Kiwis to keep UK access - trade secretary

  • 26/11/2017
Kiwis to keep UK access - trade secretary
Photo credit: Getty

Britain's trade secretary does not expect Brexit to lead to tighter travel and work restrictions for Kiwis in the United Kingdom.

Liam Fox is in New Zealand until Tuesday as the two countries look to lay the framework for a new trade agreement once Britain formally leaves the European Union.

The movement of people is likely to feature in those negotiations after Brits voted to regain control of their borders and immigration during the Brexit vote, he said.

"We have always had a distortion in our immigration and people movement issues because we have compulsory free movement of people while we are in the European Union," Mr Fox told Q+A.

"Now, that's not going to happen post-Brexit because that is one of the reasons that the British people, I think, voted to leave the European Union - to get control."

But despite there being 50 percent more Australians and Kiwis in the UK than 20 years ago, he doesn't foresee access for Kiwis tightening.

"We want to make sure there is certainly not less access than there is today," he said.

He said New Zealand was particularly important to the UK as a fellow champion of global free trade.

"People may say why are you spending so much time with New Zealand, a relatively small economy," he said

"It's because it has much greater global significance than just the size of its economy. New Zealand has been out there leading the charge for global free trade," he said.

Mr Fox is due to meet ministers and the business community in Wellington and Auckland during his stay.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced earlier this year she wants to strike a trade deal with New Zealand when the UK leaves the European Union.

New Zealand is keen for such a deal and former Prime Minister Bill English was in London last month promoting the idea.