Military training deployment to Iraq

Waitaki news
Monday, March 2, 2015

Last week the Government decided to deploy a non-combat military training mission to Iraq as our contribution to the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Up to 143 New Zealand personnel will join the two-year mission, working behind the wire to train Iraqi Security Forces to be better able to fight ISIL.

A training mission like this is not without danger and our first objective is to keep our troops as safe as possible.  Towards this we're sending our own force protection to support our instructors and their training activities.

We believe the decision to send the mission is the right one.

New Zealanders hear stories of ISIL’s atrocities on a daily basis - mass beheadings, kidnappings, people thrown off buildings and being burnt alive.

We will not stand by while this brutality continues. New Zealand is a country that stands up for its values.

ISIL’s ability to motivate radicals and recruit foreign fighters to its ranks makes it a threat not only to stability in the Middle East but around the globe including New Zealand.

Complacency is not an option, as we have seen events unfold in Paris, Ottawa, and as close to home as Sydney.

Kiwis are prolific travellers who are vulnerable to terrorist activity around the world. In contributing to the fight against ISIL, we are supporting the people of that region and New Zealanders too.

Military training alone will not solve the problems ISIL pose in Iraq. That’s why our approach addresses diplomatic, intelligence and capacity-building issues.

We have already provided $14.5 million in humanitarian aid to the region and we are looking at how we can provide more. We are also stepping up our diplomatic efforts and as a member of the UN Security Council we are advocating for effective action on ISIL.

Be assured the Government has not taken this decision lightly. New Zealand has got to do its bit to fight this threat to international security.

We are confident our defence force will carry out this mission effectively.