New Zealand is an island located in the Southwest region of the Pacific Ocean. Wellington is the capital city of the country. New Zealand has the 53rd largest economy globally regarding nominal GDP. New Zealand has a market economy, and the service sector makes up a large portion of the GDP. In 2013, the service sector contributed to 63% of the GDP. The economy is dependent on international trade with other countries. The biggest industries in New Zealand include the Agricultural and horticulture sector, mining, and fishing industries.
The agricultural sector is the largest industry in the country. Pastoral farming and horticulture make up the most of the agricultural sector. Beef cattle rearing is practiced in Northland while dairy farming is the main activity in the wetlands of Taranaki, Northland, Southland, Manawatu, and Waikato areas. Sheep farming is also practiced in many of the rural areas in the country, and the sheep are used for wool production and meat. Raw wool and wool products are exported. New Zealand produces 2.2% of the global milk output ranking it the 8th among the world’s largest milk producers. The biggest milk processor in the country is Fonterra, and it processes about 95% of the milk from the farms. Other big dairy companies include Synlait, Westland Milk Products, and Tatua Co-operative Dairy Company. The cattle in the country feed on grass though they are fed hay during winter. Deer farming has become popular through the years with the number of deer and deer farms growing. Venison is one of the country’s exports with New Zealand exporting the largest amount of farmed venison. Pigs and goat farming is also practiced but in smaller quantities. New Zealand is known worldwide for canned corned beef.
Horticulture in New Zealand makes up a big part of the agricultural sector. Most of the horticulturists major on fruits like peaches, plums, nectarines, drupe, cherries, and apricots. Cherries and apricots are grown in Otago and are mostly exported while the plums, nectarines, and peaches are grown for local consumption. The kiwifruit is the horticultural product with the highest export value in the country. New Zealand accounts for about a quarter of the world’s kiwifruit produce. Blackcurrants, grapes, and berries are also grown in the country. Grapes are grown in Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough, citrus fruits in Auckland, Gisborne, and Northland, and blackcurrants in Waikato, Tasman, Auckland, and Canterbury. The grapes produced are also used in the local wineries to make wine for export. Avocados are grown in the Bay of Plenty and Northland. In 2007, fresh fruit exports amounted to about $882 million while processed fruits amounted to $77 million. Wheat is grown in Canterbury for local consumption, and the by-products from the wheat are used as cattle feed. Barley is grown for malt and cattle feed, and it is at times exported depending on the market price. Apart from fruits, the other large horticultural export is fresh vegetables. A variety of vegetables are planted for both local use and export.
Forestry, though a small sector globally, contributes to 4% of the national GDP in New Zealand and timber accounts for a percentage of the exports in the agricultural sector. Plantation forests are located all around the country as the natural forests had started getting depleted. Australia imports a big chunk of timber from New Zealand which is mostly used by the paper-making industries. Other importers include the US, Japan, China, and South Korea.
New Zealand is rich in natural resources, and it has deposits of iron ore, silver, coal, gold, and limestone. The country ranks 22nd globally in iron ore production and 29th in gold production. The mineral produce in 2006, excluding oil and gas, totaled $1.5 billion. Silver, ironsand, and gold constitute the primary minerals in the country. In 2017, the mining industry contributed to 1.3% of the GDP. The coal mines in the country are located in Taranaki, Waikato, Southland, West Coast, and Otago. State-owned Solid energy is the biggest coal mining company, and about 80% of the coal reserves can be found in Southland. Gold was first discovered in the country in 1852, and this led to a gold rush in the 1860s. The amount of gold mined in New Zealand accounts for slightly under 1% of the global gold production. The gold mines can be found on the West Coast, Otago, and Coromandel. Ironsand is sand that is rich in iron. Ironsand is mainly used in the New Zealand Steel Mill based in Glenbrook. The Waikato North Head ironsand mine supplies the steel mill while other mines are located at Taharoa and the ironsand mined there is for export.
Fishing is one of the major industries in New Zealand, and their fishing territory is about 2.5 million square miles. The fishing zone is ranked sixth in size globally. Trout is one of the common fish caught in the country, and the fishing exports in 2006/2007 amounted to about 441,000 tones. There is fish farming in the country which began in the 1980s and oysters, salmon, and mussels are bred in the fish farms for export which earned the country a total of $226 million in 2006/2007. Seafood was ranked the fifth largest earner among the country’s exports. By 2000 New Zealand had begun exporting 90% of the fish caught in the country.
New Zealand’s Economy Today
New Zealand is a developed country, and its economy ranks first globally in social progression. The rate of corruption in the country is low. In the former years, New Zealand’s income levels used to be at par with and even above some of those in countries located in Western Europe but that changed after the 1970s. New Zealand’s economy faced a hard blow in 1973 when Britain, its largest export market, decided to join the European Economic Community. Despite recessions, New Zealand’s economy is still doing well. The unemployment rate in the country has been fluctuating since the 1970s with times when it is high and when it goes back to low, and it stood at 5.4% in 2014
What are the Biggest Industries in New Zealand?
The agricultural sector is the largest industry in New Zealand. Horticulture, forestry, and mining are other large industries.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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