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Varied discussion . . . National Party leader Simon Bridges (left) speaks to an audience of Timaru senior citizens, supported by Rangitata MP Andrew Falloon, on Thursday afternoon. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

by Greta Yeoman

New Zealand’s relations with China, the country’s economy and being positive were among the topics discussed at a meeting led by National Party leader Simon Bridges in Timaru last week.

Mr Bridges was in Timaru for the meeting, hosted by Rangitata MP and fellow National Party member Andrew Falloon, last Thursday.

An invited crowd of about 80 older Timaru residents joined Mr Bridges at the West End Hall, where he spoke about the Government’s relationship with China, the number of working groups set up by the Labour Government, taxes and mental health schemes.

He said New Zealand had a $28 billion trade deal with China each year, and the Government had “definitely deteriorated” the relationship between the two countries – which could have a big impact on the economy.

“Your latte . . . is paid for by China,” Mr Bridges said.

However, several members of the audience disagreed with his comments when the floor opened for a Q&A session.

One man referenced the 2016 50% investment in Silver Fern Farms by Chinese company Shanghai Maling.

Mr Bridges and Mr Falloon also attended a luncheon hosted by the South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce.