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US navy boss in NZ for talks

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 16/05/2016

One of the most important men in the United States military is in New Zealand and the issue of whether or not an American navy ship will be sailing our way later this year will be up for discussion.

US Secretary of Navy Ray Mabus will be meeting with a number of military leaders and officials on a wide range of issues this week.

The New Zealand navy's invitation to the US to send a ship to its 75th anniversary celebrations will likely come up in talks, but it isn't the reason for his visit, Mr Mabus said in a statement.

"Yes, the United States has received an invitation to the Royal New Zealand Navy anniversary celebration planned for this coming November.

"No decision has been made yet and we do not have a timeframe on when a decision will be made," he said.

Under New Zealand's nuclear-free legislation, passed in 1987, Prime Minister John Key has to be sure a visiting vessel is neither nuclear-powered nor nuclear-armed.

In 1985, New Zealand blocked the visit of the USS Buchanan because the US wouldn't confirm or deny its nuclear capabilities.

The formal invitation for the US to send a naval vessel to the New Zealand later this year is the first such invitation to be sent since the nuclear-free laws were passed.

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