Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says manufacturing has been struggling for a decade and he rejects opposition accusations that the sector is in crisis.
Latest business figures from Statistics New Zealand reveal the number of manufacturing companies fell in the year to the end of February.
It is the sixth consecutive year that the number has fallen.
Mr Joyce said the Government is doing what it can to help manufacturing by introducing policies aimed at making firms more competitive.
Manufacturing still remains the largest employer in New Zealand, employing 227,000 people. Mr Joyce says the sector has started to add new jobs in the past two years.
But Labour and the Greens say more needs to be done.
They would change monetary policy to help take pressure off the dollar and introduce a capital gains tax to discourage investment in property.
However, Labour economic development spokesperson David Cunliffe acknowledges that manufacturing struggled during Labour's term in office as well.