6 Feb 2017

PM says Trump civil, knows a lot about NZ

2:58 pm on 6 February 2017

The Prime Minister says there were no fireworks when he took a phone call from US president Donald Trump, despite voicing his disagreement with Mr Trump's immigration policy.

BFP trump english call

Photo: Supplied

Bill English said they talked about a wide range of topics, including the relationship between the two countries, as well as defence matters.

Speaking from the Hoani Waititi Marae in Oratia Auckland, Bill English said Mr Trump called him this morning, while he was on his way there from Okahu Bay.

The conversation lasted 15 minutes and the Prime Minister's envoy had to pull over to take the phone call.

"We're on a busy schedule today so we just took the phone call in the car," Mr English said.

Mr English described the conversation as warm and friendly and said Mr Trump was civil, quite thoughtful and knew a lot about New Zealand.

Mr Trump asked about New Zealand's economy and showed his admiration for champion golfer Sir Bob Charles.

Asked about what he said about Mr Trump's immigration policy, Mr English said he voiced his disagreement with it.

"Look I just said to him what I've said publicly that we don't agree with the policy, it's not something we'd put in place.

"I noted that the accommodation had been made for New Zealand dual passport holders."

Mr English said there were no fireworks despite the disagreement.

"He just noted our views, I don't think he's surprised by people having a different view than he has."

There was no request to increase New Zealand's role in fighting ISIS.

"No specific request," Mr English said.

"But I think [there was] a good understanding that we discussed about our role as a small country a long way away, pulling our weight in the defence of our own people around the world and working alongside the US to contribute."

Mr English said the US President was glad New Zealand showed gratitude for support given in the shape of the navy ship the USS Sampson.

"He was pleased that we'd, the New Zealand government, thanked the servicemen and women on the ship for their assistance in Kaikōura."

Despite Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett mentioning climate change would be discussed, Mr English admitted, "it didn't come up."

The two leaders also discussed the Super Bowl being played today.

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