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English looking forward to Trump call

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/02/2017

Prime Minister Bill English isn't nervous about his upcoming phone call with United States President Donald Trump but is actually looking forward to the conversation which he believes will be civil and direct.

He's also not worried about the possibility the contents of their private conversation will be publicly leaked in the same way as the Mr Trump's conversation with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have made headlines worldwide.

Mr Trump reportedly described their chat as the "worst call by far" and abruptly ended the hour-long scheduled call after just 25 minutes.

Mr English says his call will be about maintaining the strong relationship between New Zealand and the US despite differences in opinion.

He will raise issues of difference, with a particular focus believed to be around the new US immigration policy suspending entry by citizens from seven nations for 90 days.

"We've yet to see just when it'll happen but (there's) no reason to believe it won't be a civil and maybe direct conversation," he said.

"There's a long history of differences of view between the US and New Zealand going right back to Vietnam so I don't see why that should make any difference to the phone call."

Mr English will meet with Mr Turnbull in New Zealand later this month where the phone call will no doubt come up.

But he joked that the international news coverage meant he didn't have to phone Mr Turnbull to find out how the call went.

"Malcolm Turnbull's going to be here in February so we'll have plenty of opportunity to talk about it," he said.

It appears the US is already looking to maintain strong relationships with New Zealand in the wake of the PR nightmare with Australia.

A letter was sent to Mr English from the new Trump administration on Thursday night to that effect.

"I haven't actually seen the letter myself but I'm told it recognises the strength of the relationship and indicates the administration's keen to work with us," he said.

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