China could have rep on govt's Fonterra inquiry - Key

PM sees turnaround in Chinese social media, traditional media since he said he would go to China - but says he needs inquiry results first.

John Key says a China representative could sit on the government's inquiry into the Fonterra botulism scare.

"One possibility is that if we can find an eminent Chinese scientist with a specialisation in this area we may well put them on because it would hopefully give them more confidence in their market," the Prime Minister said on Breakfast this morning.

Mr Key said the terms of the inquiry, who would lead it, its timeframe and other details had yet to be settled. 

He wanted the inquiry wrapped up before he went to China.

"I need the answers of the inquiry so I can look down the barrel of their cameras and say ‘have confidence in our product; we’ve fixed this’," the PM said.

“One of the things that’s actually working is when I said I’ll go to China, the Chinese social media and a lot of the Chinese media have turned around. They see that as a political leader fronting up; they like that."

The government's inquiry will be in addition to inquiries already announced by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Fonterra itself.

"We can restore our image. We shouldn’t be completely pummelled by the international markets. It’s easy to talk yourself down but only 1% of Fonterra product into China has been blocked." However, it was 

But although he saw serious confidence issues to be addressed in China, the PM shared Fonterra's view that the new DCD contamination scare in Sri Lanka was overblown.

"In our view you can’t drink enough of it to make you sick," he said.

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