Foreign Minister Winston Peters appears to be coming around to China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative something he has previously been sceptical about. But he said there are still questions that need to be asked about how New Zealand would benefit from the ambitious Project.

Speaking to media this afternoon, Peters said he “fully endorsed” the position taken by Economic Development Minister David Parker, who had just returned from the Belt and Road Forum in China.

That position, according to Peters, is that the Government would figure out what the Initiative means for New Zealand and that it would not include infrastructure.

At a dinner in Beijing, Parker said New Zealand was “very committed” to working with China to develop the bilateral relationship further.

China’s Belt and Road initiative is a scheme to promote closer ties between countries through trade it has a large infrastructure element. The focus on infrastructure had been a sticking point for Peters in the past.

“We are increasingly a branch economy of China. One belt, one road but so many unanswered questions,” he said in a speech in May 2017, before he became Foreign Minister.

But today, Peters said Parker had made it very clear the Government wants to know in detail and with clarity, “what it all meant.”

“They are still working on it, that’s what he Parker made very clear.”

Speaking to media before going into the House this afternoon, Parkers said the framing of Belt and Road, from China, had broadened “as of late”.

“It’s no longer just about infrastructure, it can cover other areas of co-operation.”

In fact, China’s President Xi Jinping said at the forum that he wanted “open, green and clean co-operation” with “Zero tolerance for Corruption”.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also said that the thrust of what Belt and Road was about had changed. She said strategically, there has been a view that belt and road was simply about strategic infrastructure but the belt and road initiative had evolved over time.

“We welcome foreign direct investment as beneficial to New Zealand and that’s equally what we’re looking for through those initiatives.” She said the focus on the Belt and Road only being about strategic infrastructure has been broadened out, over time.