The Prime Minister's playing down an embarrassing blow for the Government as two New Zealand Navy ships were declined from entering Pearl Harbour.
Ships from 22 countries including Japan have gathered in Hawaii for the world's biggest naval exercise but New Zealand's vessels have been denied entry because of our nuclear free stance.
The improving military relationship between New Zealand and the US has been widely publicised in recent years but while the Japanese military infamous for bombing Pearl Harbour in 1941are allowed to dock, New Zealand military have been consigned to a tourist marina near Honolulu.
It is believed the Government only found out New Zealand wasn't allowed into Pearl Harbour when it was reported in a Hawaiian newspaper last week.
Prime Minister John Key's denying the claims but the Chief of the Defence Force Lt Gen Rhys Jones said New Zealand was never allowed into the famous port.
"Early in the process we started to see if we could go into Pearl Harbour but the Americans just reiterated, 'no the standing policy would be there.' It was only raised with the minister as it became a media issue," Jones said.
Key said the Navy was never rejected.
"They weren't turned away. They were never going to the military part."
The Prime Minister also claims the Government knew about the US
"We expected that position to be in place. It's been there ever since the anti-nuclear legislation was adopted by New Zealand back in 1987."
The refusal follows a series of broadly publicised events designed to show off the improving relationship between New Zealand military and the Unites States.
Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman met with his US counterpart and signed the Washington declaration to improve co-operation
Hawaii based marines have also been exercising in Waiouru, while New Zealand soldiers have resumed training on American soil.