Recently released data shows that China is now the second largest foreign investor into New Zealand, and the years 2013 and 2014 saw NZ$1.9 billion (C$1.7 billion) in new Chinese investment make up 14% of New Zealand’s total inbound foreign direct investment, according to KPMG’s Foreign Direct Investment in New Zealand: Trends and Insights. Chinese investment, although high-profile, was still significantly smaller than Canadian investment into New Zealand: at 22%, Canada led inbound foreign direct investment into the country during the two year period. The United States and Australia were additional major sources of investment, with 13% and 11% of the total, respectively. All numbers were based on gross consideration data from New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office.
A NZ$950 million waste management deal in June 2014 was the largest Chinese investment into New Zealand, while a NZ$1,102 million deal in November 2014 – a Canadian property portfolio investment – was the largest of any foreign investment into New Zealand. Mainland China was the source of 30% of investment into agribusiness during 2013 and 2014, with Hong Kong an additional 19%. With regards to land acquisition, Mainland China acquired 27,000 hectares during this period, or 11% of total foreign land acquisitions; Hong Kong acquired an additional 6,000 hectares, or 2% of the total; both were dwarfed by the 115,000 hectares (46% of the total) acquired by the United States, while Canada acquired 5,000 hectares, or just 2% of the total.
New Zealand, like Canada, has witnessed public debate surrounding aspects of Chinese investment, especially with regards to foreign commercial acquisition of land, and both are undergoing industry-wide difficulties in the dairy and oil sectors respectively, areas that have historically received large-scale Chinese investment. New Zealand and Canada are also reportedly deadlocked over dairy industry-related aspects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, with New Zealand seeking increased access into a protected Canadian market.