NZ-UK free trade agreement expected 'absolutely within the year' - British High Commissioner

British High Commissioner Laura Clarke says New Zealand should expect a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom "absolutely within the year".

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Laura Clarke says the agreement will be similar in some ways to Australia's deal, but with our own priorities. Source: Breakfast

It comes as Australia struck a deal with the UK overnight, after months of negotiations. Details of the agreement will be released in the coming days.

Post-Brexit, the UK is in a way starting from scratch on its free trade agreements.

"We're essentially replicating what we had when we were part of the EU," Clarke told Breakfast this morning.

"The Australia one is actually the first one we've done from scratch, as will the New Zealand one. These are negotiations done absolutely from scratch."

Trade Minister Damien O'Connor is heading to the UK at the moment to discuss free trade between the nations.

His visit comes one year after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade officially announced the start of negotiations on an agreement.

Clarke said the agreement will be similar in some ways to Australia's deal, but with priorities particular to New Zealand.

"They will be similar in elements, the conventional elements that you're looking at tariff liberalisation, you're looking at what you can do on services, but these are different economies, right, and they are actually very different negotiations.

"There's a lot that we're trying to do in the UK-New Zealand free trade agreement on things like climate and sustainability, on indigenous trade - so they're different economies, different negotiations, and of course working to their own priorities."

Clarke said she was "wary of putting a deadline" on the agreement, though.

"You want to make really rapid progress but you also don't want to miss opportunities along the way to really make the most of what we can do and I think there's agreement there in New Zealand and the UK that we want to do the best possible free trade agreement.

"But I would hope that we would get it done, you know, relatively rapidly, that's why Damien O'Connor has gone and absolutely within the year would be the aspiration, but I don't want to put a deadline on it beyond that."