Primary industries remain the backbone of New Zealand’s economy, with farming, fisheries, forestry, horticulture and viticulture directly or indirectly providing three-quarters of our export earnings.

New Zealand First is firmly committed to supporting the primary sector and our heartland communities who create most of our wealth.  

Primary production depends not only on crop, livestock and dairy farmers or on orchardists and grape growers, but also on the provincial towns and rural communities which support them. Fuel, transport, engineering, machinery and equipment, suppliers of work wear and chemical products, stock food, fertilizer, irrigation, and many other vital supplies, as well as workers and their families, are essential to the infrastructure which makes our primary sector possible and viable.

New Zealand First understands first-hand the demands of life in the provinces and the challenges of remoteness which they bring. We recognize that many things which city people take for granted are not always readily available in rural New Zealand.

Sensible primary production policy must therefore take account of the needs of provincial people who operate in support of farmers and growers, as well as the direct agricultural sector itself. This includes workers and contractors in sawmills, freezing works, dairy factories, processing plants and other provincial industries on which the Heartland depends.

New Zealand First will:

  • Introduce a system of Managed Float Control of the exchange rate, as is very successfully employed by Singapore. This will ensure a certain and equitable trading environment for our producers and exporters.  
  • End land sales to foreign interests and introduce policies to ensure the retention of the farming sector in the ownership of New Zealand resident farmers.
  • Properly resource government scientific agencies and assistance to industry groups to ensure that Research and Development continues to provide our farmers and other primary producers with a cutting edge advantage over competitors.
  • Provide assistance to the farming sector in continuing to promote environmental sustainability.  
  • Give full resourcing for Biosecurity at all our ports of entry to protect against potentially devastating pests, diseases and biological organisms.
  • Provide active support for exporters in gaining fair access to overseas markets and in growing and promoting value-added New Zealand branded products.
  • Encourage the processing of raw materials in New Zealand rather than exporting them in the form of bulk commodities.
  • Provide proper and adequate resourcing to provincial road and rail infrastructure to ensure that farmers and other primary producers can easily and efficiently transport stock and produce to processing plants and to air and sea ports.
  • Recognize and resource vital rural infrastructure such as roads, schools, healthcare, cellphone coverage, reliable electricity supply and broadband.
  • Commit to supporting the primary sector, and the rural and provincial communities on whom our farmers depend.
  • Assist the farming sector to continue enhancing environmental sustainability, and support on-going development of sustainably managed irrigation schemes.


New Zealand First believes that going fishing is a birthright for New Zealanders. In addition, our Exclusive Economic Zone, with the fisheries resource it contains, is one of this country’s most valuable assets. New Zealand First’s Fishing Policy aims to sustainably manage all aspects of saltwater fishing, to preserve the right and ability of New Zealanders to enjoy sport fishing and to catch food from the ocean, and to maximize the fishing industry’s returns to New Zealand in terms of jobs, wealth, and export earnings. The Quota Management System has worked well, but there is still scope for improvement.

New Zealand First’s Fisheries Policy is guided by a small number of simple fundamental drivers which are intended to ensure sustainability, fairness, and maximum return, from the management of our fisheries.

In order to guarantee these outcomes, fisheries management needs to ensure:

  • Best practice science and stock monitoring in support of sustainable harvest or Total Allowable Catch.
  • The accurate determination of customary and Recreational Fishers’ actual and reasonable needs, based on reliable surveys, and priority given to  recreational and customary fishers’ allowance from maximum sustainable harvest, ahead of any commercial quota allocation.
  • The determination of the limit of a recreational inshore fishery and the exclusion of trawling and other bulk commercial fishing methods within that determined inshore limit.
  • The exclusion of all bulk commercial fishing methods from areas of high juvenile abundance and the preservation of existing marine reserves and species protection areas.
  • Consistent minimum legal size for recreational and commercial fishers  and restrictions on commercial net size and type to ensure compliance with those parameters.
  • The reliable and accurate monitoring of commercial boat operations and locations, and the prohibition of dumping.
  • That there be no licencing system for recreational saltwater fishers, and that the status of existing game species is to be preserved.
  • That all fish caught in New Zealand waters are to be landed and processed in New Zealand. This includes territorial waters and the EEZ, and applies to local, foreign, and foreign charter vessels.


