Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Boris Johnson supports easier UK access rules for Kiwis

Murray McCully and Boris Johnson enjoyed a jovial meeting in New York. Photo / Audrey Young
Murray McCully and Boris Johnson enjoyed a jovial meeting in New York. Photo / Audrey Young

We've still got a friend in Boris Johnson, it seems.

That was confirmed again at a press conference at the United Nations in New York, which he held jointly with Foreign Minister Murray McCully.

The British Foreign Secretary was asked by a New Zealand journalist if his new Government would be changing access rules for New Zealanders wanting to work in the UK.

After a bit of banter about whether McCully, who was behind him, was nodding in agreement, Johnson said: "I personally think it would be a fine thing if we could have greater fairness towards people coming from around the world, talented people coming from New Zealand and other countries in getting into our country.

"But there is a way to go."

Referring to the formal negotiations yet to be started for Britain's exit from the European Union, he said : "We have a negotiation to launch and a process to go through but let's hope for substantial progress for New Zealand by the end of it."

McCully said he had raised the issue with Johnson at their formal meeting a few weeks ago in London.

Before being promoted to a ministerial post, Johnson had been on the record as promoting more liberal rules for Kiwis.

But mobility of people would be a sensitive issue in the negotiations, said McCully.

"We can't expect to see big changes tomorrow but clearly we have a friend."

McCully also clarified media reports that Johnson had ordered a box of English wine for McCully - there were photographs of wine being delivered to Johnson's office just ahead of the meeting and an assumption in the reports that it was a gift.

McCully said that was not the case but that the prospect of Johnson having to drink English wine prompted him to gift Johnson a fine bottle of Man O' War syrah from Waiheke Island.

The gift McCully in fact received was a book written by Johnson: The Churchill Factor - How One Man Made History.

"It is actually a good read," said McCully.

- NZ Herald

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