UK Investment Minister says British infrastructure firms will 'literally help build NZ's future' with preparations for NZ/UK FTA negotiations underway

UK Investment Minister Graham Stuart

The UK’s Investment Minister is on a flattery offensive in the wake of Brexit, talking up the opportunities for British infrastructure firms to invest in New Zealand.

Speaking at Infrastructure New Zealand’s ‘Building Nations Symposium’ in Auckland, Graham Stuart urged delegates to “look at what UK firms are offering” and consider what they can offer these firms in return.

“Whether to share best practice, facilitate finance or bring critical expertise, we want you to see the UK as the delivery partner of choice as you deliver these critical infrastructure projects,” he said.

Stuart mentioned the contribution UK infrastructure firms are already making to the likes of Auckland’s City Rail Link, redevelopment of Auckland Airport and urban regeneration projects.

“British companies will quite literally help build New Zealand’s future.”

Stuart highlighted some of the projects underway in the UK, including the Thames Tideway Tunnel - a 25km sewer that runs under the tidal section of the Thames River, a high-speed rail network that links eight of Britain’s largest 10 cities, and the Nine Elms project - the construction of 20,000 new homes on post-industrial land in London.

Stuart acknowledged the way Britain’s accession to the European Economic Community in 1973 severed trade ties with New Zealand, but credited New Zealand for reacting by becoming “one of the world’s great free trading countries”.

“New Zealand is the only country to successfully conclude FTAs with China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. It’s an example we in the UK can learn much from,” he said.

“The global framework of free and open trade, from which both our nations have prospered, can no longer be taken for granted. The virtues of free, open, liberalised trade are truly under threat. So more than ever, it falls to countries like Britain and New Zealand to lead the global trading community.

“A free trading agreement between us would be a powerful symbol of this - a blueprint for the rest of the world, showcasing the benefits of unimpeded bilateral trade…

“I can assure you New Zealand will have no firmer ally than Great Britain. Let’s show the world how it can be done…

“Our leaving the European Union is a unique moment for both Britain and New Zealand to renew our friendship, strengthen our commercial ties and look to the future.”

The office of New Zealand Trade Minister David Parker confirmed government officials from the two countries are in discussion over preparations for FTA negotiations.

The UK government on July 20 also called for public submissions on a UK/NZ FTA. These submissions are due on October 28.

“New Zealand and the UK are like-minded partners that support free trade, and are committed to rejecting trade protectionism,” Parker’s office said.

It also clarified: “The Brexit agreement between the UK and the European Union is yet to be finalised. But as per the draft Withdrawal Treaty currently being negotiated, the UK will be able to negotiate, sign and ratify its own trade agreements from 30 March 2019, provided they enter into force after 31 December 2020 (the proposed end to the transition period).”

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Wouldn't Japan be better to help NZ with infrastructure projects?


Interesting you should mention this J.C. I had a good (on the record) conversation at the conference with the head of MUFG Bank New Zealand - a subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group which is incorporated in Japan. He said the Bank was really keen to invest in infrastructure projects, but wanted some certainty from the Government around the model to use to facilitate this investment. I believe we will see a Government announcement made on this issue in coming days.  

Interesting news. Thanks for that.

I agree. Japan has several financial institutions and pension funds with deep pockets actively looking for opportunities to invest in long-term growth capital like public infrastructure projects. I'd prefer the government NZ works with the Jap corporations instead of becoming yet another vassal of the imperialist Chinese government through the OBOR initiative.


We need investors and, in tumultuous geopolitical conditions, we need to choose these with an extreme of care. In particular, it's high time we took account of what befalls those indebted to China. There is a world of opportunity out there beyond the FTA with China - which determined NZ policy thinking almost exclusively under the National government. The EU and UK are now both in play, along with Japan, and it's time we made some better friends.

Why do we need investors?

The $64,000 question.

It isn't investment, as in, proactive help. It's what's in it that we can extract by way of profit? If the project is to do with internal churn, we're worse, off. Only if we can lever exports off it, and only then if parameters remain static, is it worth contemplating.

But given that money is only digital debt, there's no reason we couldn't use a local keyboard. Those old Social Credit folks just might have been onto something.

