Brexit – the global opportunities

With the two year countdown until Britain leaves the European Union officially underway, Robin Shackell – British Consul General Auckland and Deputy Governor of the Pitcairn Islands -  outlines the opportunities Brexit offers, for a’ truly global Britain’ and what that could mean for New Zealand.

By Robin Shackell, British Consul General

The United Kingdom’s exit from the EU is a process that will take time. Much like when a nation forms a new government, many layers of legislation and regulation have to be confirmed, renegotiated or reformed.

In terms of the future, however, we do start from a unique position. The UK and EU have close regulatory alignment, trust in one another’s institutions, and a spirit of cooperation that stretches back decades. 

This is a period of change, but it is one which will see a truly global Britain looking outwards like never before. As a magnet for international talent, a home to pioneers and innovators and best friend and neighbour to our European partners, the UK will also reach beyond the borders of Europe to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike.

This in turn offers positive opportunities for New Zealand, whose ties to the UK remain stronger than ever. A close relationship founded on shared history, common values, government cooperation, reciprocal agreements and extensive trade, investment and commercial ties.

Those ties can be stronger still. The independent negotiation of a free trade agreement between our two countries will enable a further deepening of our trading relationship and the strengthening of both economies.

Along with being a valuable trading partner, the UK is ambitious to be the best place in the world to do business. Already the number one destination for inward investment in Europe, the UK possesses an open, liberal economy, flexible labour market, business-friendly taxation and regulation and transparent rule of law.

These conditions are a great match with New Zealand’s resourcefulness, ease of doing business and innovative spirit – making the two nations well-suited business partners.

Furthermore, New Zealand appears to act as a perfect incubator for a business going to the UK. From app or software developers, to social media companies, innovators see New Zealand as the perfect environment to test their new technologies.

The common language and similar culture eliminates barriers, with a comparatively small but well educated population which enables businesses to test out their products and services before scaling up to go overseas. Most importantly, New Zealand is itself a nation of pioneers and innovators, with a willingness and ability to take up new ideas, run with them and make them a success.

That provides real advantages; it puts New Zealand on the front foot and connects Kiwi businesses to large foreign companies and cutting edge technology.

To take just one example, the rapid growth of FinTech in New Zealand. FinTechNZ has already provided opportunities for hundreds of Kiwi businesses looking to trade with UK companies.

That connectivity becomes clearer still when you look at New Zealand’s track record of business success in the UK. Technology companies are making a huge impact. From FinTech, to Agritech, from Software as a Service to an Internet of Things; Tech companies are flocking to the UK and showcasing the best of New Zealand talent.

As British Consul General based in Auckland, my role involves representing the UK in New Zealand and parts of the Pacific, specifically as Deputy Governor of the Pitcairn Islands. It’s a unique position that oversees the goings on of our Auckland office.

From trade development meetings to investment-focused delegations, the team in Auckland work to boost the UK economy by encouraging both British exports into New Zealand and the expansion of Kiwi businesses over to UK shores. We have a fascinating role in contributing to the prosperity of the UK economy from the other side of the world.

As we progress towards this new era of opportunity and as New Zealand and the UK continue to illustrate their shared commitment to a prosperous future and trading relationship, now is the time for New Zealand ventures to think about making the UK your next business destination.

For full details of our Assembly series, click here.

Lythan Chapman website

Lythan Chapman

Business Development and Marketing Manager


P: +64 9 920 9271

M: +64 21 114 2291

More Thinking