22 Mar 2019

Brexit: The NZ Side

From Country Life, 9:07 pm on 22 March 2019
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Photo: Ross Miller

Jeff Grant is New Zealand's Red Meat Sector representative in London, there to keep an eye on Brexit. For Country Life, he puts a human face on some of the implications.

The EU has agreed this week that Britain can have more time to secure a deal for Brexit.

Many MPs want a deal but they don't like British PM Theresa May's proposal.

And the EU says there should be continued preparations for a no-deal Brexit, when Britain will be treated like any other country exporting to Europe.  

Mrs May's not getting her deal across the line because of what will happen with the Irish border.

The Easter chilled lamb trade is hugely important to New Zealand, and while our exporters would've liked an early Easter this year, (to miss the March 29 time frame) Grant says protocols are in place to cope with any possible Brexit outcome: from a crashing out of the EU, to an extended negotiation period.

However there is general concern about supplies of fresh, and longer shelf life commodities, and items like NZ wine and cured small goods are being stockpiled. The word is there is no food storage space left in Britain.

Behind all this however, Grant says the government has been peddling hard.

"There are two indications: one, they want security of supply so are doing everything to make sure there are no hold-ups into the country, and second they do not want empty shelves in the supermarkets."

Ten thousand trucks a day travel through Dover and any disruption that held them up for six minutes each would see a traffic jam from Dover to London within twelve hours, he says.