Fruit growers and dairy farmers say a shortage of workers will hamper agriculture's role in reviving a punch-drunk economy.
Yesterday New Zealand went officially into its first recession in a decade - gross domestic product shrunk 12.2 per cent in the three months to June.
While the country's growth as a whole took a huge tumble agriculture, forestry, and fishing almost continued as normal.
One estimate says that New Zealand is 60,000 workers short this season for fruit picking.
Yummy Apples general manager Paul Paynter told RNZ's Katie Doyle that rural industry needs shielding.