New Zealand’s deputy prime minister says UK not ‘match fit’ for post-Brexit deal negotiations
- Credit: Archant
New Zealand's deputy prime minister has said the UK government is not 'match fit' for negotiations over a post-Brexit trade deal.
Winston Peters, who leads the New Zealand First party and is in a coalition government with Jacinda Ardern, said he was 'very frustrated' with the progress.
But Peters, who has reportedly hired Leave.EU to help with his election campaign, blamed the EU for the government's inability to negotiate a deal at pace.
'We've had to look offshore for a long time and so we are seriously match fit when it comes to that, in a way that I don't believe that the UK is, because the UK has been locked up in the EU all these years,' he said.
You may also want to watch:
'And in terms of their trading skills and finesse and their firepower – without being critical – they've never had an outing lately.
- 1 Tory MP blames 'chaotic parents' for children going to school hungry
- 2 Boris Johnson 'hid in bedroom' to avoid grilling on Brexit stance days before becoming PM
- 3 Danny Dyer praised for criticisms of Tory party - pointing out Etonians can't run the country
- 4 UKIP set to select 'Dr Gammons' as candidate for London mayoral election
- 5 Boris Johnson warned majority will be 'wiped out' over treatment towards north of England
- 6 Third Tory MP who rejected extending free school meals is targeted with local protests
- 7 Piers Morgan calls Boris Johnson a 'blustering buffoon' in attack on PM's handling of Covid-19 pandemic
- 8 Boris Johnson 'frantically repositioning' himself for Donald Trump to lose election
- 9 Government hands private companies £180m to carry out Brexit contracts
- 10 Liz Truss' department slammed for false claim about cost of soy sauce after Brexit
'They've never had a test, so to speak. It's like coming into an Ashes contest when you haven't played for 30 years – it's the same thing in the UK when it comes to this.'
He added: 'Here we are out here in the South Pacific, ourselves and Australia, and we believe we're totally match fit and ready to go.
'We just need the British to realise that you can do more than one deal at a time.'
He suggested that Theresa May's government had allowed 'inertia' to set in while focused on Brexit.
'Where you have a decision to leave the EU and you don't have leading the exiting party, a prime minister committed to the departure it's somewhat predictable that inertia would set in.
'And that's what we've been witnessing from our part of the world until Boris (Johnson) turned up.'
In June, Johnson celebrated the launch of trade talks with a series of videos on social media, calling it a 'big moment'.
He said: 'We have a fantastic opportunity now to bring our two countries closer than ever before.'
A second round of trade talks with New Zealand is planned for October after initial negotiations in July.
Peters' comments come after it emerged talks on a UK-Japan trade deal had hit a snag over the treatment of Stilton cheese.
A Department for International Trade [DIT] spokesperson said: 'We are excited by the possibility of a free trade deal, the first round of talks with New Zealand were positive and productive. We're a step closer to reaching a comprehensive trade deal to boost trade and investment between our like-minded economies.
'DIT is focused on securing Free Trade Agreements that secure benefits for every region and nation of the UK and talks are up and running.'
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.