12 Apr 2013

PM all smiles after China mission

10:26 pm on 12 April 2013

The Prime Minister has ended a mission to China, giving the visit a rating of 10 out of 10.

John Key, several ministers and a large delegation of government and business leaders have left Beijing after a successful trip aimed at strengthening political ties, and boosting trade, education and tourism opportunities.

On Friday, the group was involved in the first China-New Zealand Partnership Forum, held in Beijing.

Mr Key this week met with with four of the nation's most senior leaders - President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and two vice-premiers - and says it has been a very successful visit.

"I think it's a 10 out of 10. If I wrote down on a piece of paper everything I wanted to achieve out of this trip and compared that with what's happened this week, it's been fantastic.

"They really have given us great access, they're totally committed to wanting to move the relationship on."

John Key says the mission has been a good way to renew and refresh relationships with the new leadership team.

The trip marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and China, and the fifth anniversary of their Free Trade Agreement.

China is now New Zealand's second biggest trading partner with exports and imports worth about $7 billion, respectively, last year.

The Asian powerhouse's economy is considered not just important to New Zealand and other economies' futures, but crucial.

The Prime Minister earlier this week discussed with President Xi Jinping opportunities for the nations to increase trade and investment, while making it clear that New Zealand was not keen on farmland being sold to foreign investors.

John Key also announced initiatives with China aimed at strengthening business, science and education links.