The debate over access to New Zealand's mineral wealth may prove the deciding factor for Australian mining companies as they eye opportunities here, Prime Minister John Key said yesterday.
Australian mining industry chiefs have said the federal government's proposed 40 per cent tax on mining firms' so-called "super" profits from 2012 will see less investment in mining projects in Australia.
West Australian iron ore producer Fortescue Metals Group said it would increasingly focus on offshore assets as a result of the new tax.
Fortescue's NZ subsidiary FMG Pacific has two prospecting permits for just over 12,000sq km of North Island coastline including from North Cape to just south of Auckland.
Mr Key said he had seen reports the proposed tax on Australian mining companies would make New Zealand more attractive as a mining destination, "but in the end there's a lot of different factors, including fundamentally whether you have the resource and whether you can access it and that's of course part of the debate we're having at the moment".