The Herald reports:
The United States Navy will send a ship to New Zealand this year, ending a 33-year absence from our ports because of the anti-nuclear rift.
US Vice-President Joe Biden will formally accept the invitation today when he meets Prime Minister John Key in Auckland.
Biden arrived in Auckland last night and in a speech was effusive in his comments about New Zealand and its shared history with the US, particularly around defence.
He did not mention the rift of the past, nor the hugely symbolic gesture of the US Navy’s return.
New Zealand and the United States shared the same values, the same commitment to freedom and equity, and the same fierce independence, Biden said.
“You nor we never bend. We never bow. We know who we are. We mean what we say. We say it in slightly different ways but it is the same.”
The US is one of 30 foreign navies invited to attend the 75th birthday celebrations of the NZ Navy.
It has been mulling the invitation for the past 18 months and the matter is understood to have gone right to the Commander in Chief, President Barack Obama.
If correct, this is very good news. The US is an important ally and friend and it would be a shame to not have them attend.
He mentioned the work the two nations did together in the Antarctic, in the Ross Sea and at the United Nations Security Council.
There was deep history of partnership including in World War II when troops were stationed in New Zealand.
The US will be very pleased that we have announced a ship is being built that will be able to service Scott Base and McMurdo in Antarctica. We have been totally dependent on the US Navy to get supplies in by sea, so having a RNZN ship capable of getting to Antarctica makes it a more equal partnership down there.
There is probably no area the two countries work more closely together than in Antarctica.
UPDATE: It is confirmed.