Sustainable management of our precious marine resources is essential. Our prime inshore stocks have been under pressure for a long time. New Zealand First will ensure modern stock targets are set to restore stocks were necessary. Best practice science and stock monitoring needs to be supported by adequate resources and clear government standards.  


One of the most important and fundamental foundations of our society is the right of people to catch food from the wild. The people of New Zealand and the needs of future generations will come first when setting allowances based on reliable surveys.  No-one wants to deny the commercial fishing industry the right to earn an honest living, but the fishery belongs to the nation as a whole and the needs of ordinary people must come first.


The extent of the inshore fishery will be determined by region through consultation with interest groups, but it is envisaged that in most regions it will typically be to the 12-mile territorial limit. In some regions a depth limit such as the 100m line may be more appropriate than a distance limit. This inshore fishery must be the primary preserve of recreational fishers. Commercial fishers will be compensated for the loss of access to the inshore fishery.

No trawling will be permitted in the inshore fishery and no commercial catch from the inshore fishery will be allowed to be exported.

Where commercial fishing inshore is required in order to supply local trade (for example coastal set netting for flat fish) this must be only in designated areas and only by approved methods.


To ensure sustainability, fish populations must be allowed to breed without interference. Areas and seasons when target fish species are spawning must be identified and the risk of disrupting spawning activity assessed and avoided in those areas during those times. Restrictions on certain types of fishing activities in determined areas will ensure that marine reserves and endangered species are protected.


Target fish species must have both a minimum and a maximum allowable catch size determined as necessary and appropriate. Juvenile fish must be allowed to grow to maturity, and the biggest and oldest fish which are the best breeders must be preserved so that populations can continue to regenerate. Size limits promote best use of the resource and must be the same for both recreational and commercial fishers.

Modern methods and technologies such as those required by the European Union, including smart nets which allow small fish to escape and restrictions on certain types of nets and certain types of trawling, will be hazed in to minimize the number of under and over-sized fish being caught.

The exclusion of trawling from the inshore fishery will help to ensure that a much greater proportion of fish available to commercial fishers beyond the 12-mile line are above minimum legal size, assisting with selectivity.


Observers on large fishing vessels will be augmented with video surveillance and GPS monitoring on all commercial fishing vessels, to ensure that quota and regulations are adhered to by commercial fishers. This will safeguard both the inshore fishery and fish breeding grounds against any potential illegal commercial fishing activity.

Schedule 6 will be abolished and all dumping of fish or parts of fish at sea by commercial fishers will be prohibited, as has been proven to be effective by the highly successful Icelandic fishing industry. All fish caught must be returned to port, to prevent wastage and to ensure compliance with quota and size regulations.
Commercial fishers will be incentivized as well as regulated to ensure maximum compliance with quota, size and selectivity requirements.


Fishing is important to a wide cross section of New Zealanders. New Zealand First will ensure that there will be no saltwater fishing licensing system put in place.  Our sport fisheries will be maintained and promoted as world class.

In addition, the value of the recreational  fishing sector, including sport fishing, to New Zealand, as a source of foreign exchange from across the entire tourism industry and as a measure of economic activity generated by the involvement of more than 25 per cent of the population in recreational fishing needs to be fully realized and maximized.

Suppliers of everything from boats and trailers, to tackle and bait, to accommodation, fuel, charter operations and many other requirements, derive a significant income from the activity of sport fishing. It is a major contributor to the economics of many coastal towns and communities and must be safeguarded.


