Resumption of the live animal export trade by the Ministry for Primary Industries has been welcomed by farmers, but animal rights groups are not so happy.
Rules governing the export of live animals by ship will be toughened up by MPI, following the release of a report done for the ministry by Mike Heron QC.
That report was commissioned after the Gulf Livestock 1 sank in the East China Sea.
Forty three crew, including two New Zealanders, were lost, as were nearly 6000 head of cattle.
Animal Genetics Trade Association (AGTA) said allowing live exports meant farmers could continue to benefit from strong international demand for breeding stock.
Currently 24,000 cattle supplied by New Zealand farmers were in pre-export isolation waiting to be exported, AGTA said.
The cattle would be exported on four consignments to China as soon as possible, according to AGTA spokesman David Hayman.
"The decision means there's vital export earnings in time for Christmas. We can resume the trade and pay farmers for the beef and dairy cattle they have ready to sell. There's close to $200 million in contracts to close between now and December and we now have confidence to fulfil them."
Hayman said that suspending farmers' ability to sell their livestock to export was stressful, as many were dealing with a bad drought year and uncertain markets "leading into an impending historic economic recession".
Meanwhile, animal rights organisation SAFE said the new requirements were "tinkering around the edges".
"It's important to note that these animals will eventually be slaughtered in their destination, potentially by methods that have been outlawed in New Zealand," SAFE chief executive Debra Ashton said.
Ashton, who took part in the review, said SAFE was "seriously concerned about what will happen to these animals in the destination country, and these recommendations won't change that."
MPI had yet to release its broader review into the live export trade, which Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor ordered in June 2019, Ashton said.
She believed action on live exports was long overdue and called on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to intervene.
"The new, Labour led government will be completely misreading the mood of the nation if they don't ban live export."