By 3 News online staff
A drop in exports to China has closed the gap between the dairy sector and tourism as New Zealand's biggest earners.
New figures from Statistics New Zealand today show the country earned $2.3 billion more than was spent during the year ended June 2015.
Dairy remains New Zealand's biggest export commodity, though the $12 billion figure is less than the $15.8 billion in the same period in 2014.
In comparison, spending by international visitors increased by $2.4 billion to reach $11.7 billion for the year.
Stats NZ international statistics senior manager Jason Attewell says there hasn't been a change in what New Zealand's cash cows are.
"A fall in dairy exports to China, combined with the increase in expenditure by overseas visitors to New Zealand, has narrowed the gap between the two," he says.
More than a third of total spend by international visitors were from Australians and those from the European Union (EU), who forked out $2.3 billion and $2.1 billion respectively.
New Zealand imported more from the EU than it exported which resulted in a $3.4 billion trade deficit. Accounting for $11.5 billion of spending, the EU is the largest source of imported goods and services for New Zealand.
Cars from Japan and the EU remain the two largest imports by country.
In total, New Zealand spent $65.1 billion on imports while total exports of goods and services were worth $67.5 billion.