Chinese tourists backing out of trips to 'back-stabbing' New Zealand

Strained relations between New Zealand and China are reportedly having a flow-on effect on our tourism industry.

Tourists have been backing away from holidays in New Zealand after our relationship with China became tense, Chinese state-run website Global Times reports.

The Government refused Chinese telecommunications company Huawei permission to build parts of NZ's 5G network in November, causing the start of the kerfuffle.

Global Times reports Chinese "netizens" were upset by the news and have made their feelings known with their tourism dollars.

New Zealand was not ranked in the top 10 overseas tourist destinations on online travel platform Lvmama and China has postponed a tourism event that was due to take place at Te Papa on February 20.

Some Chinese visitors are even changing their plans to visit New Zealand, the tabloid claims.

"Is it a kind of robbery? New Zealand stabbed us in the back but asks for our money? This is double-faced," a Beijing-based worker known as Li told Global Times.

Li had saved 15,000 yuan (NZ$3200), but told Global Times he will instead be visiting neighbouring countries.

Also causing trouble is new law allowing Customs officers to check people's electronic devices at the border.

The Customs and Excise Act 2018, which came into effect on October 1, means Customs can demand to see any electronic devices and make travellers hand over the password.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern downplayed the tension, telling The AM Show on Monday NZ's relationship with China is "complex".

"There is no doubt the relationship comes with its challenges, as our relationships with a range of countries will from time to time.

"[But] doesn't undermine the strength of it, the maturity of it."