Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang came to talk trade with exporters today - but New Zealand was shut.
Hong Kong is New Zealand’s 12th largest export market, with total trade having increased by around 30% in the past five years to nearly $1 billion.
An official announcement from Deputy Prime Minister Bill English made much of the fact Mr Tsang would speak at a special event hosted by the Hong Kong New Zealand Business Association, the Employers and Manufacturers Association, and Export New Zealand.
But no-one from those organisations could be located who knew anything about the event or where and when it was.
Calls to the Chinese embassy went unanswered.
At Mr English's office, testy spin-doctor Craig Howie said he had no idea either. "Ask the others," he said.
It took persistent sleuthing by NBR Online to eventually find someone at Export New Zealand who could say Mr Tsang is due to give his talk in Auckland on Thursday.
Mr English's announcement said Mr Tsang "is arriving in Auckland on Tuesday to discuss two-way trade and other bilateral issues and to learn about innovations in the export sector".
Mr Tsang is also due to meet Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Murray McCully, Trade Minister Tim Groser, Speaker Lockwood Smith and Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples.
He is due to visit New Zealand exporters to Hong Kong, including Cambridge Stud and Zealong, an oolong tea grower near Hamilton.
Mr English says Mr Tsang is particularly interested in Auckland’s waterfront revitalisation, in light of Hong Kong’s plans to upgrade its waterfront.
The visit is an opportunity to showcase New Zealand’s capabilities in areas such as food safety and innovation, agri-tourism and high-end food products.
The Hong Kong delegation will also tour the state-of-the-art plant, Foodbowl, in Auckland, which offers access to technical expertise and batch testing for any business wanting to trial new food and beverage products.
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