US-China trade war an 'enormous opportunity' for New Zealand - Winston Peters

The US-China trade fire has been stoked again as the pair traded pot shots at the APEC Leaders Summit in Papua New Guinea.

But could New Zealand come out of it best off? Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters certainly thinks so.

Jacinda Ardern was among 21 world leaders who descended on the Pacific Island for its first APEC Summit.

Parts of it were business as usual, but other aspects were quite different - such as delegations being posted on cruise ships, or the 40-strong fleet of Maseratis bought to transport leaders.

The Prime Minister passed on the luxury car, saying "the Toyota is very trusty".

The global environment is also different. An escalating trade war between China and the United States meant the superpowers were flexing their muscles.

China has made a huge show, with President Xi Jinping flying in early for a state visit before all other leaders arrived.

The US announced it will join forces with Australia to build a naval base in Papua New Guinea in a bid to lock China out from developing its own Pacific base.

In no uncertain terms, Vice President Mike Pence advised Pacific nations to be careful about accepting loans from China.

"Do not accept foreign debt that could compromise your sovereignty," he said.

Ms Ardern says we won't buy into the tit-for-tat in the Pacific.

"Our relationship is unique and it won't be determined by what happens with any other nation - nor should it be."

While the superpowers have been spending up large on things like roads and infrastructure, New Zealand has taken a more focussed approach.

We contributed to the renovation of Gordon's market in Port Moresby to make it safer for women to do business.

We've also partnered with Japan, Australia and the US on a project to provide electricity to 70 percent of the country by 2030, and put a couple of million into vaccinations - including polio, of which there's been an outbreak recently.

"The kinds of things that we invest in are the things that local people prioritise," Ms Ardern told media.

"We provide a comprehensive approach," Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said. "Not pointing to any other country, but some countries don't do that."

He's obviously pointing at the US and China. While they may be flashing the money, we offer integrity. 

"Other countries are looking at us because they don't see a hidden agenda," he said.

"The game has changed and we've got potential for far greater relationships than we've ever had."

As the US and China step up their trade war talk, Mr Peters thinks it provides a major opportunity for New Zealand.

"There's enormous opportunity because other countries are looking at New Zealand with fresh eyes now - and that's dramatic," he said.

"Out of disorder, I think we've got order coming."

It could be a new world order that's throwing up opportunities for New Zealand politically and economically.