Patrick Gower: Thanks Boris, it's been real

OPINION: Boris Johnson made lots of mates in New Zealand: a tuatara, a takahē and Gerry Brownlee.

But when it came to Prime Minister Theresa May back in England, he put her back in the well and truly 'frenemy' zone.

Boris Johnson repeatedly refuses to rule out challenging for the Tory party leadership.

That's no surprise - but it shows BoJo's charm offensive and soothing noises should be taken with caution.

The uncertainty in the UK is made plain when the Foreign Secretary is refusing to rule out a leadership challenge to a Prime Minister.

Meanwhile the Government here is hardly filled with confidence, with Bill English openly saying he doesn't think any progress can be made on improving the rights of Kiwis in the UK until after Brexit is done.

The line is that Brexit's such a big job, the UK will just be too distracted to do anything until it is done.

The same goes with the Free Trade deal - officially, nothing can happen on that until the UK is out of the European Union.

So while there's a 'People to People dialogue' - a formal process which has been set up for the two Governments to discuss access for each other's citizens - it's something of a pyrrhic victory.

The truth is that New Zealand is way down the priority list.

It is a bit like Australia - soothing noises when the leaders meet, but just wait for another move to come out of the bureaucracy that hurts New Zealanders.

It is no wonder Brownlee has gone for setting up a "dialogue", to at least try and prevent getting blindsided.

So thanks Boris, it's been real. But let's wait and see if that "dialogue" becomes a talkfest.

Patrick Gower is Newshub's political editor.

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