Shane Jones puts China on notice over New Zealand logging

Shane Jones has put China on notice over its involvement in the New Zealand logging industry.

The Minister of Regional Development has been on a trip to China to promote the new Overseas Investment Office rules and how they apply to forestry.

Appearing on The AM Show on Thursday, Mr Jones says we're "the only country in the world that allows our logs to be wholesale exported in the way we do" - and made it clear the expectation now is for wood to be largely processed in New Zealand.

"I was very, very frank with them, that we value the opportunity to be economic partners... but the voters and communities in Gisborne and places like that, they want to see those logs now substantially processed in New Zealand," he told host Duncan Garner.

"I don't know of a single Kiwi who says to me, 'Gosh, I'm proud that all the logs at the back of the Cake Tin in Wellington or at Gisborne, they're all going away in raw undeveloped form'."

Mr Jones says China is already making one investment in the Bay of Plenty, but they are concerned there are not enough logs for expanding their activities.

"They themselves are fearful that if they put hundreds of millions of dollars into processing in New Zealand... will they have certainty of supply?" he says.

Mr Jones has offered a sweetener - he told China to come to New Zealand as we have "substantial funds for regional investment".

"As of this very day, a substantial body of work is being undertaken by the officials and some other stakeholders. We're going to look at some options," he says.

"You bring a couple of hundred million and we'll give you the certainty of supply to logs. We want them processed here."

New Zealand is definitely the small partner in our trade deal, but Mr Jones doubts that China will be offended or retaliate due to our change in stance.

"No one was antagonistic to China. They were perhaps a little surprised at my frankness, but I'm paid to be an advocate for the best interests of my country," he says.

"They've already got enough friction between themselves and the US. They do need economic partners."


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