Boris Johnson's resignation on July 7 is unlikely to have a dramatic impact on New Zealand-UK relations, but there is a possibility bilateral ties could lose momentum during the next year.
Johnson tried everything to cling to power, but his hand was eventually forced by the resignations of nearly half of his colleagues in government on the grounds the Prime Minister had developed a veracity problem.
Such a claim is hilarious but also revealing about the succession process now in train.
Johnson always made it plain that his road to Downing Street was never going to be paved by qualities like truth and integrity.
Boris Johnson was fired in 1988 from his job as a journalist at The Times for fabricating a quote in a front-page article; he was sacked from the Conservative front bench in 2004 for lying about an affair; he compared EU leaders with Hitler; and his Conservative colleagues, including many of those who recently resigned, had absolutely no qualms in backing Johnson's biggest and most damaging deception – an "oven-ready" Brexit for the UK.
In the words of Sir Max Hastings, Johnson's former boss at the pro-Conservative newspaper The Daily Telegraph, Boris Johnson was utterly unfit to hold the premiership but the Conservative Parliamentary Party thought otherwise.
Interestingly, some prominent New Zealand politicians showered praise on Johnson's brand of right-wing populism after he succeeded in displacing Theresa May as Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister in July 2019.
The then New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said Johnson would be "an excellent Prime Minister" and likened him to Winston Churchill while the former National Party leader, Simon Bridges said "he is the right man for the times in Britain".
However, Johnson's record as Prime Minister and the legacy he has left his successor can only be described as difficult.
Brexit has undermined the UK economy as debt, recession, inflation significantly increased, capital flight exceeded 2 trillion pounds, and trade with the EU, UK biggest export market, slumped.
Furthermore, Johnson's incompetent handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and a clear inability to provide ethical leadership, from government parties that broke lockdown rules to how he handled the misconduct of senior political colleagues has shaken public confidence, a trend compounded by secessionist aspirations in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
To be sure, Johnson's Brexiter government did strengthen some aspects of the traditionally special relationship between New Zealand and the UK.
Four months ago, the Ardern government signed what Trade Minister Damien O'Connor described as a "gold-standard" free trade agreement with the UK - the seventh largest economy in the world - which will eliminate all tariffs on New Zealand exports.
In addition, the Ardern leadership has coordinated closely with the Johnson government in extending a multifaceted aid package to Ukraine following its invasion by the armed forces of Putin's authoritarian regime.
At the same time, there have been, from a New Zealand standpoint, some worrying developments in the UK recently.
In particular, the Johnson team has shown a limited commitment toward upholding the rule of law within the UK and in the international arena generally.
First, the Johnson government consistently but conveniently refused to respond mounting evidence of unlawful actions by the Leave side and Russian interference during the 2016 EU referendum.
Second, the Johnson-led Conservative Party has continued to receive large financial donations from London-based Russian oligarchs with close links to Putin's repressive regime in Moscow even after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Third, Johnson's government signalled, despite strong warnings from the Biden administration and the EU leadership, it was prepared to violate the EU exit treaty in relation to the Northern Ireland Protocol – an arrangement which preserves invisible border between Ireland and Northern Ireland in accordance with the 1998 Good Friday Accord (GFA) – in order to "complete" Brexit.
How will Johnson's departure affect New Zealand's ties with the UK?
At the time of writing, six candidates remain in the race to become the new leader of the ruling Conservative Party with former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt leading the pack.
Whoever emerges as the new Tory leader, she or he will almost certainly be a devoted Brexiter, willing to renege on the Northern Ireland Protocol if EU "intransigence" continues, and view New Zealand as a key partner as "global Britain" seeks to become a member of the CPTPP.
If this assessment is accurate, and Johnson's policy legacy outlives his leadership, New Zealand may not be the ally the new Tory leader imagines it to be.
For a small global trader like New Zealand, it is vital not only to preserve the international rules-based order but to strengthen it.
In particular, if a post-Johnson UK insists on violating the terms of its EU withdrawal treaty in relation to the Northern Ireland Protocol, it will fall short of the "highest standards" of a rule-bases order the Prime Minister Ardern has said are required to be accepted as a member of the CPTPP.
• Robert G Patman is a Sesquicentennial Distinguished Chair at the University of Otago and an international relations specialist