Industrial action at the Ports of Auckland affected more than a quarter of exporters in New Zealand's biggest city, some companies losing $250,000 as a result of the dispute, a survey says.

Early this year the council-owned port was beset by months of strikes by staff unhappy over pay and conditions.

The ExportNZ 2012 Survey, which canvassed 169 New Zealand exporters, says 28 per cent of Auckland respondents were affected by the problems at the port.

"Dollar figure losses [as a result of the dispute] ranged from $5000 to $250,000, with one respondent having lost $4000 a week," the survey said.


But the survey also said that despite a stubbornly strong kiwi dollar and continuing volatility in the global economy, the majority of local exporters were in a positive frame of mind.

Just over half of the respondents said they expected profitability to improve over the next year and close to 36 per cent expected to employ more staff.

Almost 20 per cent of respondents expected orders to increase substantially in the next 12 months, while 48.8 per cent expected orders to rise slowly, the survey said.

The New Zealand dollar, which has traded at an average rate of US80.30c against the greenback in the year to date, was trading at US78.28c last night.