Ardern claims 'no qualms' about bringing up climate but says she'll focus on trade with Trump, Johnson

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she has "no qualms" about bringing up climate change with any world leader, but her top priority in meeting with US President Donald Trump this week will be on trade.

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The Prime Minister has several topics she hopes to discuss at the UN General Assembly and her meetings with world leaders in New York. Source: 1 NEWS

"Obviously our trade agenda with the United States is for us to make some progress. After they pulled out of the CPTPP that has meant we weren't able to pursue a free-trade agenda so this will be a chance to continue a conversation that actually the Deputy Prime Minister [and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters] actually started some time ago.

"There has been interest in talking about a free-trade agreement with New Zealand and that's a conversation I'll continue," she told reporters in New York today.

"Certainly trade will be a focus for us. These things do take some time to work through but I think that it's worth registering that an agreement for New Zealand would be meaningful and we are trying to make sure that we've got resilience for our exporters by widening up the free-trade agreements New Zealand has."

Therefore, Ms Ardern also said, trade was top of the agenda with her meeting with Boris Johnson, especially in a post-Brexit environment.

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TVNZ US correspondent Rebecca Wright talks about what to expect from the PM’s visit. Source: Breakfast

She also wants to discuss the existing rights that New Zealanders have in the UK after Brexit, including holidaying and going on OEs. She said it was important as she'd been on an OE in the UK herself. Ms Ardern said she would continue to advocate for Kiwis in the UK to be allowed in as skilled migrants.

After arriving in New York this morning, Ms Ardern met with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, where she said his primary focus was on climate change.

She said climate change was a theme of leaders week, and would be a big focus at the UN.

But when asked by media if she would bring it up with Trump, who has resisted climate change and called it a "hoax", she said she would talk about "a number of things" in their 20-minute meeting tomorrow.

"I speak openly about New Zealand's position on climate change, I'll do that in the address on behalf of New Zealand, I'm speaking twice in forums tomorrow on the issue - this is simply a reflection that I don't always prescript those 20 short minutes that we have," she said. "The primary focus for us upfront will be trade."

But when pressed by reporters if it was important to bring up the US ignoring the Paris agreement, Ms Ardern said: "I have no qualms talking about New Zealand's position on climate change to any leader regardless of the position they may take.

"What I think is important to keep in mind, though, regardless about whether or not countries are signing up to the Paris agreement, which of course would be New Zealand's preference, we are seeing climate action at a state level and often at a private and company sector level as well.

"In fact, what we need to start encouraging is that even if we're not seeing politicians moving, we need to make sure we find ways that we can achieve those goals regardless."

Also on her list of priorities, Ms Ardern talked about her hopes to see progress from tech companies on preventing extremist content online following the Christchurch Call.

"So what kind of protocols we need to have in place, but also, what work and support we can expect from the companies themselves to actually start doing the research, start developing the technology to try and prevent the spread of terrorist content online."