Simon Bridges has called on Jacinda Ardern to live up to her growing reputation as a hero of the 'woke progressive left'.
He was speaking to The AM Show about her upcoming bilateral meeting between Ardern and US President Donald Trump.
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"She's said that climate change is our nuclear-free moment. If that's true, if she believes that, then I think she needs to raise that with the United States," he said.
"Reality is we don't get anywhere, or certainly not very far, if the world's biggest superpower, the biggest economy, isn't on board with the Paris Agreement."
Trump is on record as denying climate change is manmade and announced plans to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement on June 1, 2017.
The agreement set out a global goal to reduce emissions and limit global warming. It was signed by 195 countries, including New Zealand.
Bridges said Ardern's reputation rests on her being able to bring issues like climate change up to Trump.
"You've got someone here who is becoming a hero of the woke progressive left around the world, now if she's to live up to that I think there are other issues she'll need to raise.
"You can't deal with climate change if the largest, most important superpower in the world isn't at the table."
He said if he was there he would be bringing it up.
"I'd want to understand what his thinking is around the Paris Agreement and going forward and where he and his administration sits on that."