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Investment welcome mat rolled out for Chinese Deputy Premier

Wednesday 28th September 2011

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The visiting Chinese Deputy Premier, Hui Liangyu, got concrete proof that Chinese investment in New Zealand is welcomed, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Wellington today.

The MOU is between the local arm of the global accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, now known as PwC, and one of mainland China’s largest financial institutions, the China Development Bank.

Finance Minister Bill English was on hand to witness the signing, which PwC says will allow cooperation with CDB on “major development projects with particular emphasis on reconstruction and investment in the Canterbury region of New Zealand following the Canterbury earthquakes, as well as in agriculture, infrastructure, natural resources and finance.”

The agreement marks a positive note during the visit from one of China’s most senior politicians, which has coincided with widespread media reporting of anti-Chinese investor sentiment created by the bid by China’s Pengxin International Group for the 16 farms formerly owned by the Crafar family, now in receivership.

A rival $171 million bid for the farms, from a consortium led by New Zealander Sir Michael Fay, was rejected by the Crafar farm receivers, KordaMentha, earlier this week.

The bid is some $30 million lower than Pengxin’s, which has been accepted in principle as long as it succeeds in satisfying both the Overseas Investment Office and government ministers that it meets criteria relating to sensitive land sales.

The OIO has been assessing the Pengxin bid for almost six months, and Fairfax Media reported this morning that discussions have occurred with state-owned Landcorp over the possibility Landcorp could manage the farms if Pengxin is able to buy them.

In a statement on the MoU, PwC’s New Zealand chief executive Bruce Hassall said “China will be an increasingly important source of funding for New Zealand businesses and infrastructure projects.”

“The MoU will enhance PwC’s market leading position working with New Zealand and Chinese businesses to facilitate investment and trade and is a genuine win win for all parties.”

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