Find out what the Government is doing to prepare for Brexit, and what the United Kingdom leaving the European Union means for New Zealand.

The Brexit process

On 23 June 2016, the British public voted to leave the European Union (EU). Both sides then entered negotiations to reach an agreement for the UK’s exit from the EU. These negotiations resulted in the UK-EU Withdrawal (external link) Agreement and the Political Declaration (external link) on the future EU-UK relationship.  

The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. The UK is no longer a Member State of the EU and there are now 27 EU Member States.

The UK is currently in a transition period following its departure from the EU. This period comes to an end on 31 December 2020.

New Zealand has strong relationships with the EU and UK and these will continue. The New Zealand Prime Minister, Ministers and government officials will continue to work closely with the EU and the UK to protect and enhance our relationships with both throughout this process.

If you have questions or concerns about how Brexit and the future relationship between the UK and EU may impact your business, email us on exports@mfat.net or call  us on 0800 824 605.

The UK transition period

The UK has entered an ‘implementation” or transition period with the EU that ends on 31 December 2020.   During this period, the UK remains in the EU customs union and single market, and existing UK-EU trading arrangements continue, subject to EU rules and regulations.

The objective of the transition period is to allow the UK and EU time to negotiate the terms of their future trade, political and security relationship. 

During the transition period, the existing situation for New Zealanders living, travelling and doing business in the UK and EU remains unchanged.

The UK government has provided guidance for businesses and individuals on changes beyond the transition period which can be found here (external link).

Advancing New Zealand's interests

The UK and EU are, and will remain, close and important partners for New Zealand.

The New Zealand Government has therefore been paying close attention to how Brexit unfolds, to ensure New Zealand’s interests are advanced and protected. The government has engaged at all levels with decision-makers in the UK and the EU system, particularly on trade and economic matters. Our aim is to ensure we minimise any disruption to New Zealand individuals and businesses affected by the post-Brexit outcome, and that New Zealand is no worse off as a result of the changes.

This includes protecting our current market access arrangements to the EU and the UK, including quota access into the EU and UK post-Brexit. A ministerial statement containing more detail on this is available here (external link).

The government has also started negotiations towards a free trade agreement (FTA) with the UK. Further information on the UK-NZ FTA negotiations can be found here.

What will happen to our broader relationship with the UK?

On issues such as defence, security and immigration, our relationship with the UK is not affected by the change in the UK’s relationship with the EU. These issues are generally governed by bilateral arrangements separate from the EU.