New Zealand's military deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan extended

The Government are extending New Zealand's military training deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as renewing three peacekeeping missions in Middle East and Africa.

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Three peacekeeping missions in the Middle East and Africa will also be renewed. Source: 1 NEWS

The Prime Minister announced the extension today, with the Iraq deployment extended to June 2019 and reducing the number of military personnel from 143 to 121 from November this year.

New Zealand's Afghanistan deployment has been extended to September 2019.

"New Zealand is firmly committed to international efforts to fight ISIS," Jacinda Ardern said. 

"While there have been significant efforts on the ground in recent years, it is still clear ISIS remains a threat, and further support is required to help the Iraqi security forces ensure ISIS cannot reassert itself, and building capacity of the Iraqi forces is one way in which we can do that."

It comes after the previous National Government were criticised by the Labour Party in 2016 for extending the Iraq deployment by 18 months. Then-leader Andrew Little said the troops in Taji had the party’s "full support for the work they do", however he said then- Prime Minister John Key owed "it New Zealanders to explain why we're committing our forces to an ongoing volatile theatre of war".

"He has not been straight with New Zealanders, nor has he made the case for mission creep," Mr Little said.

When Ms Ardern was asked about her party's 2016 stance, she said this extension was "fulfilling our obligations". 

"We already have a commitment to a current training programme that extends out to the middle of 2019."

Ms Ardern said the Government would be considering the options for New Zealand’s future contributions in the case of Iraq and Afghanistan deployments.

The three peacekeeping missions that have been renewed are to South Sudan, the Golan Heights and Lebanon, and the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.