Tova O’Brien reports:
The Labour-led Government is extending New Zealand’s deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan despite promising in Opposition to pull troops out.
It’s the right thing to do, but it shows their hypocrisy in opposition. They politicised the deployment and attacked it undermining those serving. And that would be okay if they genuinely thought it was the wrong decision, but they clearly were just using it to score political points.
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has lashed out at the media for pointing to hypocrisy over the coalition Government’s decision to extend the Iraq troop deployment to June 2019.
New Zealand troops were initially deployed to Iraq in May 2015 by John Key’s Government in a decision that did not go through Parliament, which Mr Peters’ said at the time was undemocratic. He said the decision was made by “an arrogant Government making a minority decision”.
But the current Labour-led Government – of which Mr Peters’ New Zealand First party is a coalition partner – did not put its decision to extend New Zealand troops in Iraq to Parliament, either. Mr Peters was asked by RadioLIVE’s Mark Sainsbury if he was contradicting his previous stance.
He has adamantly defended the Government’s decision, telling Sainsbury on Tuesday the “kind of mindless consideration of present day events won’t wash any longer,” in response to the radio host’s comment that the media only sees things from an outside perspective.
“Don’t tell me you guys are on the outside when you know full well that the circumstances in which National engaged was not a consultative matter… we have to maintain our country’s honour as we consider where we go in the future,” Mr Peters said.
“We are talking about engagements that we inherited… managing those and looking to what we should do in the future with commitments that a former Government made to Australia… you’ve got to honour those things,” he said, referring to New Zealand’s joint training programme with Australia.
The Deputy Prime Minister said the former Government and the current Government’s decisions are not comparable, because the current Government “consulted across Parliament… to try and show them what’s happening there [Iraq] now.”
This is a lie. I have made some inquiries and it seems neither the National nor ACT parties were consulted on this decision.
The Greens are at least consistent in remaining opposed. But they are consistently wrong. They said that the NZ troops have achieved nothing there. In fact the Iraqi Army has taken almost every square km of ISIS held territory back from ISIS. And this is partly because of the training from countries such as NZ.
I’d love to know how the Greens think territory from ISIS can be reclaimed with conflict.
Also worth remembering what the Defence Minister Ron Mark said in 2015:
NZ First MP Ron Mark has labelled the Iraqi Army “cowards” and questioned why New Zealand forces were being put at risk trying to train an army that did not want to fight. …
Mr Mark said Mr Key now had the evidence to show that New Zealand’s efforts were pointless. “If Iraq hasn’t got the will to defend itself, then it is not worth one Kiwi soldier’s life.”
So our Defence Minister said the Iraqi Army which lost thousands of men retaking territory from ISIS were cowards.