Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has attempted to woo would-be Australian investors to take their cash over to New Zealand to invest in mid-level Kiwi firms.

Speaking to a group of investors at a New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) lunch in Melbourne today, Ardern pitched New Zealand as an attractive investment destination, hungry for Aussie capital.

However, she was clear that if anyone in the room wanted to invest in New Zealand they would have to provide a benefit for the country.

One of the strong messages she and the Government were aiming to send was "New Zealand is open for business".


"But we are encouraging investment that will contribute to New Zealand's economy, the growth of jobs and the overall kind of investment that will grow our wellbeing."

She talked up New Zealand's business relationship with Australia.

"We know that in the past year, NZTE has seen $704 million worth of investment deals coming into the New Zealand market."

She said that has helped New Zealand businesses to grow and allow startups to expand and increase investment in infrastructure.

"You are helping New Zealand to thrive," she said.

"Australia has long been a firm part of that ecosystem and will continue to be, but unlike any other."

But she said there were still areas where more investment was needed. Specifically, Ardern pointed to firms which were in the early stage of their life.

"Companies that are in their midrange that are looking to grow – that's an area we're looking to remedy by creating a fund of funds."

Jacinda Ardern mingles at the NZTE function in Melbourne. Photo / Jason Walls
Jacinda Ardern mingles at the NZTE function in Melbourne. Photo / Jason Walls

She said there were some gaps that exist in New Zealand's domestic capital market – gaps she wanted Australian investment to plug.

She talked up the recently announced $300 million capital venture fund – which uses money coming out of the NZ Super Fund to try and fill the capital gap in the market.

She said there were no two countries in the world which were as close as New Zealand and Australia.

And she said the economic and business relationship was a significant part of that.

Despite the already strong level of investment, Ardern was appealing for more.