There's praise this morning for the US Secretary of Defense, after the ban on New Zealand navy ships using American harbours was lifted.
Leon Panetta made the announcement following talks with Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman in Auckland yesterday.
Auckland University's Stephen Hoadley says it's another step in restoring the relationship to where it was in 1984.
"Leon Panetta's done the right thing, he's talked to the navy boss and said, 'look, in the interest of the United States, New Zealand is an excellent partner, and this last irritant should be removed'."
The US will also remove obstacles to defence talks and military exercises.
John Key will host a lunch event for Secretary Panetta today.
The PM says a lot of the visit is symbolic, and about cementing New Zealand's relationship with the US.
Photo: Jonathon Coleman (Getty Images)