NZ role in Iraq will be longer than 2 years -- Little

(Newshub)
(Newshub)

New Zealand's role in Iraq will extend past the current two-year deployment Labour leader Andrew Little says.

Mr Little, who was recently in Iraq to visit New Zealand troops, told The Nation programme he has "no doubt" New Zealand will continue to have a role in Iraq.

He is calling on the Government to come clean on what is going to happen.

"It is important for the Government to be clear with New Zealanders what demands are being made of us by the coalition partners and by the Iraqi government, what are their expectations, and what is going to happen."

Mr Little says that now Prime Minister John Key has committed troops to train Iraqi forces, there is no way he can expect to pull them out of the country in two years.

"What the Iraqis told us, in fact, the Americans told us, [is] the criticism that they got was the minute they scaled back and left after the conflicts in the 2000s, that's when [the] chaos started to erupt.

"It's not as easy as saying we've done some training, we're out of here, because there will be a vacuum left. And the question is, what do we need to do to avoid a repeat?"

Mr Little says despite his continued opposition to the training deployment in Iraq, New Zealand still has a role to play.

"Certainly, doing nothing is not an option. I mean the world has to push back on ISIS, certainly in Iraq."

He added the attack on Mosul planned for this year will determine if we are "winning" against Islamic State.

"That's going to be a test of whether the Iraqi Army has really transformed under the training that is being provided."

Newshub.