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US troops training NZ soldiers at Linton

18:51 Thu Mar 22 2012
AAP
American troops are back in New Zealand training our soldiers for the first time since the Anzus alliance collapsed in the mid-80s
American troops are back in New Zealand training our soldiers for the first time since the Anzus alliance collapsed in the mid-80s

American troops are back in New Zealand training our soldiers for the first time since the Anzus alliance collapsed in the mid-80s, it's been reported.

TV One says a US-led training course in non-lethal weapons is under way right now at Linton Army Base near Palmerston North.

It precedes a course in Wellington next week when 75 participants from 19 countries will take part.

The report said the US Embassy wouldn't allow it to film the training course at Linton and wants the focus on the thawing military relationship to be on a contingent of US marines due here in June to mark the 70th anniversary of American troops coming to New Zealand during World War II.

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman said there had been "a definite shift" in the relationship.

He said the international training course next week was "business as usual" because it was held in a different country each year. New Zealand had been part of it for a decade, and this year it's New Zealand's turn to host it.

The US banned joint military training in the mid-80s over New Zealand's nuclear-free stance which meant US warships couldn't dock here.

The joint training ban was lifted in 2009 and US troops again trained New Zealand forces overseas.

The course at Linton is thought to be the first on New Zealand soil for more than 30 years.