2 Nov 2017
Chinese civic leaders representing 80 million citizens will be heading to Wellington for talks with New Zealand counterparts over strengthening ties between regions in both countries.
The New Zealand China Mayoral Forum on December 3 and 4 is the second of its kind after the inaugural 2015 event in Xiamen.
The 15 Chinese Mayors and Vice-Mayors come from mid and large-size cities, including the capital Beijing, and they will be joined by 33 New Zealand Mayors.
Organisers of the forum, hosted by Local Government NZ and Wellington City Council, say trade and investment opportunities in tourism, education and primary industries will be among issues on the agenda.
Figures for 2016 show that China was New Zealand's largest source of foreign students (34,000) and provided the second most tourists (more than 400,000).
It also took $9.4 billion of export goods, with primary products top of the list.
The forum will include a session for businesses from both countries to discuss future opportunities.
"There is much to be gained for our communities in developing a greater understanding and appreciation of how China operates," LGNZ president Dave Cull said.
"Face-to-face meetings at the sub-national level provide the opportunity for the representatives of our cities, districts and regions to engage directly and look for mutually-beneficial economic development opportunities."