The guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson will visit New Zealand next month.
The guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson will visit New Zealand next month. US NAVY / Robert Winn

NZ anti-nuke protesters have plans for US ship

PROTEST boats will be banned from parts of Auckland's harbour during a historic visit by a US warship.

The US Navy is sending the USS Sampson to Auckland for the Royal New Zealand Navy's 75th birthday next month - the first visit by a US ship in 33 years.

Yesterday, Transport Minister Simon Bridges declared the International Naval Review a major maritime event, restricting areas in the Waitemata Harbour, Rangitoto Channel and parts of the inner Hauraki Gulf to vessels taking part in the review.

Anti-nuclear groups and peace activists have promised to greet the Sampson with a protest flotilla.

Non-official vessels will have to stay 60m from the ships at anchor in the harbour. They will have to stay 100m from the sides and back of the navy ships while they are moving, and 500m from the front of the ships.

Twelve countries are sending vessels to the Naval Review.

Under NZ's anti-nuclear law, the prime minister has to be satisfied that any visiting ship is not nuclear-armed or powered.

Prime Minister John Key granted approval for the US ship's visit after considering advice from NZ's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The law has never required foreign countries to confirm or deny whether their vessels are nuclear armed or powered.

But the US chose not to send any ships as part of the reprisals for the NZ nuclear-free zone Act, which led to the US suspending its Anzus obligations to NZ in 1985.

NZ HERALD



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