Local Brits' mixed reaction to Brexit

By Georgina Harris

1 comment
Antonia Turner. Photograph by Stephen Parker.
Antonia Turner. Photograph by Stephen Parker.

Local Brits in Rotorua have had a mixed reaction to the historic Brexit result - which has seen the United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union.

In an extremely close race, the "leave" camp has claimed victory in the referendum on whether to leave or remain.

Antonia Turner, 26, from Yorkshire, told the Rotorua Daily Post she was in shock following the result and anxious about what the consequences would be.

"It's an unknown, and I think a bad decision."

She said that immigrants, such as those who worked in the UK's National Health Service, "do a lot of good" and would be negatively impacted by the decision to leave the EU.

Ms Turner is in New Zealand on a one-year working visa and has been living in Rotorua for the past two months.

Someone who wasn't disappointed by the result was builder Mark Bennett, 55.

Originally from London, Mr Bennett was in the leave camp.

He named non EU-member countries such as Switzerland who were "kicking it globally" and neutral as inspiration.

As he has lived in Rotorua for 20 years, he was unable to vote in the referendum. UK nationals living abroad had to have been on the electoral register in the UK in the past 15 years.

Business analyst Steve Fisher, 46, who has been in Rotorua for 16 years, said he was "on the fence" but was disappointed he was unable to vote.

"My heart says it will be good for Britain but I worry about the ramifications, and the doom and gloom predictions may come true."

He said friends and family back in the UK were split on their choices, often depending on geographical location.

Local politicians said while leaving the EU meant there would be changes, these would not impact negatively on Rotorua and the rest of the country.

Rotorua MP and Trade Minister Todd McClay said the UK referendum was an important issue and while leaving the EU would create uncertainty in the world markets in the near future, it would not affect the trade relationship between the UK and New Zealand, and all future issues would be worked through.

In the short-term it would be "business as usual", he said.

As there was a process on how to leave the EU, Mr McClay said it could take many years of negotiation before the split would happen.

Rotorua-based New Zealand First list MP Fletcher Tabuteau said Rotorua would be fine and the UK leaving the EU wouldn't close doors in terms of trade.

Waiariki MP and Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell is currently in Japan and unable to be contacted for comment.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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