The contribution of manufacturing to the New Zealand economy has halved over the last 40 years, according to a report from the government statistics agency Wednesday.
The Statistics New Zealand report charting the country's transformation from a manufacturing to a services-oriented economy said the decline in manufacturing mirrored the changes in other developed economies.
The 1980s saw the dismantling of trade and tariff barriers that had protected New Zealand manufacturers from foreign competition, while other market reforms "threw the economy wide open."
"As a result, manufacturing steadily declined as a proportion of New Zealand's GDP. Forty years ago, manufacturing made up 26 percent of GDP. In 2009, this industry made up 13 percent of GDP," said the report.
"Among manufacturers, the biggest drops in contribution were in petroleum, chemical, polymer and rubber product manufacturing ( decreasing 3 percent); followed by food, beverage and tobacco product manufacturing (decreasing 2 percent); and textile, leather, clothing and footwear (decreasing 2 percent)."
New Zealand fitted the pattern of the economies of the 34 Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, which were manufacturing fewer goods and providing more services.
The contribution of primary industries -- including agriculture, fishing, forestry and mining-- to GDP also decreased, from 12 percent in 1972 to 8 percent in 2009, mainly due to the ending of government subsidies and tax breaks in the 1980s.
"New Zealand has been promoted as a major world food exporter. Our statistics show that agriculture's relative contribution to GDP decreased significantly, from 10 percent in 1972 to 4 percent in 2009," said the report.
The GDP contribution of finance, insurance and business services had risen the most, moving from 15 percent in 1972 to 29 percent in 2009.
The professional, scientific and technical businesses had steadily increased from 2 percent in 1972 to 7 percent in 2009.
The contribution made by the distribution, accommodation, transport and communications industries had fallen from 24 percent in 1972 to 19 percent in 2009.
Retail trade, accommodation and food services had fallen by 3 percent; wholesale trade fell less the 1 percent; transport, postal, and warehousing decreased almost 2 percent; and information media and telecommunications remained steady.
Healthcare and social assistance's contribution to GDP roughly doubled from 3 percent in 1972 to 6 percent in 2009.