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Britain to remain engaged with others

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 25/06/2016

Britain will remain engaged in the world after voting to leave the European Union, Jonathan Sinclair, the British High Commissioner to New Zealand says.

On Friday NZ time the UK voted in a referendum to leave the EU, causing turmoil in world financial markets and triggering the exit of UK Prime Minister David Cameron by October.

Mr Sinclair told TVNZ's Q&A programme on Sunday that the will of the British people will be respected and the focus now is on what happens next.

He reiterated Prime Minister John Key's message that nothing changes for New Zealanders living in the UK.

"We will remain outward-facing and engaged in the world," Mr Sinclair said.

It's up to the next British prime minister to negotiate the exit from the EU, he said.

"The important point here is that this will be a calm and deliberate process."

On Saturday Mr Key said financial markets would settle and New Zealand companies had nothing to worry about.

"We've had assurances from both the EU and from the UK officials that there'll be no change in the status of access of both our goods and people until new conditions can be negotiated," he said.

Mr Key said New Zealand was in a vastly different position to the UK - New Zealand had control over migration and it's economy was in a much stronger position.

Federated Farmers is urging New Zealand to be first in seeking a new trade relationship with the UK and sees opportunities.

Labour's Foreign Affairs spokesman David Shearer said the vote would usher in a massive period of uncertainty in Europe, in the financial markets and in the UK itself.

The process of exiting is likely to take at least two years.

Lobbyist Charles Finny told Q&A he did not see the huge downside from the vote that others were talking about.

NZ First leader Winston Peters has said the situation of New Zealanders living in the UK may improve.

"I think the British will reach towards New Zealand, Australia and Canada. And the second thing is our young people will get a fair go in the UK in the future," he said.

Mr Key doesn't see any implications for the Commonwealth.

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