New Zealand soldiers in Iraq have embarked upon "mission impossible" as they attempt to train a cowardly army fighting ISIS, says NZ First MP Ron Mark.
The former mayor of Carterton questioned Prime Minister John Key in Parliament today about the Government's decision to deploy Kiwi troops to the Middle East on a training mission.
"Does [Prime Minister John Key] not realise that you can't train cowards to fight?" Mr Mark asked.
"Does he not realise that he sent our brave New Zealand soldiers to Iraq on a fool's errand, and that training the Iraqi Army to stand and fight is a literally mission impossible?"
His comments come after ISIS fighters advance across northern Iraq, capturing the city of Ramadi last week, and are now a little more than 90km from the New Zealand base at Taji, outside Baghdad.
The Prime Minister responded to Mr Mark by saying the NZ First MP should "probably reflect" on his statement.
"To put that generalisation across a whole country's population is either foolhardy or harsh, he can choose which one he best prefers," Mr Key retorted.
He told Mr Mark that ISIS presented a domestic threat and by relinquishing "our responsibilities and [doing] nothing", a greater risk would develop.
Mr Key earlier said he spoke with the New Zealand Defence Force and national security advisors, who both said there was no reason for New Zealand to change its plan in Iraq.
He said there was an exit strategy for New Zealand forces and early warnings situations to determine if the deployment should be reviewed, none of which have been triggered.
Today's debate comes after United States Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Ramadi fell to ISIS because the Iraqi Army "showed no will to fight".