Protesters climb crane ahead of Tillerson's arrival

  • 06/06/2017

Rain hasn't deterred protesters who have climbed a crane outside parliament in Wellington to protest the arrival of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Mr Tillerson's visit comes just days after President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the Paris Climate Agreement, drawing the ire of green groups.

They've spent the long weekend calling for Prime Minister Bill English to raise New Zealand's disagreement with the US position during meetings on Tuesday and they look likely to get their wish.

Mr English says while he understands it's a matter of domestic politics for the US he will make New Zealand's disagreement known.

"We disagree with it for any number of reasons," Mr English told Newshub.

"We will just state our disagreement with their point of view. We accept it's part of their domestic politics."

Wellington, Rex Tillerson
Protesters have claimed a crane outside Parliament. Photo credit: Supplied

On Tuesday morning a small group of protesters climbed a crane on a building site behind parliament while more are expected to gather.

Fossil free campaigners 350 Aotearoa are expecting 500 protesters to gather at the front of parliament on Tuesday afternoon.

Greenpeace's Kate Simcock says Mr English has been notably silent on climate change since the US withdrawal.

He was overseas, instead leaving it to his deputy and Climate Issues Minister Paula Bennett to confirm New Zealand's commitment to the Paris Agreement.

"We are witnessing a huge shift in the global order as places like Europe and China begin to lead the way forward," Ms Simcock said.

"If New Zealand continues to align itself with Trump's USA, we're going to be left for dust."

Mr English said while climate change will be raised, the economic and security relationship between New Zealand and the US was expected to take priority when talking with Mr Tillerson.

The progress of the Trans-Pacific Partnership without the US, terrorism, Antarctica and the recent request for two additional troops to be sent to Afghanistan are also expected to make the agenda.