Coronavirus lockdown: Defence Force ready to help if asked - Defence Minister Ron Mark

Defence Minister Ron Mark says the army is ready to help enforce lockdown rules if asked, but as of yet no request has been made.

Around 50 Defence Force members were working across various Government departments planning logistics for possible scenarios if the situation in relation to COVID-19 worsens in the country, Mark said.

"They're looking forward in scenarios and creating plans for those Government agencies," Mark told The AM Show on Tuesday.

He said such planning operations was "nothing new" for the army and stressed that there were no plans for the military to start assisting police in enforcing lockdown rules.

"The police are in charge, they're the lead agency," he said. "We're working, like all other agencies, with the police, meeting the requests from every other Government agency – whatever the Government agencies need in way of support we'll provide when they ask for it, it's pretty much as simple as that."

On Monday, Mark announced that New Zealand was withdrawing all its military personnel from Camp Taji in Iraq.

All 45 members were either back in the country or were on their way, Mark said.

The arriving members would be going into isolation for two weeks at the Whenuapai military base, before going into lockdown with their families.

"They're looking forward to being locked down with their families for two weeks after spending six months in Iraq, so that's not a problem," Mark told The AM Show.

He said the troops had done a great job in Iraq.

"They trained around 47,000 Iraqi security forces personnel. I think the world has seen the difference in the Iraqi security forces today from what it was when ISIS [The Islamic State] made those huge gains and [was] taking swathes of territory throughout Iraq and Syria.

"They're in charge of themselves now - we've moved from training the soldiers to training the trainers and mentoring the trainers and now they're independent and self-reliant."

Earlier this week, the Defence Force confirmed that seven members had tested positive for COVID-19.

Mark said that none of the soldiers returning from Iraq had the virus.

"No one has shown any symptoms at all with respect to Taji," Mark said.

"But we do have a couple of cases and they're being treated in exactly the same way as any every New Zealander who's tested positive is treated."