Jacinda Ardern pushes back on claims NZ's relationship with China is worsening

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is pushing back on claims New Zealand's relationship with China is getting worse. 

The relationship is in the spotlight after the GCSB last year warned of security risks if Chinese company Huawei helped build Spark's 5G network.

Last night Ms Ardern told TVNZ1's Q+A she's confident in that process and said New Zealand's relationship with China is still strong.

"It's not to say that there aren't complexities in the relationship, because what I would argue is that in international politics in any given period you do see a number of issues arise at any given time. And we do have to take those as they come. But in terms of overall health of our relationship it's still strong," she said. 

"What we've managed to establish over a number of years is a strong, mature relationship with China where yes, we do raise directly where there are issues of concern or complexity - and we've done that - whilst at the same time maintaining strong people-to-people or economic ties. 

"But what I will not compromise on is while the world changes around us, New Zealand will be consistent. And we are being consistent." Ms Ardern said.

The Prime Minister said all countries should play by the rules, be open and transparent.

Q+A reported that when it comes to New Zealand's future prosperity, China is critical.  

In the space of 10 years or so it has become our biggest trading partner, with exports of goods and services totalling $16.6 billion last year - 20 per cent of all our exports.

Q+A reported the Prime Minister is under pressure from critics who say this Government has bungled its handling of a sensitive political and trading relationship.

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The Prime Minister told TVNZ1's Q+A New Zealand's relationship with China is still strong but there are "complexities". Source: Q+A