New Zealand’s deputy prime minister says UK not ‘match fit’ for post-Brexit deal negotiations

PUBLISHED: 14:14 12 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:50 12 August 2020

Boris Johnson promotes possible trade deals with New Zealand and Australia using Tim Tams. Photograph: Number 10/Twitter.

Boris Johnson promotes possible trade deals with New Zealand and Australia using Tim Tams. Photograph: Number 10/Twitter.

Archant

New Zealand’s deputy prime minister has said the UK government is not ‘match fit’ for negotiations over a post-Brexit trade deal.

Become a Supporter

Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only continue to grow with your support.

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.


Have your say

Send your letters for publication to The New European by emailing letters@theneweuropean.co.uk by Tuesday at 9am and pick up an edition each Thursday for more comment and analysis. Find your nearest stockist here, read the newspaper on our app, or subscribe to a print or digital edition for just £13. You can also join our readers' Facebook group to keep the discussion and debate going with thousands of fellow pro-Europeans.


“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.

“And in terms of their trading skills and finesse and their firepower – without being critical – they’ve never had an outing lately.

“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.”

You may also want to watch:

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

Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press with your support. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Become a supporter

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £20

Latest Articles

Most Read

latest issue

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Find your nearest pro-European campaigning activities, talks, protests and events nationwide.