A Chinese billionaire behind the controversial buy-up of the Crafar dairy farms and Lochinver Station says New Zealanders have nothing to fear from his investments in the country.
Speaking to the Otago Daily Times at a function in Queenstown yesterday, Shanghai Pengxin Group chairman Jiang Zhaobai said buying land was not his primary purpose, but only a means of producing high quality agricultural goods for export to China.
His companies would invest much more in improving the land than buying the land.
"Because of that investment, we can promote the agriculture industry, and bring more benefits to the farmers here."
As well as buying the dairy farms and Lochinver Station, near Taupo, Shanghai Pengxin is the majority owner of dairy farm-owning company Synlait Farms. Another of Mr Jiang's companies is behind a $550 million redevelopment plan for Gulf Harbour on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.
Accompanied by about 50 entrepreneurs from Shanghai, Mr Jiang was the guest of honour yesterday at a function to welcome him as new owner of the Hilton Queenstown.
Among the guests were Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden and many resort business and tourism leaders.
Mr Jiang said he chose to invest in New Zealand because it had a "very sound and transparent" business environment, and was the first country to sign a free trade agreement with China.
He saw himself as a "promoter and ambassador" for New Zealand in China and hoped New Zealanders would become more accepting of investment by Chinese companies.
"Ultimately, together we can create a win-win outcome for everyone."
He had visited Queenstown many times.
"Queenstown is such a beautiful city and I want to get away from busy work as much as I can."