Post-Brexit deal: Ardern offers no assurances for Kiwi exporters

Jacinda Ardern has arrived in the UK to make the case for a post-Brexit trade deal with New Zealand. 

But her visit couldn't come at a worse time, as her counterpart Theresa May loses grip on power, and is losing control of the Brexit process. 

While this trip was planned months ago, so the clash was unintentional, Ms May has far bigger things to deal with than trade with New Zealand. 

Brexit is a significant focus for Ms May, Ms Ardern said.

"The fact that, amongst all this disruption in the current British environment, that we have that meeting does speak to the strength of the relationship."

The UK is currently worth $3 billion for Kiwi exports. The building uncertainty around Brexit is a growing concern.

Nick Swallow, New Zealand's Trade Commissioner to London, says while everyone is hoping for the best, it's good for exporters to prepare for the worst - a no deal.

Ms Ardern says a no-deal situation would be "very damaging, and very difficult".

It would mean a temporary halt to fresh New Zealand lamb, fresh wagyu beef and fresh salmon. 

Kiwi craft beer brewer Yeastie Boys has been selling its beer in the UK for four years. While boss Stu McKinlay says Brexit won't affect him too much because he brews in the UK, other Kiwi brands aren't as lucky.

"We work closely with NZ Beer Collective; most of them are sending their beer from NZ to here, and they're very nervous about how things are," Mr McKinlay says.

Ms Ardern says she promises to lobby on behalf of Kiwi companies, but she is unable to give any reassurance.

"I'm not a British politician, so no, I cannot [give any assurances]."

Ms May's Brexit Plan B will be voted on in Parliament just hours after meeting with Ms Ardern.

After meeting with Ms May, Ms Ardern will be off to Europe to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson is accompanying Ms Ardern on the Northern Hemisphere sojourn.


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