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Current as of 18/09/14 06:20AM NZST

Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Key will woo China's mothers as well as its leaders

John Key's office has so far refused to confirm whether he is likely to meet a representative from Oravida, the company at the centre of Justice Minister Judith Collins' conflict of interest issues. Photo / Dean Purcell
John Key's office has so far refused to confirm whether he is likely to meet a representative from Oravida, the company at the centre of Justice Minister Judith Collins' conflict of interest issues. Photo / Dean Purcell

When Prime Minister John Key heads off to China tonight, it will be as much about talking to China's mothers as talking to its leaders.

Mr Key's schedule includes numerous interviews with Chinese media in an effort to speak more directly to the consumers in China after Fonterra's botulism scare last August.

"We are going to use the hiccup of a false reading in 2013 and turn that into an attempt to demonstrate it actually shows how clear, transparent and responsive our system is."

He will give that message to Premier Li Keqiang tomorrow and President Xi Jinping on Wednesday.

He said consumer demand did not appear to be hit. "But I don't think it's unhelpful to have that meeting."

Fonterra's chairman, John Wilson, will also be in Beijing but declined to give media interviews before leaving.

Mr Key will also be able to hold up the recent charges laid against Fonterra for its breaches of food safety regulations as evidence the Government has taken action.

Mr Key's office has so far refused to confirm whether he is likely to meet a representative from Oravida, the company at the centre of Justice Minister Judith Collins' conflict of interest issues. Many New Zealand companies have been invited to a function for New Zealand exporters and their Chinese clients.

Mr Key said the function in Beijing was to help promote those firms, their presence in China and to reinforce the Government's message about its processes to their Chinese clients.

He said the trip had the wider benefit of strengthening relations with China's leaders. He has met them four times in the past year.

- NZ Herald

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