17 Nov 2011

US/Australian agreement could help NZ/US relations - expert

7:56 pm on 17 November 2011

An expert in international relations believes a new US/Australian defence agreement could lead to a closer relationship between Wellington and Washington.

The United States and Australia have this week agreed on a deal under which up to 2500 marines will be in northern Australia by 2016, as well as warships, submarines and B52 bombers.

The agreement was announced during this week's visit to Australia by the US president Barack Obama.

Professor of International Relations at the University of Otago, Robert Patman, says there are now very few obstacles in the way of strengthening ties between New Zealand and the US.

Professor Patman says the challenge for foreign policy makers here will be to improve relations with Washington and at the same time preserve the strong relationship New Zealand has with China.

A spokesperson for Defence Minister Wayne Mapp says there is no indication the ANZUS treaty will be renewed with the United States.