1 Feb 2020

Peters says New Zealand will look to build on relationship with UK

5:43 pm on 1 February 2020

Foreign Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand will look to build on its relationship with the UK and recommit to the European Union, after Britain officially left the EU today.

No caption

Winston Peters said New Zealand welcomes the UK's confirmation that it will be in the first tranche of partners for free trade agreement negotiations. Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

More than three years after the referendum vote, the move was marked in Britain by celebrations and anti-Brexit protests.

Peters said New Zealand already cooperates closely with Britain on defence and security issues and has cultural connections through history and migration.

But he said there's potential for us to work even more closely on international issues, particularly in the Pacific, with Britain hosting the COP26 climate conference later this year.

New Zealand welcomes the UK's confirmation that we will be in the first tranche of partners for free trade agreement negotiation, he said.

Peters said New Zealand also wants to work with Britain to maximise opportunities for New Zealanders to live and work in the UK, which he said was an important element of our relationship.

"While today marks a new chapter in the UK's history, New Zealand's relationship with the EU remains as important as ever," Peters said in a statement.

"We are making good progress on the EU-New Zealand FTA, and continue to work closely with the EU on many areas of mutual interest, including upholding the global rules-based system and meaningful action on climate change," he said.