NZ Government sets up 24/7 taskforce to deal with Trump administration

A 24/7 taskforce has been set up by the Foreign Affairs Ministry to monitor and deal with developments in the United States under the Trump administration.

The new initiative comes following criticism over NZ's reaction to Trump’s travel ban. Source: 1 NEWS

MFAT head Brook Barrington revealed the details of the taskforce when appearing before MPs at a select committee this morning.

He says New Zealand is taking a "wait and see" approach to events in the United States, given it's only 19 days into the Trump administration.

Mr Barrington was bollocked by Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully last week for delays in providing information about whether New Zealand citizens would be caught up in the Trump travel ban.

He admits MFAT were "24 hours behind" on events and that has now changed.

"It's certainly not BAU (Business as Usual)," Mr Barrington told reporters.

Source: Breakfast

The taskforce is being run by six or seven staff members 24 hours a day who report, monitor and brief officials on developments.

Flight Centre's Sean Bernson says Trump "hasn't had any effect" on New Zealanders heading to the States. Source: 1 NEWS

"It works with real time reporting and monitoring as events unfold."

It will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

"We will not return to BAU until we have a clear idea of where things are headed."

Mr Barrington says New Zealand has never hesitated to disagree with US policy and that stance won't change.

Sean Spicer criticised an article saying the President spent his evenings watching cable TV in his robe. Source: 1 NEWS

"We have systems, processes, people in place to ensure New Zealand's interests are not compromised in that space," he said.

It's a transition period, he says, but he expects the strong relationship our countries have to continue.