Prime Minister English chooses Europe for his first overseas trip of 2017

Prime Minister Bill English

In his first overseas trip for 2017, Prime Minister Bill English will three European capital to discuss issues including trade and security.

“This is an opportunity to exchange views on a range of issues facing Europe and the world, and to reaffirm that New Zealand remains a committed friend and partner,” Mr English says.

“The focus of my trip will be to advance New Zealand business and trade opportunities in the region, including starting the negotiations on an FTA with the European Union this year.”

In Brussels, Mr English will meet with the three Presidents of the EU – European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Parliament President Martin Schulz.

He will also meet with Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel. (Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Reynders Didier  is on a visit to New Zealand this week.).

In London, Mr English will meet Prime Minister Theresa May and Mayor Sadiq Khan.

“I will be interested to hear Prime Minister May’s views on Brexit and will take the opportunity to reaffirm New Zealand’s commitment to working toward a high quality trade deal when the UK is in a position to negotiate,” Mr English says.

In Berlin, Mr English will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble.

Mr English will be accompanied by Trade Minister Todd McClay in Brussels and Foreign Minister Murray McCully in London and Berlin. Dr Mary English will accompany her husband.

The visit runs from January 9-18, during which Mr English will also meet a range of other government, business and academic leaders to hear their views on the political, economic and security situation in the region and about opportunities for New Zealand there.


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A good safe choice. The last thing he should do is to visit Trumpland or anywhere controversial.

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Like Israel!

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As far as trade is concerned China is by far our most important Country to get right. He needs to visit China often and as soon as possible so that he fully understands the consequences of some of the decisions America will be asking him to take. Burying ones head in the sand and pretending to be an ostritch is not a good option when it comes to China.

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Does anyone have any updates on how our FTA "upgrade" is going?

Just curious is all - would be good to understand if we are walking the talk there.

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Developing new wide ranging trade treaties with the UK and Japan should be our priority. NZ still is essentially an offshore colony of the UK unable to develop comprehensive foreign and defence policy itself. Trump simply reflects realism. China remains a replicate economy and copyist and a military dictatorship secondary to Russia which offers a realistic hard hitting approach to terrorists and the Middle East where democracy is impossible. Avoiding collateral damage is a failed policy since LBJ.

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The UK wants to have more trade with China, now that she is leaving the EU.
Both the US and Japan have huge trade with China. US cars are made in China. Boeing planes are sold to China. Japanese cars are made in China.
We tried to get better trade deals with both Japan and the US during TPP negotiations but they ignored us or complained that our demands were unreasonable.
The real problem is that the US pacific fleet is determined to keep China under their thumb and they cannot accept China on an equal level. They need to do a deal with China before a trade war or real war errupts.

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We have little in common with China, while the US, UK and Russia are essentially of similar northern european white stock as ourselves. Accepting Chinese regional dominance would seem to me disastorous and New Zealand needs to develop a more modern economy that rewards people with skills, beauty and real qualifications. An agricultural economy can not be an advanced society because it favours people with simple repetitive skills and unattractive unintellignent ugly people are often the most effective farmers, think grizz Wyllie, Collin Meads and EWwen mCDonald. As I predicted synthetic milk has now been developed and our fattening pure protein milk is about the last thing the modern women needs and it would be great if we moved away from the milk powder economy and fully privatised Fonterra ending the cooperative and the right of inefficient famers to their lifestyle.
A tourist economy might create many more jobs and an agricultural economy, is built around low pay third world jobs.. In the late 1960s many Tory Mps could not understand why an advanced nation like New Zealand would want to remain an aricultural economy and the Head of the world bank Robert McNammara found Muldoons attiude that New Zealand was a backward agricultural nation ridiculous. We were actually one of the most advanced nations on earth and it is inexplicable why Muldoon and Clark have taken us back to being an agricultural backwater. The government has done nothing to make it easier to overcome planning obstacles to allow large new hotel developments and restore 24 hour licensing and the end of the reactional zeal the police enforce no intoxication rules which restrict people going out and enjoying themselves all night. I think individuals should be welcome drinking alone in lounge bars, I see nothing wrong with it . The puritan attiude of the social medicine doctors and the Act party remains hypocritical. I always found the greatest difficulty being served in the Banks Brewer Nuffield st bar. And I have never been served in the Hummingbird in Wellington were I find the staff treat me with more hostility than any bar in the country.. And the General Practioner bar is almost as uncooperative. Tourism also requires the raillways to be developed for moden inter city passenger travel which is certainly possible and more sensible than moving freight by rail over distances of no more than 400 miles. The current Northern Explorer trainset is the first comfortable and economically sensible carriage stock for NZR since the 1920s trains like the Southerner or old Overland were so outdated nobody could have exoected them to attract passengers and a priority should be the development of hourly passenger rail services from Auckalnd to Hamilton and Wellington to Palmerston North and Wanganui. Extending rail elecrification from Hamilton to Papakura would cost less than reo0pening the rial line to Kaikoura in why the rail ferry service is about to be abandoned anyway.

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I am not afraid of China. I think they are following the Dutch trading model rather than the english colonial model.
The Chinese and the Americans made a deal after vietnam whereby China would concentrate on its economy and wouldn't try to take over any more countries. It was a great deal but It worked too well from America's point of view and they are getting nervous that China is getting too powerful so they are trying to stop China.
If America plays it wrong then they could stuff up this centuary in much the same way that the europeans stuffed up most of last centuary, starting with world war one.
Anyway I like having this discussion. Most kiwis are being sidetracked by unimportant stuff they see in the local news.

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Nonsense. Dealing with Mr Trump is simple. All he asks is that you remember who is President and of what size and power country. You should be doing that anyway.
NZ just needs to pull its head in and offer profitable propositions and it will do fine.
The question is whether our leaders are willing to check their egos. The previous PM did a lot of travel but the trade outcome failed. There is an opportunity to learn from that. Ms Clark and Mr Key arguably prioritised their own personal careers over the interests of our country and so we need to reign that back in a bit and restore some genuine accountability back to foreign policy.

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you say, "offer profitable propositions...."
I thought FTA was trade free from political interference in the trade routes between the producer of goods and services and the consumer.
Am I wrong? Has Mr Trump another interpretation of free trade?

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English needs to visit Germany where most of the population "Rents" is a great place to study and bring back relevant information to stop all the negativate complaints about our cheap comparable housing market.

Germany everyone rents and there is no entitlement brigade on home ownership.

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They also have much more protection for renters. Let's see how well that suggestion goes down with the grey hair brigade.

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"Germany everyone rents..." is plain wrong. Please inform yourself before making broad claims about the alleged utopia of being a tenant in Germant. 52.5% of Germans own their own homes (2014 data, source Eurostat).

In any case, if so many people don't own their own homes, who does? Large investment firms, insurance companies, mum and dad landlords, local social housing trusts. The ultimate owner of those landlords are mainly households.

The difference between renting and owning in a non-speculative market should be small. House prices should reflect the net present value of actual or imputed rents.

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Pretty sure that German residential rental contracts are like commercial rental contracts here. No forced hand holding that the current rental laws in NZ require. And really hard to evict tenants as long as they pay the rent and keep the property clean.

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