Wellington failed to put on the charm for the secretary of state, with the US media surprised to see people giving his motorcade the bird

The US Secretary of State has been met with a frosty reception and a backhanded compliment from the prime minister while on a flying visit to New Zealand.

Rex Tillerson arrived in wet and windy Wellington for a eight-hour visit on Tuesday, with his motorcade greeted by middle fingers and thumbs-downs.

Fairfax Media reported that the US media contingent were surprised by the hostile reception from members of the public.

Tracy Watkins (@tracy_watkins)

US media travelling with Sec of State Rex Tillerson surprised by the number of people flipping the bird at his motorcade in Wellington.

June 6, 2017

Ive never seen so many people flip the bird at an American motorcade as I saw today, the New York Times Washington correspondent, Gardiner Harris, told Stuff.co.nz.

About 200 protesters with the climate change action group 350 Aotearoa were gathered outside Parliament to unwelcome Tillerson, following president Donald Trumps decision to pull out of the Paris accord.

Greenpeace New Zealand referred to Tillerson as Trumps henchman.

Nathan Ross (@NathanJonRoss)

An impressive turn-out in the rain for the #ActOnClimate rally to welcome US Secretary of State Rex “Exxon” Tillerson to NZ Parliament pic.twitter.com/7XOabJ76zL

June 6, 2017

Craig Kapitan (@HearsaySA)

Kiwi climate protesters throw water-filled condoms at @realDonaldTrump effigy as Rex Tillerson visits Beehive. https://t.co/HMzwkSjIcu pic.twitter.com/slBqy7jMN4

June 6, 2017

US protection officers travelling were overhead joking about the warm welcome, Fairfax reported.

New Zealands National-led government remains committed to the Paris agreement and its target to cut emissions by 11% of 1990 levels by 2030.

The opposition Green and Labour parties want the target to be lifted to 40%. The Greens co-leader, James Shaw, and the local Labor MP, Grant Robertson, spoke at the protest at Parliament.

Greenpeace New Zealand also unfurled an anti-climate change denial banner from a nearby crane.

Green Party NZ (@NZGreens)

Great view of @GreenpeaceNZ‘s climate action ahead of Rex Tillerson’s meeting with PM Bill English today. pic.twitter.com/CWcB9CKm65

June 5, 2017

The prime minister himself was less than effusive over Tillersons visit.

At a press conference, Bill English said: New Zealanders have for a long time not liked various presidents of the US and disagreed with their views about our anti-nuke policies for 30 years but that doesnt prevent us confirming our shared values and cooperating with them on security and defence.

English later told news media that he and Tillerson discussed our disagreement over the withdrawal from the Paris agreement. According to Stuffs report, Tillerson stood by Trumps decision to exit the deal that he said did not serve US interests.

James Shaw said later in parliament that New Zealand had a proud history of standing up to the US over nuclear weapons: Today we should stick up for the climate.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/06/rex-tillerson-gets-frosty-welcome-in-new-zealand-complete-with-single-finger-salutes

Rex Tillerson gets frosty welcome in New Zealand complete with single finger salutes
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