USA Warship Visit New Zealand

The U.S. naval warship ‘Sampson’ has been cleared to dock next month in New Zealand.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer is expected to attend the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary celebrations from Nov. 17 to 22, after Prime Minister John Key approved the visit.

This is the first visit by a U.S. warship since the New Zealand passed anti-nuclear legislation 30 years ago.

Under New Zealand’s nuclear-free legislation, the prime minister can only grant approval if he is satisfied any foreign military ship entering New Zealand is not nuclear-armed.

In 1980s, the Labour government of the time announced its decision to ban ships that were either nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed.

The United States and Australia viewed the move as a breach of the three-way ANZUS treaty, which dates back to 1951. In 1986 the United States suspended treaty obligations to New Zealand.