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New Zealand extends Iraq deployments

New Zealand extends Iraq deployments

New Zealand will extend its military presence in Iraq until June 2019, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced.


Cabinet signed off on five military deployments on Monday.


The deployment in Afghanistan has also been extended to September 2019 alongside three smaller peacekeeping missions.


Ardern said ISIS were still a threat and New Zealand could still help Iraq fight them.


The Iraq mission was previously set to finish in November 2018. This decision would be reviewed in early 2019.


New Zealand has had a joint-training mission in Iraq with Australia since 2015, all part of the US-led Operation Inherent Resolve.


Most of the soldiers are stationed in Camp Taji, where they train Iraqi personnel. 


"The Government has weighed a number of factors, including carefully considering the risks to our servicemen and women based on advice from the New Zealand Defence Force. The decisions themselves were taken following careful Cabinet deliberations," Ardern said.


Labour opposed the deployment to Iraq and previously criticised another extension as "mission-creep," with former leader Andrew Little promising to bring the soldiers home.


The force will be reduced from 143 to 121 personnel in November, the previous end date for the deployment.