Key approves US warship visit

USS Sampson (NavSource)
USS Sampson (NavSource)

A stalemate spanning 32 years will come to an end in four weeks when US warship USS Sampson docks in New Zealand.

Prime Minister John Key has given approval for the destroyer to visit Auckland next month as part of the New Zealand Navy's 75th anniversary commemorations.

He's happy it won't breach nuclear free laws which prohibit nuclear armed and powered vessels entering New Zealand waters.

"Under New Zealand’s nuclear free legislation I am required to be satisfied that any foreign military ship entering New Zealand is not nuclear armed," Mr Key says.

 "I have granted this approval after careful consideration of the advice provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade."

It'll be the first US vessel to dock here since the ANZUS relationship began to crumble in 1984.

The destroyer was built in 2005 and is gas powered.

It will arrive in Auckland between the 17th and 22nd November.