamentary elections

September 23

The Nationalist Party becomes the largest party with 46 percent of the vote in the parliamentary elections and 58 seats. Labor receives 36 percent of the vote and 45 seats. But none of the parties has enough mandates to control a majority of seats in Parliament and form government. New Zealand first gets 9 seats and the Green 7. Nationalist Party’s ally ACT New Zealand only gets 1 seat.


Labor takes the lead in opinion polls

August 31st

For the first time since 2006, Labor is getting better results in an opinion poll than the National Party. In the 1News − Colmar Brunton survey, Labor is two percentage points ahead of the ruling party. The growing electoral support is due to the charismatic new party leader Jacinda Ardern.

Australia’s Foreign Minister criticizes Labor

August 15th

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says it is difficult to have confidence in New Zealand Labor if it wins the parliamentary elections in September. The reason is the diplomatic dispute that arose after information that Labor in New Zealand helped the opposition party Labor in Australia get information that Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce also had New Zealand citizenship. It all sparked a scandal surrounding dual citizenship among politicians in Australia.

Ardern criticizes the issue of child leave

August 2

The new Labor leader Jacinda Ardern receives support from many residents, not least women, after being asked if she has any plans to raise more children if she were elected new prime minister. Ardern says it is unacceptable for women to get that kind of questions when they are looking for a new job.

Labor changes party leader

1 August

Andrew Little resigns as Labor leader and succeeds former Vice Party leader Jacinda Ardern. The change of leader takes place less than two months before the election and comes after three opinion polls that pointed to only 23-24 percent support for the dominant opposition party.


Rocket launch

May 25

A New Zealand-American company, Rocket Lab, is conducting a test of a rocket on the North Island. This is the first time such a test is being conducted in New Zealand. The company plans to launch more small rockets with space for satellites in space on a commercial basis. The New Zealand government hopes that the country will be able to become a successful space nation. The conditions are good with good shipping angles, good engineers and good visibility conditions.


The Whanganui River is given special status

March 16

A law is passed by Parliament that recognizes the Whanganui River as a living being with the same legal rights. Maoris from the w hanganui iwi tribe have for over 140 years strived for the river, which is seen as an ancestor, to receive such special status. The Maoris believe that they are part of the universe and one with all mountains, rivers and seas.


Parliamentary elections in September

February 1st

Prime Minister Bill English announces that parliamentary elections will be held on September 23, 2017. According to English, the Nationalist Party’s election campaign will focus on the good economic growth and the stable government that the party has been able to maintain during its time in power.

New Zealand Industry

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