The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern has used an interview with the BBC to let the United Kingdom know that it is time to forget about the European Union and strike a trade deal.
According to the country’s PM, New Zealand is ready and waiting to discuss how our two nations can trade together after Brexit.
To be fair, she is only recognising the fact that current talks with the EU are reaching the stage where it is looking more and more likely that a ‘good deal’ simply won’t happen, and it is reassuring to hear from a longstanding ally that they are keen to secure a long-term trading relationship.
According to a report in the Daily Mail:
The Prime Minister of New Zealand today said she is ‘here, ready and willing’ to do a post Brexit trade deal with the UK.
Jacinda Ardern said she has spoken to Theresa May’s Government ‘many times’ about striking a deal after Britain quits the EU.
And she is ready to thrash out the details and sign on the dotted line once Britain is free to do so.
Her comments are a boost to Mrs May who yesterday confirmed Britain will be quitting the EU customs union so we can strike free trade deals globally.
Ms Ardern told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today Programme: ‘Well we of course multitask, so there is a lot on our plate but it is a significant priority.
‘We have certainly put our hands up.
‘We know that the priority from the UK’s perspective is of course the Brexit negotiations themselves.
‘But beyond that we are here, ready and waiting and really willing to model what those future trading agreements from the UK’s perspective could look like.
‘So when you are ready we are.’
The New Zealand PM said she has spoken with British minsters about doing a deal many times, adding: ‘We have said we are a willing and waiting partner many times.’
She said that while many people have become disillusioned with free trade – blaming it for growing insecurity – deals bring prosperity to countries.
She said: ‘Speaking more generally, I’m very mindful of the fact that there has been an increasing scepticism about free trade agreements amid an increasing sense of financial insecurity.
‘And some people blame globalisation for that.
‘Perhaps we could say that may have bubbled up and at least have become part of the conversation.
‘What I have observed, at least form a distance, around Brexit.
‘What we want to demonstrate is that actually trade agreements should be modeled on the values you have as a nation – so we want the to be progressive and inclusive.’
Hopefully this attitude from the other side of the world will act as a post-Brexit model for other countries that are keen to sidestep EU-led attempts to drag out the whole process.
Perhaps it is time that our government stops devoting so much time and resources to arranging a deal with the EU and starts discussing trade terms with countries that are actually interested in moving on.