Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

China laying down 'clear challenge' to NZ sovereignty - Greens

Jia Qinglin.  Photo / AP
Jia Qinglin. Photo / AP

The Green Party says an opinion piece by China's fourth ranked leader, Jia Qinglin, in newspapers today puts pressure on the New Zealand government to loosen investment rules.

Co-leader Russel Norman said: "The Chinese Government has laid down a clear challenge to the sovereignty of the New Zealand Government, no less than the United States challenge over nuclear weapons in the 1980s,'' Dr Norman said.

"The only question is whether this National Government has the courage to say no.''

Mr Jia, who will be at the Beehive this afternoon, called for New Zealand to provide a policy environment to make Chinese investment in New Zealand easier.

Mr Jia did not specifically mention the bid by Shanghai Pengxin for 16 Crafar farms in receivership, which is awaiting another ministerial decision, having been approved by ministers and then knocked back by the High Court.

But he said: "China also encourages capable and credible Chinese companies to invest in New Zealand.

"We hope New Zealand will provide them with an enabling policy environment and facilitate Chinese investment so as to scale up two-way investment and achieve all-round and balanced growth in our business ties.''

Dr Norman said the visit and the opinion piece "places enormous pressure on the ministers currently involved in making the final decision on the Crafar farms deal.''

Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson and Associate Finance Minister Jonathan Coleman will make the decision after receiving more information from the Overseas Investment Office.

Mr Jia is the highest-ranking visitor from China since Vice-President Xi Jinping's visit in July 2010, notable for a scuffle between his security and Dr Norman over the display of a Tibetan flag.

Mr Jia's visit marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and China.

In 2009 the Spanish National Court indicted Mr Jia along with former President Jian Zemin, Luo Gan, Bo Xilai, and Lu Guanzheng with crimes of torture and genocide against Falun Gong.

- NZ Herald

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