Speaking to Corin Dann on RadioNZ’s Morning Report, Foreign Minister Winston Peters praised the ascension of Boris Johnson as the United Kingdom’s new Prime Minister and signalled that the latter’s promotion is good news for NZ-UK relations.
“He has a very kind, very affectionate stance towards New Zealand. This means we start the ground running in terms of [forming] our future relationship, and in that sense it is all to the good [of New Zealand] in that context,” Mr. Peters said.
When pressed on the worries of Treasury and Business NZ that PM Johnson will increase the chance of a “hard Brexit” happening, and the negative impact that could have on our economy, the Foreign Minister was unfazed.
“With the greatest respect to Treasury and Business NZ, they did not see Brexit coming way back in the 23rd of June 2016 and so the people who are always wise in hindsight are not much use going forward.”
Mr. Peters reminded Corin Dann that New Zealand had a smooth trading relationship with the UK before the country joined the European Union in the 70’s, and saw no reason why the capability of resuming trade with them today could not be done.
“The job is to get the infrastructure ready now, and we have had the infrastructure there for decades since 1882, but just because it went away in the 70’s when the European Union connection with the UK does not mean we do not have the infrastructure, the people on the ground ready to do the job we need them to do.”
Ultimately, Mr. Peters proclaimed that Mr. Johnson’s victory as the new British Prime Minister will be good for NZ-UK relations, as the the latter “has serious affection and great admiration” for New Zealand.