Canada Conservatives vote for free movement, trade with New Zealand

Canada's official opposition party has reportedly voted "almost unanimously" for unrestricted free movement for New Zealanders.

The Conservative Party of Canada, commonly referred to as the Tories, gathered in Halifax for a three-day policy convention where they discussed and voted on issues including abortion, euthanasia and the country's 'birthright citizenship' law, which grants citizenship to anyone born on Canadian soil.

Daniel Hannan, a Conservative Member of the European Parliament, tweeted on Sunday (local time) that the Conservatives had voted in favour of a policy which would grant New Zealand citizens freedom of movement within Canada.

Australians and UK citizens would also benefit from the proposed law, which Mr Hannan says would also mean free trade and "enhanced co-operation" among the four countries.

The idea has been talked about for some time, but gained momentum in 2018 thanks to non-profit organisation CANZUK International.

It's won support from several Canadian politicians, and more than 200,000 people signed an international petition demanding citizens be able to move freely without needing work permits or visa restrictions.

CANZUK says the agreement would be similar to both the European Union (EU) and the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement (TTTA) between Australia and New Zealand.

"Through mutual travel agreements and mobility schemes, Canadian, Australian, New Zealander and British governments can offer valuable economic connections, strengthen political relationships and benefit from cultural and historical traditions, while strengthening trade, investment, military and diplomatic relationships for the future," the petition description reads.

CANZUK chief executive James Skinner says with the UK due to leave the EU in 2019, it's the perfect time to introduce a free-trade agreement between the English-speaking Commonwealth nations.

"If we're looking for immigration to stimulate the Canadian economy, what better places to look than Australia, New Zealand and the UK?" he told Global News.

"I mean, we share the same language, workers from these countries are highly skilled, they're very proficient in the service industry and also the manual industry, such as oil rigging."

He says freedom of movement would have certain restrictions on those wanting to work or travel between the member countries, such as those with serious criminal records or on a terror watch list.

In early August President Donald Trump signed a new visa law allowing Kiwis better business access to the United States.