2015 Big Picture

Light Breakfast and Scene-Setting: Big Picture for the Summit

Fran O’Sullivan (Co-chair), Managing Director, NZ INC.
Michael Barnett (Co-chair), CEO, Auckland Chamber of Commerce

The 2015 China Business Summit was opened by Fran O’Sullivan and Michael Barnett who set the agenda for the discussions ahead:

  • What will be the nature and scale of the opportunity for New Zealand businesses in China moving forwards?
  • What will the ‘game changers’ be in capitalising on this opportunity?
  • What can New Zealand businesses do to be game changers?

Prime Minister, John Key addressed the Summit with positive messages about the China-New Zealand relationship. “China is a great market, and is a massive success story” said Key. He recognised it is important as country to have as much diversification as possible and is working on diversifying the opportunities for New Zealand companies.

John Key reinforced the joint goal by the New Zealand and Chinese Governments to increase bilateral trade with China to $30bn by 2020.

An issue that recently raised a great deal of controversy has been the Government’s rejection of the sale of Lochinver Station to Shanghai Pengxin.

Key said political reasons meant that “we are stuck with the Overseas Investment Act whether we like it or not in its current form, but within that there’s a lot we can do.” Essentially, National does not have enough support in parliament to change the legislation.

He acknowledged that foreign investors are facing delays in having their applications assessed at the Overseas Investment Office, and said that fees would be raised to enable the Office to increase staffing to accelerate the approval process.

The Prime Minister assured the audience that political reasons were not behind the Lochinver decision.

His Excellency Wang Lutong, Ambassador to New Zealand, then provided insights on the China-New Zealand relationship from a China perspective. Ambassador Wang commented that New Zealand is expected to be the first developed country to update its Free Trade Agreement with China.

Questions for our readers:

  • What more could be done to seize the moment?
  • What will it take to increase bilateral trade with China to $30bn by 2020?