Simon Bridges describes new British PM Boris Johnson as having 'buffoon-like quality'

National leader Simon Bridges has described the incoming British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as having "buffoon-like qualities".

Bridges was asked in Parliament on Wednesday what he thought of the new British leader who will replace Theresa May. He said he had met Johnson before, and said he was "very impressive".

"This is a guy who can be on, can be off - he's got that buffoon-like quality," Bridges said, going on to further describe Johnson as "mercurial".

"I think he's going to be good for New Zealand and I saw that because he has a real regard for Commonwealth," Bridges said.

"And his position on Brexit, whilst people in Britain will have different views, I think it's good for New Zealand," he added, referring to Johnson's threat of a no-deal Brexit.

"It means they're going to be very motivated for a free trade agreement and he's made quite clear we'll be one of, if not the first, block," Bridges said.

He described the new Tory leader as being "more outward-looking" and said despite Britain going through a "pretty grim time", Johnson will "give it more optimism".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had a different perspective on a no-deal Brexit.

"I don't think would be good for the UK's existing trading partners and New Zealand's not alone in that," she said in Parliament on Wednesday.

"We have the added downside that no-deal Brexit would mean that there would be a lot of demand for trade agreements," Ardern said.

"At the moment, if there is an orderly exit, we have particularly a much higher ranking in terms of negotiating that agreement. There is that added weight and downside to that."

When asked to describe Johnson in one word, Ardern said: "Seasoned."

"With the role that I play, my job is to work with whoever is elected. [Johnson] knows New Zealand well, and that at least is a really positive starting point for our relationship - he has that familiarity."

Ardern said she sent Johnson a text message saying "kia ora Boris" and he sent one back saying "kia ora Jacinda".

"In my message, I acknowledged that although this will be a busy time for him and his government, particularly with Brexit, I look forward to meeting soon and he acknowledged the same."


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