10 Nov 2016

Steady course predicted for NZ and US

6:22 pm on 10 November 2016

New Zealand politicians are starting to ponder the implications of last night's Trump victory on New Zealand's relationship with the United States.

USS Sampson

The USS Sampson will take part in the New Zealand Navy 75th anniversary celebrations to be held 17-22 November. Photo: AFP

One of the first casualties appears to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. President-elect Donald Trump has clearly signalled he would withdraw the US from the deal.

09082016. Photo Rebekah Parsons-King. Caucas run.Todd McClay.

Trade Minister Todd McClay. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Mr Trump fiercely denounced the 12-nation TPP on the campaign trail, and the majority leader of the US Senate, Mitch McConnell, made it clear today there would be no vote on it before Mr Trump takes office in January.

But the Trade Minister here, Todd McClay, said the government would forge ahead with the TPP, as free trade was vitally important to New Zealand's economy.

"But I think when the new administration is in place we're in a better position to talk to them more broadly about their view of trade in the world, the role they'll play in the WTO [World Trade Organisation] and how we will work closely together with them.

"I do believe we'll be able to work with the US administration on trade policy."

He said the third and final reading of the TPP ratifying legislation would still go ahead but acknowledged there would be challenges to get the deal across the line.

Defence relationship unlikely to change - PM

Prime Minister John Key predicted little change to the defence relationship under Mr Trump.

New Zealand currently has a training mission in Iraq, working within a US-led coalition.

"We already train alongside the United States, we can see the relationship's in good shape, from an intelligence sharing perspective, we're both part of Five Eyes - that won't change.

"And in terms of the US ship turning up for the 75th anniversary of the Navy, there'll be no change.

"I really think, truthfully, the United States and Donald Trump have bigger fish to fry than worry too much about New Zealand, I think it'll be pretty much business as normal for us."

Labour Party foreign affairs spokesperson David Shearer said it was hard to see right now how the broader defence relationship would be affected.

He said there were different messages coming out with Mr Trump saying on one hand the US was too involved in other people's wars, and on the other hand that he wanted to increase military spending.

"He's said he wants to defeat [Islamic State], that is going to involve somehow the US becoming as involved or perhaps more involved, but the more that the US turns inward, the more that their rival power, Russia and China in particular, look at this as an opportunity for themselves."

Important to the bi-lateral relationship was how the leaders get on in a personal capacity.

Mr Key said while it was unusual for a sitting US president to visit New Zealand, an invitation would be extended to Mr Trump.

And he said [www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/317783/trump-and-key-at-least-they-have-golf they could always bond on the golf course].

"Well he's got a selection of courses to offer up as a place to play so yeah, if he wants to get the clubs out, why not."

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