Increased overseas demand for New Zealand's milk powder, butter and cheese helped increase business earnings for 2011.

Statistics New Zealand's annual enterprise survey showed total business income increased 4.7 per cent, to $575.4 billion, compared to 2010's 4.2 per cent decrease.

Income from goods and services increased by $23.2 billion, compared to 2010's $13.5 billion decrease.

Industry and labour statistics manager, Neil Kelly, said this was largely due to increased exports.


"The impact had flow on effects to agriculture, manufacturing and wholesale trade."

There was strong growth in both the manufacturing industry, 8.6 per cent, and the agriculture industry, 14 per cent. Leading to a combined $11.7 billion increase in both industries.

""Increases in most industries show that the New Zealand economy is recovering from its 2010 decline"

Despite the overall increase in income, financial and insurance services decreased by 2.2 per cent, $1.4 billion.

Total business spending increased by 7 per cent to $533.3 billion, compared to 2010's 7.0 per cent decrease.

The biggest contribution to this was the 9.2 per cent, or $29.8 billion, increase in purchases and other operating costs for 2011.Compared to a 3.8 per cent decrease in 2010.

The 2011 increase was due to a 72.6 per cent, $8.6 billion, increase in the public administration and safety industry caused by increased Canterbury Earthquake Commission claim liabilities.

The operating expenditure increase, decreased the surplus before income tax from $50.4 billion, 2010, to $44.4 billion.