As it happened: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives for high-level talks

One of the most senior members of the Trump Administration arrived in New Zealand for talks with Prime Minister Bill English and Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is Mr Trump's chief foreign affairs advisor and was here to discuss counter-terrorism, trade and a request for additional troops.

As it happened:

4:00pm: Andrew Little expressed concern about Trump's "wacky" behaviour 

Labour leader Andrew Little raised concern about President Donald Trump's behaviour when he met with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier on Tuesday.

"If you value the relationship with the US, as I think New Zealanders do, I think it is right to say you know what - right now you've got a President that is kind of doing some weird stuff and this is not right," Mr Little said.

"I don't know what the Prime Minister is seeing and hearing from New Zealanders, every New Zealander I talk to expresses concern and sometimes alarm about the conduct of the US President. 

I think it is right when the Secretary of State is in town to let the Secretary of State know that that's how New Zealanders see a country that we regard as a good friend and an important friend." 

Mr Little also raised concern about Mr Trump's tweets.

"When the United States President speaks, no matter what the medium, no matter what the forum, it's important," Mr Little said. 

"When it's kind of pretty wacky, and out there, and repeatedly so after several months I think we are entitled to not only take an interest in it but to express concern about it." 

When asked about Mr Trump's tweets to Sadiq Khan, Mr Little had seen them and was surprised that the Prime Minister had not.

"I think they were clumsy and ham-fisted, he clearly misunderstood what Sadiq Khan had said. But that unfortunately can be said about many of Donald Trump's tweets, including his one about covfefe," Mr Little said.

3:00pm Twitter diplomacy: Tillerson says Trump's tweets are "unique"

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said President Donald Trump's tweets are his way of communicating and it's up to him to decide what he says.

"The President has his own unique way of communicating with the American people and the world, and it's served him pretty well."

He declined to comment on Mr Trump's criticisms of London Mayor Sadiq Khan in the wake of the recent London terrorist attack.

He says "it's up to him" what he tweets and "I don't intend to advise him".

Shortly after the attack, Mr Trump took aim at Mr Khan's advice to Londoners to not be alarmed by an increased police presence.

He followed that up again on Tuesday, saying Mr Khan had provided a "pathetic excuse" for issuing the advice.

Prime Minister Bill English said he hasn't seen the tweets.

2:45pm: "Our Government has to actually act" - protest organiser 

Newshub spoke to the organiser of a peaceful protest outside Parliament on Tuesday 'unwelcoming' US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to New Zealand.

Planned by 350 Aotearoa director Niamh O'Flynn, the protest aimed to speak out against inaction on climate change while Mr Tillerson paid a brief visit to Parliament.

As part of the protest a large banner was unfurled outside the Beehive and some protestors threw condom filled water balloons at an effigy of US President Donald Trump.

Ms O'Flynn said around eight protest groups had attended, as well as two political parties. She told Newshub the protestors want the Government to take a stronger stance on climate change.

"To disagree with America's stance on Paris isn't enough, our Government has to actually act. They need to stop investing in coal, oil and gas and they need to stop fossil fuel extraction and exploration if they're going to remain in the Paris Agreement."

A paper mache effigy of Mr Trump was the target of 'condom water balloons'. Photo credit: Lloyd Burr
A paper mache effigy of Mr Trump was the target of 'condom water balloons'. Photo credit: Lloyd Burr

Watch the video to see the interview and footage of the protest.

A climate protester holds a sign reading "Pretty sure you think he's nuts too" as Rex Tillerson arrives in New Zealand.
A climate protester holds a sign reading "Pretty sure you think he's nuts too" as Rex Tillerson arrives in New Zealand. Photo credit: Lloyd Burr/Newshub
Anti-Tillerson climate protesters gather outside Parliament in New Zealand.
Anti-Tillerson climate protesters gather outside Parliament in New Zealand. Photo credit: Lloyd Burr/Newshub
Anti-Rex Tillerson protesters outside New Zealand Parliament.
Anti-Rex Tillerson protesters outside New Zealand Parliament. Photo credit: Lloyd Burr/Newshub

2:30pm: US journalist comments on a less than warm welcome from Kiwis: 

An NBC journalist travelling with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson commented on his less than positive reception from New Zealanders on Tuesday.

In a tweet Andrea Mitchell said Mr Tillerson's motorcade was "greeted by people signalling thumbs down & display of middle fingers for quitting Paris."

