30 Jun 2016

NZ offers to help UK with new trade deals

3:52 pm on 30 June 2016

New Zealand is willing to help the United Kingdom negotiate trade deals when it formally leaves the European Union, with the hope the UK will strike a quick deal with New Zealand.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully

Foreign Minister Murray McCully is open to New Zealand sending trade negotiators to the UK. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Foreign Minister Murray McCully was not ruling out sending New Zealand trade negotiators to the UK.

"I'm not going to forecast what requests they might make, I'm simply saying that they will be looking to put in place a whole new series of relationships and arrangements to replace the EU arrangements they have.

"They may see some value in, for example, in a quick FTA [free trade agreement] with New Zealand to have a symbolic demonstration effect. Those are the sorts of areas we've been talking about."

Mr McCully spoke with Britain's High Commissioner to New Zealand, Jonathan Sinclair, on Monday, and asked him what the UK might need.

"I've said to him that we understand they've got architecture with Europe that will disappear, new architecture they'll need to replace it.

"We hope a very high priority in that new architecture will be its relationship with New Zealand because we have significant trading interests there.

"We also know they have a broader field of tradework to undertake and given our very close friendship and historic ties we want to be helpful in any way we can be."

But Mr McCully said it was still early days.

"They've not only not identified their agenda, they actually haven't identified their government yet so let's just give them a little bit of space to work this one through.

It will still be some time before the UK formally withdraws from the EU, and that timetable has not yet been set.

Prime Minister John Key said at the moment New Zealand negotiators were very busy.

"We've got a lot happening under our own watch so we're not really looking to lend people to the UK, but we would certainly if we were really requested we would give them the benefit of our knowledge but they've got some quite sophisticated people as well."

Mr Key said the challenge for the UK was going to be the sheer volume of people they would need, as they won't just have to negotiate individual deals with EU members, but other countries around the world.

Corbyn defiant in face of challenge

Meanwhile, in the UK, British opposition MP Angela Eagle is expected to challenge Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour Party leadership.

no caption

Jeremy Corbyn Photo: AFP

She was tipped to make an official announcement later today, the BBC reported.

Mr Corbyn has been refusing to stand down, after a large majority of Labour MPs backed a motion of no confidence in him, accusing him of failing to campaign effectively for Britain to stay in the European Union.

But Mr Corbyn told supporters in London that he stood by his record since being elected leader in September.

"I've done my best over this year to divert the policy changes that I want, to reach out to people in the way that we want and recognise there are many in the party who may not completely agree with the direction I want to take us."

He called the result on EU membership "a vote of anger and desperation" from "communities that were destroyed" by Conservative policies in 1980s.

Obama urges slow process for exit

US President Barack Obama has expressed concern about the long-term health of the global economy, in the wake of the Brexit.

He said growth and investment opportunities in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe could suffer.

Mr Obama also warned Britain's departure from the EU should not be rushed.

"Everybody should catch their breath, come up with a plan and a process that is orderly, that's transparent, that people understand and then proceed understanding that both sides have a stake in getting this right."

- RNZ / BBC

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs