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Kerry heads back to NZ and reality

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 11/11/2016

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. © AP Images Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. US Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to head back to New Zealand after checking out summer in Antarctica.

He's been criticised for heading to such a remote place while the US election riveted the world but on Thursday he said he had told State Department officials to fully co-operate with president-elect Donald Trump's incoming administration.

He tweeted a photograph of himself boarding C-17 cargo plane in Christchurch saying "headed to Antarctica to see firsthand some of the drastic effects of climate change."

In Antarctica he was scheduled to meet with scientists and researchers at McMurdo Station, the largest research station of the US Antarctic programme, as well as visit surrounding areas on Ross Island, and the US Government's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.

He will see the world's largest marine protected area, the recently established Ross Sea Region Marine Protected Area.

He is the first secretary of state and the most senior US government official to ever travel to Antarctica.

He is hosted by the US National Science Foundation, which manages the US Antarctic programme.

He's scheduled to spend most of Saturday travelling back to Christchurch, a service centre for the Antarctic, and then on to Wellington.

He has talks with Prime Minister John Key and Foreign Minister Murray McCully on Sunday morning and there's a wreath laying ceremony at New Zealand's National War Memorial Park.

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