The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union on Friday and the beginning of trade negotiations between the two blocs removes come uncertainty for NZ’s meat industry.
Every day in Ireland and the UK and in many European capitals, the word Brexit appears on the front pages of the major newspapers.
Every day, every word and movement of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Brexiteers are reported and analysed, as are comments by the leading players in the EU, in particular the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar.
Commentators thrive on the gossip in London, Dublin and Brussels.
But despite all the talk, uncertainty prevails and no-one is able to predict what might happen on October 31 -- the day Britain is supposed to leave the European Union regardless of whether some sort of deal can be agreed.
Both sides are saying they will work up to the last hour to get a deal but there is a real fear among many people in the UK and in Ireland that disaster is a matter of days away. Not only economic disaster but civil unrest in Ireland and the UK which was quelled by the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement.
It seems Johnson is running amok like a bull in a China shop with little regard for the consequences of his actions on his people and those in Ireland and other jurisdictions.
The name United Kingdom no longer applies. It is complexly disunited and may remain so for a long time. Even if there were another referendum or an election it is hard to see how these could repair the damage Brexit has already caused.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) says its closely monitoring Brexit developments and working to minimise disruption to New Zealand’s primary sector exporters where possible.
A range of possible Brexit outcomes remain. A no-deal scenario would have an immediate impact on our primary industry exporters. MPI has focused on preparations for this eventuality as the other scenarios are not expected to significantly alter trading conditions in the short to medium term.
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, to ensure regulatory continuity MPI has clarified trading requirements and replicated existing EU trade arrangements with the UK.
New Zealand faces the prospect of real hardship resulting from Brexit and it’s hard to believe the rhetoric from London which says NZ is a friend when they are prepared to inflict Brexit upon us. Johnson would do well to read some history books, but maybe the facts will get in the way of his story.