A survey shows that New Zealanders are concerned about investment generally, but less so if the investment regime is seen to be careful and deliberate about the sort of investment New Zealand wants.

The survey 'Understanding Chinese Investment in New Zealand', was carried out by the New Zealand China Council, and discussed on the latest 'On the Map' podcast.

Listen to the full podcast here

Public support is important says Stephen Jacobi, but we have to be realistic that it's getting harder to attract foreign investment here.

"New Zealand is a long way from markets, we lack enough skilled labour, our population is small, we don't have enough R&D, and we have earthquakes."


"They won't just come here because the sun shines, we have nice scenery and we're nice people," he said.

"We need to pay attention to the investment environment in New Zealand and if we don't, we're going to find that investment doesn't come here."

Lawyer Mai Chen, commenting in general on foreign investment, says it's a balance between wooing new investors, and making sure those investors align with New Zealand values and legislation.

"Is this in New Zealand's best interest? That's a legitimate question we should be asking ourselves.

"If we are bringing investors in, it's Important they come on our terms.

"These are our assets, and we can call the shots. People want to know - 'what are the implications for me? I want to get a job. I want to grow up in a country with certain values.'"

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) is in the process of reviewing New Zealand's approach to foreign investment.

Fonterra director of global stakeholder affairs Simon Tucker says the review is welcomed by business, but New Zealand companies want to know the results quickly.


"A lot of companies don't want to sit on an economic opportunity in front of them for 12 months while a bureaucratic process plays out.

"It's a highly competitive environment out there and New Zealand has some disadvantages."

Never mind the bureaucrats, the politicians will have the ultimate say.

But governments need to stay within the social licence that they've been given in terms of foreign investment.

New Zealand China Council executive director Stephen Jacobi says we're too small to support the sort of economy we have.

"Too many politicians are talking about how to reduce the number of immigrants.

"Well hello, if we want to have the sort of economy that is giving our citizens the sort of things that they want - we are going to need more people."