Chinese investors are interested in the West Coast.

A newly formed group, NZ China Exchange Incorporated (NZCE), wanted to send a delegation to the Coast and the Coast to send a delegation to China, said Buller Mayor Garry Howard.

The Chinese wanted local mayors to lead the China delegation of Coast business people, Howard said.

If the proposal came off, he expected businesses would pay their own way and ratepayers would fund the mayors' trip.


Howard and Westland Mayor Bruce Smith were among about 150 people at NZCE's official launch in Christchurch three weeks ago.

A delegation representing Chinese investors came to Hokitika last Thursday to meet the three Coast mayors.

"They were specifically looking at what sort of projects were available on the West Coast and how could we strengthen our relationship," Mr Howard said.

The mayors had agreed their councils would consider a memorandum of understanding, on working with the NZCE to promote investment on the Coast.

The councils would also look at the relationship the Coast might have with a Chinese city, he said.

"I do not think it's sustainable for one council to have a sister city relationship and be able to do it. But I think combined with three districts it's something that very much may be possible and very beneficial for the West Coast."

NZCE was interested in both business and cultural exchange, Mr Howard said.

"Of course they are after investment and return. But they're wanting it to be beneficial to the communities as a whole."


He had pitched three businesses seeking venture capital to NZCE in the form of a brochure 'Invest West'.

They were Waste Energy WC, CerebralFix and Skilitics.

"Those are three examples, but we were saying in the longer term we would like to look at what could potentially enhance our tourism industry."

Waste Energy WC is looking at establishing a waste-to-energy plant in Buller and Cerebral Fix is a digital games company operating from Epic Westport.

Skilitics, which operates from Epic Christchurch, offers digital learning. Mr Howard would like to attract the company to Westport.

He said he was looking for other "reliable, sound business investment packages" that might attract the Chinese investors to the West Coast.

NZCE aims to foster better relationships between New Zealand and China in trade, culture and arts, bringing in groups from China to explore opportunities in the various sectors in New Zealand.

- Westport News