USS Sampson to visit

Stuff reports:

The last remnant of the anti-nuclear standoff has been swept aside, with approval granted for a visit by a United States warship to a New Zealand port.

Prime Minister John Key announced the destroyer USS Sampson will take part in the navy’s 75th anniversary.celebrations in November.

It will be the first US warship to dock here since the ANZUS bust up over New Zealand’s anti-nuclear legislation in the mid-1980s.

“I am 100 per cent confident it meets New Zealand’s law and that means it’s neither nuclear powered nor carries nuclear weapons,” Key said.

And this time around peace protesters from the mid-1980s are far more relaxed about the visit.

Kevin Hackwell, who with a friend was arrested in Wellington harbour after swimming out to “tag” the USS Texas in 1983,  said it was “a victory for New Zealand’s anti-nuclear policy”. 

It is a victory, but it is more about the US and NZ not letting one historical dispute define the relationship. As we regularly have hosted British, Australian, Japanese and Chinese ships it has been weird not to have the US ever visiting. I hope the crew get great NZ hospitality.

For those who like their stats the USS Sampson weighs 9,200 tons, is 155 metres in length and can carry 96 Tomahawk missiles.

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