NZ’s Brexit shout-out ‘good sign’

The Dominion Post - - Politics - SAM SACHDEVA

A ‘‘shout-out’’ for New Zealand dur­ing Bri­tain’s Brexit an­nounce­ment is a pos­i­tive sign for fu­ture trade ties be­tween the coun­tries, Kiwi MPs on an of­fi­cial visit say.

Labour’s An­nette King, Na­tional’s Melissa Lee and NZ First’s Tracey Martin were at Par­lia­ment in Lon­don as Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May for­mally an­nounced the coun­try was leav­ing the Euro­pean Union.

While the fo­cus was firmly on the UK, King said New Zealand re­ceived a men­tion dur­ing May’s speech. ‘‘When she was talk­ing about want­ing to move to a free trade deal with the EU, one of the [Scot­tish Na­tional Party] MPs in­ter­jected, ‘And New Zealand!’

‘‘I think maybe it was helped by the fact we had a meet­ing with him [ear­lier] ... but it was nice to get a shout-out.’’

Lee said the MPs had made a case for closer ties with both the UK and EU dur­ing their meet­ings, and had re­ceived pos­i­tive sig­nals.

‘‘One of the things we got very clearly was, in the UK and Brus­sels, they’re very fo­cused on the re­la­tion­ship they have with New Zealand and they ac­tu­ally want to grow that re­la­tion­ship. Trade with New Zealand is on their minds.’’

How­ever, it was clear noth­ing could be fi­nalised un­til trade ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the UK and the EU were fin­ished.

The MPs were in the UK and Europe for in­ter-par­lia­men­tary meet­ings.

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