30 Jan 2017

NZ govt hires Trump staffer - reports

9:53 pm on 30 January 2017

International media is reporting the government has hired a former Donald Trump staffer to help lobby for improved business visa conditions.

Donald Trump Stuart Jolly - image source unknown

Photo: .

Reuters reports New Zealand's Washington Embassy hired Stuart Jolly in January.

Mr Jolly worked as Mr Trump's campaign field director during the Republican Primaries. He joined the super PAC Great America, which backed Trump, as its national adviser in May.

Reuters cited documents filed with a US government database last week.

It said Mr Jolly would lobby US Congress and the Trump administration for E1 and E2 business and investor visas, which allow companies operating in the US streamlined visa access for staff.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been contacted for comment.

Export NZ executive director Catherine Beard told Reuters the The E1 and E2 immigration programmes were "a number one focus of the embassy over there".

She said access to the visa program was generally granted after reaching a free trade agreement.

"We've been trying for years to negotiate a free trade agreement with the US and we've never been high enough on their radar," she said.

New Zealand expressed disappointment when Trump last week pulled the US out of the 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal.

- Reuters / RNZ

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