Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is joining the troupe of world leaders pressuring Britain to essentially minimise making its problems the problems of its trading partners.
She is scheduled to meet UK Prime Minister Theresa May during a visit to London on January 20 and 21.
Her office says she will “reconfirm the understanding that New Zealand will be left no worse off, including in respect of its trade interests, following the UK’s decision to leave the EU”.
“My visit to the UK is an opportunity to underline New Zealand’s position as a natural and long-standing partner for the country as it redefines its global role post-Brexit,” Ardern says.
Still 'much progress' to be made securing an FTA with Europe
While Ardern will be promoting a free trade agreement with the UK, the primary purpose of her trip is to advance a free trade agreement with Europe.
“There is still much progress to make in trade talks with our European partners, so a key focus of this whole trip is to speak to European Commission and individual country leaders to shore up support for our ongoing negotiations and ensure New Zealand exporters achieve a great deal,” she says.
Ardern will go to Switzerland on January 22, where she’ll attend the World Economic Forum in Davos with Finance Minister Grant Robertson.
She’ll participate in panel discussions, including one with the head of the World Trade Organisation on the future of the international trading system.
Robertson will also deliver the opening remarks at the Forum’s main Asia-Pacific event, a discussion on ‘Bridging the Demographic Divide’.
Ardern and Robertson have several bilateral meetings planned; Robertson’s office confirming he has these scheduled with leaders from Singapore, Denmark, France, Canada, Ireland and Chile.
They'll then go to Brussels, Belgium, where Ardern will meet with European Council president, Donald Tusk, European Commission president, Jean Claude Juncker, and NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg.
Robertson’s office says he too will meet EU commissioners responsible for the euro and the EU Budget process, as well as members of the European Parliament.
“This is a very timely trip given the dynamic global economic situation,” he says.
“While the New Zealand economy continues its stable growth, as international risks mount we must continue to engage with global partners so we are in the best position to address any issues.”
‘Wellbeing’ on show
Showcasing the government’s work using a set of wellbeing indicators to inform policymakers’ decisions and make Budget 2019 (to be released in May) the world’s first ever ‘Wellbeing Budget,’ will also be a focus for both Ardern and Robertson during their trip.
“Our wellbeing approach is generating significant international interest, particularly at a time when the international rules-based order is under strain and leaders are grappling with constituencies dissatisfied with the status quo,” Ardern says.
She will participate in a World Economic Forum panel discussion with the head of the OECD on looking beyond GDP to measure a country’s success.
Robertson will also do a talk on the Wellbeing Budget at the London School of Economics.
“I hope other leaders will come to see more compassionate domestic policy settings as a compelling alternative to the false promise of protectionism and isolation,” Ardern says.