New Zealand’s Pacific orientated defence focus is not because of China’s influence in the region, the Prime Minister says.
The Government announced yesterday that it'll pull the New Zealand Defence Force out of Iraq by June next year, which Jacinda Ardern says has the backing of Australia.
Ms Ardern told TVNZ1's Breakfast that in recent years they've been working in partnership with Australia to train Iraqi forces.
"We've trained over 40,000 troops and that's really now coming to it's conclusion... ...so now the Iraqi people can do the job themselves."
"The reason we are waiting until 2020 is to plan the draw down so it's not an abrupt end... ...we can fulfill our commitments and have an orderly exit," Ms Ardern says.
She says there are increasing demands in our own region that New Zealand need to focus on.
"There is no lack of work for them [New Zealand troops] regionally."
Ms Ardern said the decision was not made due to China's influence in the Pacific.
"Our motivation should always be based on New Zealand's interests and responsibilities, regardless of what anyone else is doing."
"Of course people will argue it's because of that increasing presence from China, for me it just comes down to the role that we need to play because this is our region that's the most important determination, nothing else," she says.
The Government will invest $3 million over the next three years to help stabilise Iraq after the ISIS conflict.