The Dominion Post

NZ troops expected to join ‘family’ fight

- ANDREA VANCE

BRITAIN expects New Zealand to join the internatio­nal coalition against Islamic militants as ‘‘part of the family’’, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says.

New Zealand troops will go to Iraq to train the local army, and a final decision on the details is expected from Cabinet ministers at the end of the month.

Last month, Prime Minister John Key said joining the 61 nations countering Islamic State extremists in Iraq and Syria was the ‘‘price of the club’’.

Hammond underscore­d that yesterday afternoon, following talks with Key and Foreign Minister Murray McCully. But the Government insists it is not under pressure to enter the conflict.

‘‘Every nation in the coalition is making its contributi­on in a different way. Frankly, we’ve got used to New Zealand being there alongside us, alongside the US, the UK, Australia, as part of the family,’’ Hammond said.

‘‘We would very much hope that New Zealand will be an active participan­t in a fight which is all of our fight.’’

However, Labour leader Andrew Little – who is opposed to the deployment and also met Hammond yesterday – said that was not a valid argument. The public did not know enough about what was expected of New Zealand troops, he said.

‘‘We are an independen­t nation state, we are entitled to make decisions that are in our interests . . . simply saying we are part of a family, or part of a club, that’s not an argument about why to put our people in harm’s way.’’

Hammond said Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s government was rebuilding security forces and needed internatio­nal help.

‘‘They are not asking us to fight their fight for them.’’

McCully denied there had been increased pressure to sign up since New Zealand won a seat on the Security Council last year.

At Parliament yesterday, Hammond presented the Speaker, David Carter, with a plaque bearing the names of New Zealand’s World War I Victoria Cross recipients.

He hoped the plaque would be an inspiratio­n for future generation­s ‘‘because our partnershi­p, forged in adversity and founded on a shared commitment to liberty, is as important today as ever’’.

The plaque will be incorporat­ed in the remodelled Cenotaph complex, which should be completed before Anzac Day this year.

 ?? Photo: GETTY IMAGES ?? Kiwi courage: UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond presents a plaque to the Speaker, David Carter, at Parliament yesterday. The plaque is inscribed with the names of Kiwi recipients of the Victoria Cross in World War I.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES Kiwi courage: UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond presents a plaque to the Speaker, David Carter, at Parliament yesterday. The plaque is inscribed with the names of Kiwi recipients of the Victoria Cross in World War I.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand