4 Aug 2009

PM signals changes to encourage Australian investment

5:17 pm on 4 August 2009

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has flagged a change to overseas investment rules to encourage more investment from Australia.

Mr Key is on his way to Cairns for a meeting of Pacific Island Forum leaders which begins on Wednesday.

During a stopover in Brisbane on Tuesday, Mr Key delivered a speech to a business leaders' forum at Queensland University about the importance of strong trans-Tasman relations.

He told the audience that the recession has given New Zealand and Australia the opportunity to explore new ways of doing business.

Mr Key has previously announced a review of overseas investment rules which may see the threshold for approval lifted from the current level of $100 million.

He says raising the threshold even higher for Australian investors is likely to happen.

Radio New Zealand political staff say the threshold for Australia could raised as high as $200 million.

Forum to focus on recession

How Pacific countries are coping with the global recession will be a main focus of the forum.

Pacific leaders will receive a report produced by New Zealand and Australia, which makes recommendations on weathering the economic downturn.

Fiji will also feature at the meeting. Melanesian leaders recently expressed concern about Fiji's apparent exclusion from upcoming regional trade talks.

However, New Zealand says it makes sense for Fiji to be included and that will be made clear to other forum leaders.

Fiji suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum on 1 May and also faces suspecision from the Commonwealth.