How sweet, that you seem to think New Zealand is in a position to pick and choose between investors. With all the "Not Welcome Here" signs being slammed up by the Government I think it unlikely that we will have that luxury

England will be looking to reestablish trading links with its commonwealth to offset any downside of Brexit.
so that puts NZ along with Australia and Canada at the top of the pile

I sort of wonder if there will be a rebirth of a new worldwide free trade zone once Britain joins the TTPPA or whatever it is now called. Sort of history revolving.


“New Zealand is the only country to successfully conclude FTAs with China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. It’s an example we in the UK can learn much from,” he said.

Our deal with China is unique, because we are the only country willing to cede/rollover on every single term and condition.

“I can assure you New Zealand will have no firmer ally than Great Britain. Let’s show the world how it can be done…

Yes, until they find another firmer ally.

“Our leaving the European Union is a unique moment for both Britain and New Zealand to renew our friendship, strengthen our commercial ties and look to the future.”
So we ban Poms from buying houses


Why should "poms" get to buy NZ houses? Unless the are settling in NZ, becoming NZ-ers and contributing to NZ society? I'm a "pom" but I don't see the sense in NZ selling homes as assets to foreign interests when they have a housing shortage. It's bonkers.


Totally agree.

Because we can buy houses in Pomgolia?, albeit punitive stamp duties and conveyancing fees

I would remind you that the "Poms" all got shipped to Australia! So in reality it is the Australians who are really "Poms"!

That should get a bite. But it is true - the word derives from the stamp on the clothing of the convicts shipped to Australia, "POHM" or Prisoners of Her/His Majesty. (I can't remember who has the throne then). So we should all be calling the Aussies Poms!

"Pommy or Pom

The terms Pommy, Pommie and Pom, in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand usually denotes an English person (or, less commonly, people from other parts of the UK).[6] The Oxford Dictionary defines their use as "often derogatory"[7] but after complaints to the Australian Advertising Standards Board regarding five advertisements poking fun at "Poms", the board ruled in 2006 that these words are inoffensive, in part because they are "largely used in playful or affectionate terms".[8] The New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority made a similar ruling in 2010.[9] Indeed, the BBC itself has used the phrase upon occasion.[10]

There are several folk etymologies for "Pommy" or "Pom". The best-documented of these is that "Pommy" originated as a contraction of "pomegranate".[11][12] According to this explanation, "pomegranate" was Australian rhyming slang for "immigrant" ("Jimmy Grant").[13] Usage of "pomegranate" for English people may have been strengthened by a belief in Australia that sunburn occurred more frequently amongst English immigrants, turning those with fair skin the colour of pomegranates.[14] Another explanation – now generally considered to be a false etymology – was that "Pom" or "Pommy" were derived from an acronym such as POM ("Prisoner of Millbank"), POME ("Prisoner of Mother England") or POHMS ("Prisoner Of Her Majesty's Service").[15] However, there is no evidence that such terms, or their acronyms, were used in Australia when "Pom" and "Pommy" entered use there"

I'd just call a Pom a Pom and be done with it; the difference is these days Aussies sandpaper their balls in public

Yes Kiwichas, i know all that but it is much more fun to call an Aussie a Pom. Try it. It is entertaining! After all they LOVE to dis us.

A little known fact about the prisoners that went to Australia is that most of them had skills which is what Australia needed at that time as a new country..

Good to see that it still works both ways.. The English will forever be grateful for the sacrifices of New Zealanders and Australians to maintain our ways and democracy (sure we've messed it up ourselves since then)... That and that we didn't have to learn German, which without assistance would have been a reality and none of us would have the lives we have now...We're also crap at learning foreign languages.

Maybe we now have a chance to repay a small part of what we will always owe (The EU thing was a major mistake in the 1970's) and hopefully, if the ties are still there, then it'll be worth more to the Country each year than our annual sacrifice of 15 men on a rugby field!

That and that we didn't have to learn German, which without assistance would have been a reality and none of us would have the lives we have now...We're also crap at learning foreign languages

Because the Germans and Japanese are speaking English now?


We don't need investment.

Because we have to pay more for it than if we did it ourselves. That was the old IMF/World Bank crock that was peddled to the Third World. Then when they defaulted, guess who 'owned' the resources? I've just been in a place where Japan, China, the US (and us) are all competing with aid/investment. Street-lights where there are no streets, wharves where there are no boats, made one think....

