Our relationship with the UK

New Zealand has an important relationship with the UK based on our shared history, strong people to people links,  common values and interests, and ongoing cooperation at all levels of government. There are regular high-level visits between the two countries.

New Zealand and the UK enjoy close connections in a range of areas including extensive- trade, investment, and commercial ties, and in science and technology.  The UK remains a significant export destination and source of tourists.  We share a distinguished record of active service and defence cooperation around the world.  New Zealand and the UK have a close intelligence and security partnership.  We are also closely aligned on a number of foreign policy issues and work closely together in multilateral institutions including in the Commonwealth and the UN.

Our governments draw on each other’s experiences in domestic policy in areas such as social and health reforms, and education and public sector reform. We have many agreements that help maintain our close connections, including the reciprocal working holiday scheme, a reciprocal Health Services Agreement, a reciprocal Agreement on Social Security, a Double Taxation Convention, and a liberal open skies agreement. 


March 2015 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$2,807 billion


Exports to the UK

$1.525 billion  

Top exports: sheep meat, wine, apples pears and quinces

Imports from the UK

$1,282 billion

Top imports: motor vehicles, turbo jets and turbo-propellers, trailers and semi-trailers


US$2,945 billion

GDP per capita US$45,653 (NZ GDP per capita is US$43,837)
GDP growth  3.0%  

The UK is the top destination for New Zealand’s goods and services exports within the EU, and a natural base for New Zealand companies doing business in Europe. It's a very important market for our agricultural, food and beverage exports, as well as high-value manufactured products.

The United Kingdom holds the third largest stock of foreign direct investment in New Zealand, behind Australia and the USA. The United Kingdom is a significant destination for New Zealand foreign direct investment in Europe.

The UK Government has designated the Christchurch earthquake rebuild, and Auckland’s infrastructure expansion as one of 100 global high-value opportunities for investment. UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) has an office in Auckland, and is working with major UK companies to support their engagement in these infrastructure projects.

Foreign policy, defence and security

New Zealand and the UK are closely aligned on a range of foreign policy, trade, defence, and security issues.  Following the visit of UK Foreign Secretary,  William Hague, to New Zealand in January 2013, both countries agreed to hold annual Strategic Dialogue talks for consultations on key foreign and security policy issues.

A recent example of our cooperation in this area is our shared contribution to the international security and peacebuilding mission in Afghanistan, where the New Zealand Defence Force contributed to the UK-led Afghan Nation Army Officer Academy.  New Zealand also supports the UK’s Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflicts initiative.  We are working closely together to counter the threat of international terrorism, including the emergence of ISIL and foreign fighters.

History and culture

New Zealand and the UK share important historical links and we take every opportunity to reinforce those bonds. The First World War centenary commemorations 2014-18 are a prime opportunity for strengthening the relationship, and New Zealand has a broad programme of cultural and public events planned to support the commemorations.

Find out more about the WW100 commemorations (external link)

Working Holiday Scheme

New Zealanders aged between 17 and 30 can apply for a 2-year working holiday visa for the United Kingdom.

To apply, you can submit an application online.

For more information, see the UK Government website (external link).

United Kingdom citizens aged between 18 and 30 can apply for a 12 or 23-month Working Holiday Visa.

Read more about a Working Holiday Visa for New Zealand (external link).

To apply, you can submit an application online (external link).


Recent official visits

New Zealand to the UK
  • November 2015: Prime Minister John Key visited London to meet with Prime Minister Cameron and had an audience with the Queen
  • October 2015: Minister for Sport Johnathan Coleman visited London where he met with the UK’s Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, Tracey Crouch
  • June 2015: Minister for Immigration and for Police Michael Woodhouse, visited for meetings with counterparts in the UK 
  • June 2015: Minister for Revenue and Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Todd McClay visited for meetings with counterparts in the UK
  • April 2015: Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee and Speaker of the House David Carter attended ANZAC Day centenary commemorations 
 The UK to New Zealand
  • April 2015: Under Secretary of State, and Lords Spokesman on Defence Lord Astor of Hever attended for ANZAC Day commemoration ceremonies 
  • February 2015: Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Philip Hammond visited for meetings with New Zealand counterparts
  • July 2014: Minister of State for Trade and Investment Lord Livingston visited to explore opportunities in the Christchurch rebuild 
  • August 2013: Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow visited for meetings with New Zealand counterparts.


News & Events

2017 New Zealand General Election

Latin America
Middle East
North Asia
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South East Asia

The General Election will be held on 23 September 2017. Voters who are overseas can vote from 6 September to 23 September.

Battle of Messines Centenary

United Kingdom

The New Zealand National Commemoration for the centenary of the Battle of Messines will take place on 7 June 2017.