John Weekes

John Weekes is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Top dogs all smiles after lunch

John Key with US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta after lunch yesterday. Photo / Michael Craig
John Key with US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta after lunch yesterday. Photo / Michael Craig

We're best friends now, but the top dog of the US armed forces took no chances after waving goodbye to his hosts at a plush vineyard yesterday.

Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta left in an 11-strong motorcade with an armoured Land Cruiser, after emerging from lunch with Prime Minister John Key and bilateral hangers-on.

Key said the men had discussed Syria, China and Afghanistan.

International relations expert Professor Stephen Hoadley said the scale of Panetta's visit was noted abroad - the Washington Post ran an unusual, extensive report on the trip.

Key confirmed New Zealand would keep its anti-nuclear legislation. Hoadley said the US acceptance of this was a victory for New Zealand.

"The clash of the two countries that started in 1985 when [David] Lange finally cancelled the [nuclear visits] has ended with the United States yielding a lot more than New Zealand."

The Prime Minister also disclosed a visit from Barack Obama was possible if Obama won another term.

"Never say never. It'd always be welcome."

- Herald on Sunday

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a1 at 28 Aug 2014 00:11:41 Processing Time: 365ms