Livestream: Defence Minister Ron Mark addresses NZDF troops in Iraq, Australia bushfire response

  • 08/01/2020

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Defence Minister Ron Mark is speaking to reporters about the New Zealand Defence Force response to the Australia bushfires and will field questions about the status of Kiwi troops in Iraq.

On Wednesday, the NZDF sent three RNZAF NH90 helicopters and aircrew to Australia to help in the battle against the country's devastating bushfires. Other personnel will also fly across the Tasman for support.

It comes as questions swirl about the status of New Zealand troops in Iraq. It's understood Aotearoa has 50 personnel in Iraq, with 45 in Camp Taji and five in Baghdad. 

Training activities have been on hold following the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani on Friday at Baghdad International Airport. That United States-directed airstrike led Iran to vow revenge and the safety of soldiers in the region is now in question.

Leaked documents on Tuesday suggested troops within the US-led coalition against Islamic State, which includes New Zealanders, would be withdrawing from Iraq. However, the US Defence Secretary says this is incorrect.