US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to arrive in Wellington

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Photo credit: Reuters

The first visit to New Zealand by the Trump Administration will take place on Tuesday.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson touches down in the capital around 11am after meeting Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Defence Minister Marise Payne, discussing counter-terrorism, North Korea and the South China Sea.

Mr Tillerson will be greeted with a powhiri at Premier House before heading straight to bilateral talks with Prime Minister Bill English and Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee.

The topics they are expected to cover include trade, counter-terrorism and the request by the US for New Zealand to send more personnel to Afghanistan.

The push to increase New Zealand troops in Afghanistan from 10 to 12 came from NATO via the US.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister says an announcement regarding troops is not expected on Tuesday as discussions are still ongoing.

Mr English is also expected to express his disappointment to Mr Tillerson over US President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Accord.

The timing of Mr Trump's move, combined with Mr Tillerson's background as an oil baron who has worked with Russia to search for oil in the Arctic, has resulted in backlash to his visit.

A protest is planned outside Parliament by activist group 350 Aotearoa.

The group says they are responding to "news of Trump withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, and the New Zealand government's weak response".

New Zealand and the US had a solid relationship while Barack Obama was in office, and this visit from Mr Tillerson so early in his tenure suggests the Trump Administration intends to stay friendly.

Mr Tillerson will meet with Labour leader Andrew Little in the afternoon before flying out around 3pm.