US defence secretary Panetta to visit NZ

United States defence secretary Leon Panetta, will visit New Zealand next week, the first visit by someone in that role in 30 years.

Mr Panetta was invited in June when he signed the Washington Declaration - a new closer defence agreement - with New Zealand's defence minister Jonathan Coleman.

"The New Zealand Government is looking forward to hosting Secretary Panetta. His visit is a reflection of the excellent state of the relationship between our two countries," said Dr Coleman.

Mr Panetta will hold bilateral talks with Dr Coleman and foreign affairs minister Murray McCully.

He will also lay a wreath at the hall of memories at the Auckland War Memorial Museum to remember the sacrifices of the New Zealand Defence Force in World War II and most recently Afghanistan.


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