But I suspect this one is in desperation. Britain is no longer an Empire, and the Norrth Sea is just about done. Her teeming hordes are p---ed off at having no chance (though they're miles better off than Mumbai dump-dwellers) and the underlying problem (population vs resources) has no immediate answer.

And, like them, we have a never-bigger collection of infrastructure all of which is aging. We'll be into triage territory even with what we've got - let alone more.

As a British person I'd point out that they are desperate for something that looks like progress but it's too early to do a deal. Let the EU apply the pressure, then we swoop in and ruthlessly exploit their position to get an excellent trade deal.

If I was conducting the free trade negotiations my starting offer would be that we will treat UK goods and services as though they were from NZ and they treat our goods and services as though they were from the UK. And then go from there. No need to have any tariffs between the two countries. Also, I would want to make it easier for the movement of people.

> Also, I would want to make it easier for the movement of people.

The UK has become an Islamic hell hole. It would be a huge mistake to let their new culture leak over to NZ.
The Mayor of London is a Muslim. The children in a lot of schools are of this culture as well. This idea is madness.

I imagine that UK farmers would be rather nervous at the thought of a FTA between the UK and NZ. But then we had essentially free trade with the UK before they jointed the EU and UK farmers seemed able to live with that.

So many advantages to this including access to a market of 60-something million people , who have the same language, culture and legal system , the same understanding of the laws of contract

And right now we could do with access to investment in our infrastructure

Agreed Boatman. These trade deals are a bit like choosing a partner I suppose. Nice if they are attractive... If they come with a big dowry, that's beneficial in financial terms... But after the lust of money and good youthful looks fades, it's nice to share a common language, similar beliefs, culture, laws, ability to communicate with their managers and a sense of humour too... Call me old fashioned. If your partner shares the latter along with former of being good looking and having the financial strength to provide then that's a win/win relationship.

Maybe we could bring down the price of GIB they have something called Gypsum board which is better that GIB in my opinion

Winstone Wallboards make the best internal wall linings in the world. We can’t risk the quality of our building materials just to make things a little bit more affordable.


UK also makes some really excellent flat -pack houses , which we could really do with right now to break the price rigging criminal cartel in our building supply chain

We do flat-pack here. It's just industry and customer ignorance that stops it being endemic.

We do... but not nearly anywhere near properly! Big scale factories and expertise where we employ large numbers of kiwis and send the bloody logs abroad with value added as a complete set; house you can put up anywhere in the world in 20 days of it arriving out of our containers.... That is what we need to be doing.. Primary bloody industry... it doesn't happen though while our capital is all tied up in housing debt competing with foreign cash.... maybe this watermark is the turning point....

Free trade as in unfettered access to the UK for our lamb, butter, dairy and beef ?

Is that what he means - Not a show in hell.

Just usual free trade clap trap by someone who hasn't a clue as this simply isn't going to happen.

Better to give it a new name - just not " Free Trade " ….

I am old enough to remember 1973 when the UK joined the EEC as it was then. It was quick enough then to show NZ the back of its hand and now it wants to come crawling back. Sorry Poms,we don't want your overpriced poor quality things/trinkets. We have moved on and have new trading partners in the Pacific rim and Asia

Yes, we were bit@h slapped proper. Wonder if they'll reverse the working visa rules if we let them back into our sandpit?

Exactly. Was discussing this with my German boss and a British counterpart where I am working the other day.

IMO our gov'ts words to them should be along the lines of: "Remember 1973 and the impact you joining the EEC had on our industries reliant on trade with the "mother country"? Now F#&k off."

Sure, we are much more diversified and a much more balanced oversea markets portfolio than we did back then so it could be argued that is the longer term the UK joining the EEC was a good thing for us but they didn't want us then, why should be want them now?


I say be very careful of getting in to bed with the Poms they dicked us over big time in the 70's they are on the back foot now looking for trade partners after Brexit !

What next, are we going to start importing Russian cars again!? The British have made a spectacle out of their own housing crisis.

The idea that the British are going to 'help' improve our situation is delusional .. and entertaining the idea is a sign of desperation.