PM John Key on Brexit: 'Nothing has changed'

PM John Key on Brexit: 'Nothing has changed'

Prime Minister John Key has responded to the decision Britain has made to leave the European Union.

Mr Key says the decision was always for voters in the UK to make and New Zealand respects their choice.

"We will continue to have a strong relationship with both the EU and the UK, and to further develop our ties with both. In this respect, nothing has changed," says Mr Key.

"The UK remains a member of the EU for the moment and it will take some time to work through the implications of their decision to leave."

The result will have no real effect on New Zealand's international trade agreements -- for the moment, at least.

"In terms of our existing trade arrangements, the immediate effects of the leave vote on New Zealand are likely to be limited and we expect that trade and other business activities will continue smoothly in the interim," Mr Key says.

"We remain committed to the launch of formal negotiations on an EU FTA, and will be working with the UK as they go through the process of leaving the EU to put in place new trading arrangements."

But Labour leader Andrew Little says the period will be difficult to negotiate.

"Right now the first thing they need to be doing is setting up talks with the UK government to get a free trade agreement with the UK directly, and they've also got to make sure the talks with the rest of the EU for a free trade agreement don't get stalled or diverted in any way."

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the vote is a wake-up call for democracies everywhere.

"I joined the 'Leave' campaign at the 'Leave' campaign's request and I am delighted the British people exhibited the same character they showed when they confronted Hitler," Mr Peters said.

The trigger point that focused so many voters was the effect of mass immigration on their country, and their own economic and social futures, he said.

This all comes as British Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation as a result of the vote.

Newshub. / NZN