New Zealand is two large islands in the South Pacific thousands of kilometres from any neighbours. It is relatively free from pests and diseased that plague fruits and vegetables grown on much larger continents.
The biological isolation also raises opportunities for selective importations or biological controls for existing pests and diseases. When this is done successfully it remove the need for chemical of physical control methods. Therefore New Zealand has an international reputation for producing safe, high quality produce because growers have proactively set up initiatives demanding accountability and environmental best practice. Horticulture New Zealand is the top industry organisation that works along side many other industry groups such as: asparagus, avocados, blackcurrants, blueberries, boysenberries, citrus, buttercup squash, feijoas(pineapple guava), fresh tomatoes, kiwiberry, kiwifruit, nashi (Asian pear), onions, passionfruit, persimmons, pip fruit (apples and pears), potatoes, processed vegetables, strawberries, summer fruit, tamarillos(tree tomato) and vegetables.
Wine has grown from a domestic only industry to become the export leader in just 25 years and in the past decade it has added $ 1 billion to annual horticultural sector export earnings. In addition domestic wine sales are more than $750 million. The kiwifruit industry has more than double its production in the past 15 years, from under 50 million tray equivalents to over 100 million. The biggest export market is Japan, followed by Europe and then China.
New Zealand developed the Recognised Seasonal Employer programme in 2009 which enables New Zealand horticulture and viticulture producers to bring workers from the Pacific Islands to work at peak times when there are not enough Kiwi workers or travellers available to do jobs such as picking, packing and pruning. The migrant worker scheme has been very successful and is described by the World Bank as “best practice” for a foreign worker scheme. The RSE programme has given much needed income to Pacific Island communities and developed individual worker skills.