New Zealand wants more Chinese students

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New Zealand's new Foreign Minister Winston Peters, who is known as an opponent of immigration, says he wants to encourage more Chinese students to study English in New Zealand.

Mr Peters, making his first overseas trip this week to South Korea for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, will discuss with Chinese officials the decline in the number of Chinese students in New Zealand.

He says the drop is partly due to the collapse of some privately-owned English language schools.

Mr Peters was appointed foreign minister last month as part of a deal that saw his populist New Zealand First political party enter Prime Minister Helen Clark's Labour Party-led government.

In the past he has been an outspoken opponent of the level of Asian immigration to New Zealand, once saying the country was being colonised by Asians.

The foreign minister says he did not expect his previous statements on immigration would cause any difficulties in dealing with China or any other Asian nation, saying they had more rigid immigration policies than New Zealand.