Before you dismiss this idea as ridiculous, here's the sales pitch: New Zealand could become a world superpower.

The idea comes from British-based economist Andrew Lilico. In a recent article, he argued New Zealand should team up with the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia to form an alliance something like the European Union. We'd call ourselves Canzuk.

Between the four of us we'd have nearly 130 million people, a bigger population than Japan. With 18 million square kilometres of land, we'd be bigger than Russia.

We'd become the world's third-biggest spender on defence. Only the US and China could spend more than our $150 billion on guns and tanks.


And, with a combined GDP of $9 trillion, we'd be the world's fourth-biggest economy, trailing only the US, China and the European Union.

Our citizens would work and live freely in each other's countries. No visa needed for an OE. No end date to living in London.

We'd build a Parliament and all agree to let the hot guy running Canada become Canzuk's leader.

There are, of course, a few niggles to iron out. Australia cannot be left in charge of anything to do with immigrants, refugees, or people who aren't white. Canada will have to start driving on the left-hand side of the road. The Brits will start measuring in kilometres.

The benefits are obvious to a small country like ours but what's in it for Britain?

Once it leaves the EU, it'll be Nigel No Mates in a pretty annoyed world.

Lilico isn't the only Brit who wants to return to their old friends in the Commonwealth. Except, Canzuk doesn't include all the former Commonwealth countries, just the wealthy ones who look and sound the same as Britons. Which is to say, we speak English and most of us are white.

It'd be easy to criticise Lilico and the UK for this anachronistic nationalism, but we also want to close the door.

According to a Newshub-Reid Research poll out this week, 60 per cent of us want to cut immigration. The Labour Party is screaming about work visas being issued for jobs workless Kiwis want. Talkback callers warn that Queen St doesn't look like New Zealand anymore.

Has an immigrant taken your job?

Have they taken the job of someone you know?

If you can't answer yes to either of those questions then take a deep breath.

Our fear of immigrants is a normal reaction to what's happening in the world. Terrorists and lone wolves are attacking places we used to consider safe.

The world's slowly pulling itself out of a recession, but it doesn't feel that way when you're still on the same pay you were on five years ago.

That's why Brexit happened.

And that's why Canzuk will sound to some like a better idea than trading with China and accepting Indian students.