Labour leader Andrew Little says China's Vice-President Li Yuanchao put the case why Chinese wanted land in New Zealand, but was "respectful and understanding" of Mr Little's position on it.
Mr Little is in China on an official visit as leader of the Opposition and met with Vice President Li because President Xi Jinping is in the United Kingdom.
Mr Little's visit follows Labour's campaign to stop foreigners buying New Zealand houses and farmland, including an analysis of property buyers in Auckland with Chinese surnames based on leaked Barfoot and Thompson sales data.
It also comes after Pure 100, a Shanghai Pengxin company, announced it would appeal the Government's decision to reject its attempt to buy Lochinver Station.
Mr Little said it was discussed in the formal meeting and Li raised it again afterwards as he walked Mr Little out.
"He talked a lot about it, the shortage of arable land in China and why arable land in other parts of the world are important to China and they are looking around for it."
Mr Little said he replied that a lot of New Zealand's wealth came from its land and there was also strong emotional attachments to it.
"He explained why they were looking for it, but he equally accepted the point I was making that people get very sensitive about it when it is so important to our country."
He said his meeting was "very warm and friendly" and went into overtime.
It was he rather than Li who raised the topic of land sales in the meeting and he tried to make it clear it was not just China he was targeting.
"I was just saying this is an increasingly sensitive issue and New Zealanders are concerned about the amount of productive land being sold into overseas land, in that case largely American and Australian. And also house sales and the impact non-resident foreign buyers were having on prices in Auckland."
Mr Little told Li Labour supported an upgrade to the China-NZ free trade agreement and believed that agreement had been beneficial to both. The Government is expected to start negotiating on that upgrade in 2016.
It is an important message for China in case there is a change of Government after the 2017 election.
Mr Little has concerns about the Trans Pacific Partnership, which China is not a party to and is seen partly as President Barack Obama's bid to outflank China on trade.
Mr Little said he believed China had always recognised that the free trade agreement had to deliver benefits to New Zealand.
"The TPP looks less about mutual benefit between the big parties and small parties and more like domination and control."
Mr Little said Li had clearly done his research on Little - he invited him to return to China to go ski-ing, one of Little's past-times.
"He was very warm and humourous and it really made an impression on me."
He had raised human rights issues in China as he had done with President Xi during his visit to New Zealand last year and said Li had taken it well.
He and Li also apoke about the links between the Communist Party of China and New Zealand Labour.
In 1955 former Labour MP Warren Freer became the first Western politician to visit China after the Communist Party gained power in 1949.
It was Labour governments which set up formal diplomatic relations with China in 1972, recognised China as an open market economy for the purposes of the World Trade Organisation and signed the New Zealand-China free trade agreement in 2008.
"The four firsts all happened under Labour, so there is a special relationship between the two."
Mr Little has also visited a Fonterra farm in China and Lanzatech. He will travel to London in time for the Rugby World Cup final.