New Zealand may be in the grips of an economic crunch but it is a contrasting scene in south-east China.
The Far North District Council's Sister City in China, the Laioning Provincial People's Congress, continues to roll forward with a local economy which is booming, low inflation and little unemployment
Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Congress Li Yingjie said at Kaikohe last week the provincial government's economy had expanded by 14% over the last 12 months, unemployment was at 3.7% and the inflation rate at 3.3%.
The Congress was currently developing a new five-year plan which called for continuing economic growth of between 11% and 13% annually with continuing low inflation and unemployment lingering below the 4% mark, he said.
Mr Yingjie was leading a delegation from Laioning to the Far North to reconfirm the Sister City relationship developed in 2002.
The Laioning economy was based on an expanding manufacturing sector which boasted an increasing level of high technology industries, he said.
However he saw huge potential in the Far North to turn its economy around through its natural resources and through the dairy and forestry industries.
The delegation wanted to develop the relationship Laioning already had with the Far North and to look to opportunities which would enhance economic growth. There were already 170 New Zealand companies with investments in the Laioning Province, generating $25 million a year in trade, Mr Yingjie said.
The delegation from the Laioning Provincial People's Congress included Mr Wan Fumin, a member of the Standing Committee and Director of the Finance Committee, Mr Xue Laiyi the Vice Secretary General of the Standing Committee, Ms Wang Zhaoxia Deputy Director General of the Liaoning Foreign Affairs Office, Mr Song Shucai the Deputy Director General of the Liaoning Provincial Bureau of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary and Liaoning Foreign Affairs Office interpreter Hou Yongsen.
The delegation was welcomed to the Far North last Thursday night (26 May) at a function hosted by Far North Mayor Wayne Brown.
Print media photo caption: Far North Mayor Wayne Brown and Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of Liaoning Provincial People’s Congress, Mr Li Yingjie, exchange gifts at a reception at the Council Chambers at Kaikohe on 26th May 2011.