Pipfruit New Zealand forecasts growth of 105 per cent in apple exports, meaning the industry is injecting record millions of dollars back into the local economy.
According to to the industry body, the 2016 export apple returns forecast for the joint regions is $457.7 million.
This is 105 per cent growth on the 2012 export figure, which the industry body places at $223.4 million.
Pipfruit NZ's chief executive Alan Pollard said New Zealand's apple industry was entering an extremely exciting time capturing significant growth, investment and profitability.
"It's great news for our apple-growing regions, injecting millions directly back into the local economies of Hawke's Bay, Nelson and Central Otago, Gisborne, Waikato, Wairarapa and South Canterbury," he said.
Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri said this growth was wonderful for the regions.
"Of course, anything that is going to grow our produce locally and increase the local economy needs to be applauded," she said.
"I support that, definitely."
Tukituki MP Craig Foss said this was great news for Hawke's Bay growers and our regional economy.
"More growth means more jobs for Hawke's Bay families," he said.
"Higher export returns have been made possible through access to more markets, including Taiwan and Korea."
His Napier counterpart, MP Stuart Nash, said the figures from Pipfruit NZ were tremendous.
"I think what they [growers] are doing here for the future of the pipfruit industry in Hawke's Bay is just fantastic," he said. "It is going from strength to strength."
Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said it was an amazing success story. "What we are dealing with now are the challenges of success," he said.
"So enough labour and enough logistics and cold storage to deal with the increased crop."
Central Hawke's Bay Mayor Peter Butler agreed that it was great news for the region.
He said one apple company alone was paying out millions of dollars into his district's economy.
"We don't want the thunderstorms for them, we don't want the hail for them - I just hope they have a great season," he said.
Pipfruit NZ chairwoman Nadine Tunley said pipfruit's ongoing record performance was extremely rewarding.
"It's an industry-wide effort and it's fantastic to see a new level of enthusiasm, which is attracting younger people wanting to work and study and build careers in horticulture, which is critical for our future," she said.
This was something Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce chief executive Wayne Walford could agree with.
"I think it offers more opportunity for career options for people in horticulture," he said.
He said this sort of mass growth in the industry would hopefully help people see clear career opportunities in Hawke's Bay horticulture and its supporting industries.
"It might help us to secure some of our young smart brains and keep them here," he said.
Nationally, the forecast of a record $700 million in export apple returns this year compares with $341 million in 2012 " an increase of 105 per cent in only four years, Pipfruit NZ reports.
Mr Pollard said with final crop estimates now in, the industry was expecting to produce 19.5 million export cartons for 2016 which is up 5.5 per cent on last year.
Based on market indicators, the industry is now forecasting export returns to top $700 million, compared with last season's bumper $630 million season.
"[This year] is likely to be the third back-to-back record export season for apples, and firmly cements New Zealand's apple industry's number one ranking in the world for international competitiveness.
"We are now well on track to achieving our $1 billion export earnings goal earlier than our 2022 target."
Looking to wine, exports nudged $1.5 billion which was 14 per cent up on 2014 with wine now New Zealand's sixth-largest export item.
"The continuing export growth is fantastic news and most of that is from the United States market," Hawke's Bay Wine chief executive James Medina said.
The US market had grown by 26 per cent - up to $430 million. "They like a more expensive wine, a fine wine, and that's all good because that suits Hawke's Bay."
He said it was difficult to put a firm dollar value on what it meant for the region as export figures were seen by many winemakers as commercially sensitive, but the figures would be in the tens of millions. Tukituki MP Craig Foss said the latest figures showed the Bay was clearly doing well in the marketplace.
"As the second-largest wine region in New Zealand we are benefiting from a bumper 2015," Mr Foss said.
He said Hawke's Bay exporters would benefit from two rounds of recent tariff cuts, and winegrowers had already benefited from the free-trade agreement with China.
"The Trans Pacific Partnership agreement will also promote more export opportunities," he said. "I can't see why the Labour Party would be against free trade and denying opportunities for Hawke's Bay businesses."
Ms Whaitiri refuted this, saying Labour was not opposed to tariff reductions in free-trade agreements.
She said she didn't believe New Zealand should be trading away our sovereign rights. "The sticking point or us is our sovereign rights to make our own domestic laws," she said.
"There is the fine line between growing industries without having to compromise our right to make our own domestic laws."
Mr Nash said he was a "huge supporter" of free trade, and echoed his colleagues' comments on the TPP.
"And trade is very, very valuable to the people of Hawke's Bay," he said.
"We absolutely support tariff reductions and anything that fosters trade is fantastic, but we do have major concerns about this particular trade deal."