PM on Trump: 'I'm not there to scold him'

8:29 am on 7 February 2017

Prime Minister Bill English did not "scold" Donald Trump in his 15-minute phone call but raised immigration and the US presence in the Asia-Pacific.

In the 15-minute phone call yesterday Mr English told President Trump he disagreed with his policy on immigration and would not implement it.

That led on to a discussion about border security in which he described how New Zealand dealt with the issue. "It was a sensible, polite discussion about the pressures that are on the borders of most countries these days."

Mr English told Morning Report the aim was to get the government's points across, build a relationship and make sure that when the opportunity arose he could continue to communicate openly.

"This is a discussion with the leader of another country.

"I'm not there to scold him, although a lot of people might like us to do that".

The leaders did not discuss climate change.

Mr English said he put the case that it was important for New Zealand and the region that the US maintained its presence and interest in the Asia-Pacific.

"There has been real concern that pulling out of TPP may signal some ongoing withdrawal of US interests. We don't want to see that happen."

On US relations with China, it was New Zealand's hope that differences over trade and the South China Sea would continue to be dealt with through the usual diplomatic channels.

"There was nothing I heard yesterday that gave me any more cause for concern."

In their discussion and there was nothing that did not reflect public statements already made in the US, he said.

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