12:48pm - Mr Tillerson has arrived at Premier House, where he is being welcomed.

It is pouring with rain, and the pōwhiri ceremony had to be held under the front porch. There was a haka as Mr Tillerson made his way up the stairs.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is welcomed in Wellington, New Zealand.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is welcomed in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo credit: Patrick Gower/Newshub
Mr Tillerson is greeted with a hongi - a traditional Māori greeting in which the noses and forehead are pressed together and a breath shared.
Mr Tillerson is greeted with a hongi - a traditional Māori greeting in which the noses and forehead are pressed together and a breath shared. Photo credit: Patrick Gower/Newshub

12:44pm - Protesters are gathering outside Parliament, umbrellas at the ready.

12:28pm - What a welcome! Mr Tillerson has been hit with the full brunt of Wellington's winter rain. 

Mr Tillerson exiting the plane umbrella first.
Mr Tillerson exiting the plane umbrella first. Photo credit: Lloyd Burr/Newshub
Mr Tillerson arrives on New Zealand soil for high-level talks.
Mr Tillerson arrives on New Zealand soil for high-level talks. Photo credit: Lloyd Burr/Newshub
Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee greets US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee greets US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Photo credit: Lloyd Burr/Newshub

12:02pm - Touchdown. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has arrived at Wellington Airport, New Zealand.

Rex Tillerson's airplane arrives at Wellington Airport.
Rex Tillerson's airplane arrives at Wellington Airport. Photo credit: Lloyd Burr/Newshub

11:55am - Security is incredibly tight at Wellington airport. There are six police motorbikes, three marked police cars, a couple of unmarked police cars, a whole lot of vans, and a heavy aux police truck full of police officers.

Reporter Lloyd Burr is at the airport, where he says the weather has absolutely packed in and it's pouring with rain. Not the best arrival into New Zealand, but a realistic insight into Wellington weather in winter.

Police motorcycles await Tillerson's arrival.
Police motorcycles await Tillerson's arrival. Photo credit: Lloyd Burr/Newshub

11:53am - Labour Party leader Andrew Little says Mr Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Accord is far from leadership, and said Mr English should make that clear when he meets with Mr Trump.

"I think it is important to point out the impact that the idiosyncratic nature of the current US leadership is having on world affairs. In fact, our own Reserve Bank has acknowledged that is a growing risk factor... The withdrawal by the US last week from the Paris Accord is far from being an act of leadership. It's the opposite, and I think that needs to be made clear."

Mr Little has also condemned Mr Trumps tweets on London Attacks.

"We're just seeing yet again the clumsy ham-fisted way that President Trump goes about expressing his views about these things.

"Why his administration or the staff around him haven't confiscated [Mr Trump's twitter account]... I don't know, but he does that and he end up with his foot in his mouth."

"Week by week, month by month, the more that Donald Trump gets away with behaving the way that he has it devalues the status of the President of the United states, one of the most important offices in the world."

11:34am - Bill English plans to raise New Zealand's "disagreement" with the United States pulling out of the Paris climate Agreement when he meets US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson this afternoon.  

"We'll express our disagreement with the US policy position as we have on them withdrawing from the TPP, but the meeting will, I think, focus more on the ongoing relationship, our support for the US as a stabilising influence in the Asia Pacific and how we can both work to maintain that because its such a benefit to our economy and to the region," he told Newshub.

"The pulling out of the Paris Accord is simply at its heart a President doing what he said he will do," Mr English added.

11:28am - US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has arrived in New Zealand after high-level security talks in Australia.

Security is tight. He is accompanied by a convoy of at least three Crown cars, one US Embassy car, six police motorbikes, two marked police cars, one unmarked police car, one SUV for police or officials, and one VW people mover van.

All personnel including journalists and gear are examined by security and sniffed by an explosives dog on entry to the Air Force Movements terminal.

Mr Tillerson will be meeting with Prime Minister Bill English and Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee to discuss counter-terrorism, trade and a request to send additional troops to Afghanistan.

Protesters have hoisted a huge banner reading: "Climate Denial, Huge Mistake! RESIST".
Protesters have hoisted a huge banner reading: "Climate Denial, Huge Mistake! RESIST". Photo credit: Isobel Ewing/Newshub

Protesters from 350 Aotearoa and Greenpeace are gathering outside the Beehive after United States President Donald Trump announced he will be withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. 

Newshub.

 

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