NZ refused to send troops to Iraq for war it didn't 'believe in'

New Zealand has twice decided to deploy troops to Iraq following the 2003 invasion, and both decisions were politically fraught.

It's the second time in 13 years that Kiwi forces have been deployed to Iraq - and both decisions were a political minefield. Source: 1 NEWS

The release today of Sir John Chilcot's report into Tony Blair's decision to join America's invasion 13 years ago has seen the campaign back in the spotlight.

Then Prime Minister Helen Clark resisted the call to join the invasion, instead sending 60 engineers to help rebuild the country and support the United Nations.

"The bottom line is that this Government doesn't trade the lives of young New Zealanders for a war it doesn't believe in," she said at the time.

Currently, around 150 Kiwi troops are dealing with the bloody legacy of the war.

They are helping train Iraqi troops, a mission that has been extended by nearly two years.

The decision to send New Zealanders back to the Middle East hot-spot was also controversial, but Prime Minister John Key says the troops are doing the right thing.

"I wouldn't like to see NZ in Iraq for a very long period of time because I don't think that would be appropriate but at this point in time it's the right thing to do," he said.