|Head of State
|Queen Elizabeth II
Bill English (National Party, since December 2016)
|Size||268,021 km² (103,483 sq. miles)|
|Next legislative election||23 September 2017|
|Last meeting with Theresa May||13 January 2017|
|Relationship with UK||Trade between New Zealand and the UK was worth £3 billion last year and the UK is New Zealand’s fifth largest trading partner. Now the countries are looking at a potential future free trade agreement to extend the economic partnership. In terms of security and defence, New Zealand and the UK agreed that the ceasefire in Syria should be fully implemented and stood together at the UN Security Council on aviation security issues. Both countries are members of the Commonwealth.|
|What Mr English said on Brexit||13 January 2017
“Our relationship will remain strong once the UK leaves the European Union.”
“We are ready to negotiate a high-quality free trade agreement with the UK when it is in a position to do so. We already have a strong and diversified trading relationship with the UK and a free trade agreement will build on that.”
|New Zealand’s priorities||New Zealanders will vote in parliamentary elections on 23 September 2017, and the National Government’s priorities prior to that point will be maintaining economic stability and solving the country’s urban housing crisis. An election year will inevitably lead to a series of campaign promises, with the centre-right Government tipped to offer tax cuts to middle-income earners, having already pledged additional funds to policing, healthcare, and to a new strategy aimed at improving the life-chances of children and young people. New Zealand’s passionately pro-trade Prime Minister is also seeking to initiate a series of bi-lateral and multi-lateral trade agreements over the next six months.
While the National Party leads in the polls, a fourth-consecutive term in government may be threatened by an unpopular proposal to raise the retirement age, and the Government’s refusal to launch an inquiry into New Zealand’s controversial involvement in a military raid in Afghanistan in 2010, which led to a number of civilian casualties.
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