Simon Bridges suggests New Zealand teams up with India on space exploration

Simon Bridges has proposed New Zealand team up with India on "space cooperation".

The National Party leader has just wrapped up an "invigorating, exciting" trip to the subcontinent, saying everyone there is "crying out for our products".

"A high-quality comprehensive free trade agreement is where our sights should be," he wrote on Facebook on Saturday, bemoaning the cost of Kiwi wine in the world's largest democracy.

"Tariffs on the wine are 150 percent, so I haven't been reaching for the Oyster Bay sav while I've been here."

He said just "selling more stuff" to India wasn't an option, "particularly dairy. We are not and will never flood this market. We want to do more with India, not just sell more".

Bridges suggested New Zealand could find more opportunities in things we have in common, like a love of cricket.

"How do we work together on that? Youth exchanges? And what about something as left-field as space cooperation. India will any day now become the fourth country to land on the moon. New Zealand manufactures components for space exploration, it may be a fertile area for us to explore."

India's first attempt at landing a probe on the moon was declared a failure less than an hour-and-a-half after Bridges' Facebook post however, scientists losing contact with the Vikram lander about two kilometres from the moon's surface.

New Zealand became the 12th country to put satellites in space last year, with the launch of Rocket Lab's Electron. India was the seventh, achieving the feat in 1980.

Non-space flights a 'logical next step'

Bridges said direct flights to India - presumably in planes, not spaceships - would be a "logical next step".

"The Prime Minister and her ministers should visit India often," he wrote. "I would if I was Prime Minister."

Accompanying Bridges on his week-long trip were National MPs Gerry Brownlee and Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi.

"India is an exciting place. It is the biggest population of under 35-year-olds in the world and growing, reportedly needing a million more jobs each month for that younger demographic," Bridges said. 

"Our countries have plenty we can offer each other and we need to realise the potential."