HC Deb 17 December 1970 vol 808 cc1558-9
Q4. Mr. Marten

asked the Prime Minister if he will visit New Zealand after the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference.

Mr. Maudling

I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister considered the possibility of visiting New Zealand at that time but concluded it would not be possible.

Mr. Marten

That is a great pity. In the meantime, will my right hon. Friend say whether the Government stand by the assurance of their predecessors that Britain will not join the Common Market unless arrangements are made to protect the vital interests of New Zealand? If there are any derogations from that, will he tell the House what they are?

Mr. Maudling

There is no doubt on either side of the House about this country's obligations to New Zealand. The particular problem of New Zealand is a very prominent feature of the position of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy in the neogtiations.

Mr. Moyle

If the worst comes to the worst, will the right hon. Gentleman say that the current New Zealand agreement will run until Britain signs the Treaty of Rome, and that otherwise trading relations between the two countries will continue undisturbed into the future?

Mr. Maudling

No, Sir, I am not prepared to assume that the worst will come to the worst; I do not think it will for a moment. The position of New Zealand is a very important feature of the negotiations to which Her Majesty's Government attach the highest importance.

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