Foreign Minister Winston Peters is confident New Zealand won't suffer repercussions from the Chinese Government after he called for an inquiry into the country's role in the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is despite the fact China's ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, suggested a boycott of Australian goods, after Australian officials called for the investigation.

Peters said promises were made to him at the "very highest level" of the Chinese Government that New Zealand won't face consequences for his call.

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"I'm not worried about that because China has promised me they don't behave that way."

But International Business Forum executive director Stephen Jacobi says a China boycott of Australian goods could be an opportunity for the New Zealand economy.

Speaking to the Australian Financial Review, Jingye said that the Chinese public was "frustrated, dismayed and disappointed" with Australia's calls for an investigation.

"If the mood is going from bad to worse, people would think 'why should we go to such a country that is not so friendly to China?' The tourists may have second thoughts.

"It is up to the people to decide. Maybe the ordinary people will say, 'why should we drink Australian wine? Eat Australian beef?'"

But speaking to reporters yesterday, Peters did not appear to be concerned by Jingye's comments and even questioned if the ambassador to Australia was "mistaken in his words".

"It's hard to concede that a brilliant diplomat like Jingye would allow that to be his nation's message to anyone asking legitimate inquiries."

And when asked about an investigation into China, Peters said: "All logic and reason suggests that that is the responsible thing to do."

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"All I've ever said is it is very hard to concede, no matter what the country is, of there not being a desire by every country in the world – including the country of origin – for an investigation to find out how this happened."

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Jacobi said that if gaps were to appear in the market as a result of a Chinese boycott of Australian goods, then New Zealand would be primed to fill them.

"We know that premium food products, for example, are in high demand at present and this will only grow as China continues to open up," he said.

In terms of Peters' comments about an investigation, Jacobi said the Foreign Minister's remarks were quite careful.

"He said that a thorough investigation involving all parties will inevitably be required but I did not understand him to say this was needed now."

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

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