Four days into his European tour, Prime Minister Bill English has started to attract attention from international media with CNN's Richard Quest saying the United Kingdom could learn a thing or two from New Zealand.

While he is in London, English's predecessor John Key will also give his verdict on English's handling of his first international trip - although that is likely to be kept to himself.

Key is in London enroute to Munich to chair the International Democratic Union executive meeting and is expected to catch up with English in private while the two are in town.

English will also travel to Germany on Monday for his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.


The headlines in the United Kingdom following a meeting between English and British PM Theresa May focused on the "Brexit boost" English gave to May by praising her "clarity" on the issue, as well as the promise of an early post-Brexit free trade agreement between New Zealand and the UK.

International media - including BBC, Financial Times and CNN's Richard Quest have also sought out English for a more in-depth interview.

Asked what his interest in English was, Quest said it was because of the position New Zealand had found itself in following the collapse of the Trans Pacific Partnership courtesy of the election of Donald Trump and Brexit.

He said the United Kingdom was looking for "quick, easy wins" once Brexit happened - and that was behind British Prime Minister's eagerness to sign up early for trade talks with New Zealand.

It could learn a lot from New Zealand about trade negotiations - which the UK has not had to do for itself while part of the European Union.

"How does New Zealand do it? Remember, the UK has not negotiated its own trade deal for the best part of four decades. They don't know how to do it."

"New Zealand is not only an example of a small country that is surviving internationally on its own, but also is going to be one of those touchstones that the UK is going to try to get a very quick trade deal with.

I think what [New Zealand] is is an example par excellence of how a small country, which is resource rich, has great ingenuity, geographically remote but manages to not only survive but thrive in challenging circumstances."


In his piece, the Financial Times' Brussels' bureau chief Alex Barker wrote up the interview as an outsider's view of Brexit, saying English was in Europe to remind them that what happens in Europe washes up on the shores, even in New Zealand.

Securing May's promise of early trade talks was the second victory for English, after European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker estimated the long awaited trade agreement with the EU could be done in two or three years - an optimistic target but one English would be happy was stated publicly.