New Zealand continues to have a better relationship with China than any other country, Trade Minister Tim Groser says.
"We have a relationship with China that in my opinion no other country has," Mr Groser said on TV3's The Nation programme.
He said there was an racial issue in the controversy surrounding the sale of the Crafar family farms to China's Shanghai Pengxin.
"I'm sure some people are xenophobic and racist but whether it is true generally of New Zealanders I'm not so sure," he said.
"What I think is so important is to emphasise how positive a contribution China is making to the preservation of jobs, and preservation of companies that would otherwise be out of business in very difficult times," he said.
New Zealand has a free trade agreement with China and most favoured nation status."I'm personally very surprised that we have held the first mover advantage for so long. I'm still expecting Australia to dock into this model but I'm really quite surprised that they haven't achieved it," he said.
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