All fish caught in New Zealand waters, both territorial and the EEZ, by New Zealand, foreign, or Foreign Charter vessels, must be landed in New Zealand and any higher value processing must be carried out in New Zealand. The greatest part of the value of the fishery is in processed and finished products.

New Zealand First is committed to maximizing the returns to New Zealand industry and the New Zealand economy, by ensuring that jobs are created in this country and that export earnings from this immensely valuable resource deliver as much as is possible to New Zealand. New Zealand First supports moves to require all vessels fishing in New Zealand territorial and economic zone waters to be New Zealand flagged, and we aim to require and encourage maximum achievable crewing rates by New Zealand citizens and permanent residents.


New Zealand’s plantation forests are a major store of wealth and a significant source of revenue for our country. Generations of taxpayers have invested a great deal into growing the forestry sector over many decades, alongside farm foresters and other private entrepreneurs in more recent times. New Zealand First policy is to maximize the returns to New Zealand as a whole from this vital sector, through employment opportunities, training, ancillary and support industries, processing and manufacturing, and export earnings.

As with any Primary industry, the greatest part of the value of the forestry is not in bulk commodities in the form of raw logs, but rather in the processed products, such as pulp and paper, sawn timber, plywood, particle board, MDF, beams and other laminates. Manufacturing these products in New Zealand provides the economy with jobs and wages as well as value-added export receipts.

Wood and wood products are sustainable and versatile building materials which are in high demand in world markets, and being lighter and more flexible than concrete or steel, provide a valuable safer option for an earthquake-prone country like New Zealand.

Planting and harvesting a forest is a high value, slow return, long-term investment. The benefits of this highly sustainable industry to the nation are both tangible and intangible, and include amenity value and direct benefits for tourism. Forestry and forest products have proven over time to be profitable prior to the presence of a global trade in carbon credits, and New Zealand’s regulatory framework must not work against that profitability in this regard.

We must ensure that replanting harvested forests is not discouraged by adopting internationally-driven climate policies which put New Zealand producers at a material disadvantage, in spite of non-participation in such schemes by competitor nations.

New Zealand First will:

  • Institute a Minimum Domestic Log Price to discourage the export of raw logs. This will ensure that local sawmills have access to sufficient supplies, and further encourage the  processing of timber and wood products in New Zealand.
  • Implement a regulatory and taxation regime which recognizes the long-term nature of returns from forest plantings, and further incentivises both replanting, and local manufacturing of finished products.
  • Encourage the use of wood and wood products in building through Buy New Zealand-made for Government procurement, and other initiatives intended to maximize sustainability and returns to the domestic economy.
  • Maximize New Zealand ownership of forests through restrictions on overseas ownership of lands and cutting rights.
  • Delay the imposition of any form of Carbon Tax or Emissions Trading Scheme on our primary producers and processors until such time as our major trading partners have implemented their own such measures.


New Zealand First understands that some benefits are made possible by GM/GE procedures which are otherwise unobtainable. These include medical benefits and the creation of plant strains able to withstand certain environmental conditions or which have resistance to various pests and diseases.
However we do not support the trialling of GM/GE crops or other plants in the field, as there may be downstream consequences which are unknown and irreversible. GM/GE plants which have been proven safe under controlled conditions may be permitted for proliferation in New Zealand under certain circumstances.

New Zealand First’s approach to GM/GE is therefore to proceed with extreme caution, and only under secure confined laboratory conditions.

Richard Prosser on this policy

"Primary production depends not only on crop, livestock and dairy farmers or on orchardists and grape growers, but also on the provincial towns and rural communities which support them. Fuel, transport, engineering, machinery and equipment, suppliers of work wear and chemical products, stock food, fertilizer, irrigation, and many other vital supplies, as well as workers and their families, are essential to the infrastructure which makes our primary sector possible and viable. New Zealand First understands first-hand the demands of life in the provinces and the challenges of remoteness which they bring. We recognize that many things which city people take for granted are not always readily available in rural New Zealand."