3 Feb 2012

Government pushes for more Chinese investment

10:11 pm on 3 February 2012

The Economic Development Minister says New Zealand needs more investment from China, including in land and farms.

Steven Joyce's comment came as a new Government strategy called for increased investment between the two countries.

The strategy document was launched by Prime Minister John Key and China's ambassador to New Zealand, Xu Jianguo, at Auckland's waterfront on Friday morning.

Mr Joyce says New Zealand needs more foreign investment for a growing economy that raises living standards and produces jobs.

The Minister says recent examples of investment in farms from China will help achieve those goals.

He says the Government is happy to see what he describes as reasonable amounts of land sold to foreigners in the future.

The document says, given the amount of trade between the countries, investment by each in the other is low.

It says New Zealand would benefit from greater Chinese investment and the Government will take steps to get more of it.

Those steps include bolstering staff from the Government's inward investment agency at New Zealand's missions in China.

The strategy also reiterates both countries' aim of doubling trade to $20 billion by 2015 and increasing tourism by 60%.

It says the Treasury and the Reserve Bank will hold regular talks with their Chinese counterparts for the first time.

Stepping up of contact between political and business leaders will also be encouraged.

A veteran New Zealand investment banker based in China says the strategy falls short of what is needed.

Speaking from Beijing, David Mahon said if successful, the strategy could see big gains for New Zealand.

But Mr Mahon says what is really needed is for government agencies and businesses to work more closely to make headway in the massive Chinese market.

"We have an excellent political and diplomatic relationship. We've very very strong policy base for our dealings with China, and now what we have to try and do is to ensure that the New Zealand private sector accepts the challenge."

He says the sale of the Crafar family farms to a Chinese consortium would also add considerable value to New Zealand.