research / Research reports

New Zealand’s China Policy: Building a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership

July 14 2015

This policy paper is the first comprehensive account of a diplomatic success story: the relationship between New Zealand and China in trade, investment and foreign policy.

New Zealand runs a successful China policy, putting its national interests before the comfort of “likeminded” positions and moving quickly and independently to conclude agreements with China with big benefits. It was the first to sign a high-quality, comprehensive FTA with China and the first to recognise China as a market economy.

Strong political relations are a platform for growing trade and economic links, positive people-to-people exchanges and cooperation with China in regional forums. New Zealand’s strategy toward China has been consistent and bipartisan. The relationship has never become a topic for partisan political division, though elements of China’s growing presence in New Zealand and aspects of the economic links are increasingly attracting debate, and sometimes controversy. China looms large in New Zealanders’ awareness of international influences on their wellbeing. 

Authors: John Larkindale, President of the Institute of Public Administration New Zealand, former New Zealand High Commissioner in Canberra; New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre.