Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Boris Johnson exchange messages

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been in touch with incoming British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, congratulating him on his election as Conservative Party leader.

Johnson was elected in a landslide victory on Tuesday (NZ Time), defeating opponent Jeremy Hunt and setting himself up to be appointed as Prime Minister.

Warm regards and congratulations were quickly sent to Johnson from world leaders, and now Ardern has added her voice to the choir.

In a statement, Ardern said she had been in contact with Johnson on Wednesday morning.

"I've had a positive text exchange with incoming Prime Minister Johnson this morning to congratulate him on his election. He said he was looking forward to working together. 

"Mr Johnson is familiar with New Zealand in his former role as Foreign Secretary and has an excellent relationship with our Foreign Minister that I am sure will be mutually beneficial for our countries."

Winston Peters has a good relationship with Johnson.
Winston Peters has a good relationship with Johnson. Photo credit: Getty.

Due to trade, the United Kingdom is extremely important to New Zealand. The lack of certainty around Brexit, including whether it will prevail with a Withdrawal Agreement passed in the UK Parliament or without a deal, means businesses are in limbo.

While a transition period would be enacted if the UK left the EU with a deal, allowing countries to establish new agreements with the UK and EU, a no-deal situation would have sudden effect.

"A no-deal Brexit would likely increase the costs and procurement times of New Zealand exports, reducing demand for these products," said IBISWorld senior industry analyst Liam Harrison in April.

"In event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK reverts to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules regarding trade, which would force the UK to place tariffs and quotas on certain products."

Ardern said that irrespective of the outcome of Brexit, New Zealand will "remain a close friend and partner of the United Kingdom and stands ready to launch negotiations towards a free trade agreement when the UK is in a position to do so".

"Our offices are in the process of scheduling a formal call once he has his feet under the desk at Number 10 and I anticipate I will have the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Johnson at the UN General Assembly in September to advance trade and other issues of mutual interest," she said.

National Party leader Simon Bridges has called Johnson a "great friend of New Zealand" while former New Zealand High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Sir Lockwood Smith lauded him on The AM Show on Wednesday morning.


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