"Free trade in the time of Brexit" is the second in a lecture series to help the public make sense of Britain exiting the European Union.

Massey University Palmerston North's School of People, Environment and Planning senior lecturer Dr Jeff McNeill will host the free public lecture 5pm at the Globe on September 25.

The lectures have been organised with the support of the European Union Centres Network.

Dr McNeill says the long-running Brexit issue has been baffling to many and the forum will help the public to understand more about the EU, and the EU and British perspective on trade with New Zealand and the implications for New Zealand's agriculture.


"Brexit, now likely to take place at the end of October this year, increasingly makes the news.

"The EU remains something of a mystery to most people – both in Europe and in New Zealand."

Dr McNeill says the lecture will address the ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations between the EU and New Zealand – and the political and trade implications they will have on New Zealand.

"Out of the spotlight, New Zealand and the European Union are in an advanced stage of negotiating a FTA that is likely to be concluded early next year.

"A post-Brexit UK-NZ FTA remains less clear, though both countries have indicated intent to negotiate."

"Both actions appear to many people as distant events, half a world away.

"But, if they come off, they will have significant implications for New Zealand's economy generally and particularly for our agricultural sector.

"Economic analysts are already factoring in the likely consequences of a 'do or die' Brexit that British Prime Minister Boris Johnston promises.


"Meanwhile, a free trade agreement with the EU would open up markets for both, increasing trade between the two trading partners.

"Internationally, it (EU) is unique as a super-national form of government able to make rules affecting 513 million people in 28 countries.

"It is also the only European authority able to negotiate free trade agreements: one of the stated reasons for Brexit is so that the UK will be able to negotiate its own free trade agreements.

"And despite providing freedom of movement for its people, goods and services, and significant financial support for European agriculture, environment and culture, the EU is widely seen as a bloated grey bureaucracy centred in Brussels, Belgium – 'the capital of Europe'."

Dr McNeill is experienced in environmental policy development having previously worked in central and regional government.

He also spent several months working in the European Parliament in Brussels where he was responsible for drafting one of the EU's more obscure directives, and more importantly, coming to understand something of the complexity and intricacy of the EU institutions.

The other two speakers are the British High Commission First Secretary Trade Policy Colin Leeman who will set out possible future relations for New Zealand and the UK in a post-Brexit world.

The University of Canterbury's National Centre for Research on Europe Dr Serena Kelly will address possible future relations between the EU and New Zealand once the FTA is signed.

Each of the speakers has 25 minutes to present and there will be time for questions immediately after and at the end of the presentations.

At the first lecture on September 11, the EU Ambassador Bernard Savage made the case for the European agriculture and trade with New Zealand.