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What Kiwis really think about China: Research

August 26, 2018

New research shows New Zealanders have positive views about our relationship with China overall, but hold mixed opinions about which country benefits the most.

The New Zealand China Council Perceptions of China Monitor shows three times as many New Zealanders (43%) feel positive about the relationship than negative (14%).  39% want to see trade with China increase, while 12% want it to decrease ( 38% want it to stay the same).

NZ China Council Executive Director Stephen Jacobi says the findings of the research are encouraging overall.

“It’s clear from the results that New Zealanders appreciate the importance of our links with China, and in fact are keen to see more engagement in a range of areas,” Mr Jacobi says.

The research also reveals a disconnect between overall positive opinions of the relationship in general, and views about which country does better from the relationship.  When asked which country benefits more from the relationship, 41% of respondents thought China benefited most, compared to 16% who thought New Zealand benefited the most.

“The research is the first of its kind to benchmark New Zealanders’ attitudes toward China specifically, from the country and the relationship generally to trade, investment and culture.  It’s helpful for us to know all opinions, from positive to negative,” Mr Jacobi says.

New Zealanders’ views on investment from China were more nuanced, reflecting views on foreign investment in general. The survey shows New Zealanders tend incorrectly to identify China as the largest investor in New Zealand, and residential property as the top area China invests in.

Chinese culture was viewed positively by respondents.  69% of respondents said Mandarin was one of the most useful foreign languages  New Zealand schools can teach.  Almost half of respondents (46%) saying they would like to visit China in the future, and 10% saying they had already visited.

“The New Zealand China Council plans to conduct the survey on an ongoing basis to identify future trends and shifts in New Zealanders’ attitudes toward China,” Mr Jacobi says.

The full report, Perceptions of China Monitor: Survey 2018 is available here.

We also produced a video of the report, which can be viewed here.


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