Agriculture has traditionally been the mainstay of the economy, although it now employs only 10% of the population, while services and industry make up a much greater percentage of the gross domestic product. The agricultural sector has diversified from a reliance on sheep raising to such additional enterprises as dairying, forestry, and horticulture. Wheat, barley, potatoes, pulses, fruits, and vegetables are grown; wool, beef, lamb, mutton, and fish are additional agricultural products. The mining sector produces coal, gold, iron, and natural gas. There is extensive food processing and wood and paper products, textiles, machinery, and transportation equipment are manufactured. Banking, insurance, and tourism are also important. Beginning in the 1980s, New Zealand transformed its highly protected and regulated economy into one that was much more privatized, market oriented, and deregulated. The principal exports are dairy products, meat, wood and wood products, fish, and machinery. Imports include machinery and equipment, vehicles, aircraft, petroleum, electronics, textiles, and plastic. The main trading partners are Australia, the United States, Japan, and China.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.