Region to be promoted to Chinese mayors

Tim Cadogan.
Tim Cadogan
Central Otago’s primary sector is to be  promoted to Chinese local government leaders representing more than 100 million people, Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan says.

Mr Cadogan said he was "thrilled" the Central Otago District Council  had been chosen as one of the territorial authorities in New Zealand to be represented at the New Zealand China Mayoral Forum in Wellington in December.

He said details of other attendees had not yet been confirmed, but understood he would be one of only  a few South Island mayors attending.Mr Cadogan will be one of the speakers at the forum, and said he had been told his inclusion was because of Central Otago’s strengths in horticulture, viticulture and agriculture.

About 15 mayors from China were expected to attend the event and Mr Cadogan said they represented communities totalling more than 100 million people.

"This is an absolutely golden opportunity for our viticulture and horticulture industries to showcase our products to mayors and industry leaders from the world’s biggest market. The mayoral forums provide a new sub-national engagement to further enhance and develop political and trade relations for the future. Being invited to the forum allows Central Otago to travel with a trade delegation to highlight the district’s fantastic primary produce such as wine, fruit and fine wool."

Mr Cadogan said the forum followed  the inaugural forum held in China in 2015, which produced "tangible outcomes" for the mayors and territorial authorities that attended from both countries.

"It provides a platform for peer-to-peer exchanges for New Zealand and China mayors to discuss issues of mutual interests and to strengthen practical co-operation and enhance friendship. The trade relationship between the two countries has nearly tripled over the past decade, with two-way trade rising from $8.2billion in the year ended June 2007 to $23billion in the June 2016 year."

He said the potential benefits to Central Otago from the forum were significant.

"It is plain China is a hugely significant economy for New Zealand and I see the opportunities for Central Otago to benefit from trade with that country as being massive. The Chinese love quality fruit and are gaining a taste for wine, especially red wine.

''While I understand there is still some concept in China that ‘only French will do’ when it comes to wine, that prejudice is rapidly being broken down and replaced with ‘only the best will do’. Central Otago arguably makes the world’s best pinot noir and grows the world’s best fruit. Add to that the historic links between Central and southeastern China through our shared gold-mining history and the benefit of increased links between our district and China is obvious."

Mr Cadogan said he was "sure" the country’s tourism sector would also benefit from the forum.

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