Debate On Iraq Deployment Completed

by Desk Editor on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 — 4:19 PM

Parliament has completed a debate on the Government’s decision to deploy troops to Iraq.

Prime Minister John Key said ISIL was a brutal group that posed a threat to the Middle East and globally which should be condemned.

Since a speech on the subject last year, ISIL’s outrageous actions had become worse and a coalition of 62 countries was now opposed to them and these included New Zealand. Mr Key said the Government had considered carefully expanding its contribution from humanitarian aid to intelligence gathering and capability building.

Iraq had requested support and security was its top priorities. New Zealand would not fight Iraq’s battles for it, but would assist in training Iraq forces alongside Australian troops, but not a badged ANZAC force. This would be a non-combatant training mission “behind the wire” leaving in May for a maximum of two years for around 143 personnel with a review after nine months.

It would be dangerous but it could be done and troops would be sent to protect trainers, but special forces such as the SAS may be sent if they are needed, Mr Key said.

Labour Leader Andrew Little said the decision to send troops to a conlict zone was serious one which Parliament should debate and vote on but this would not happen today as his leave for a notice without motion and debate on the deployment of troops to Iraq, was declined.

Mr Little said Labour’s position was that no troops should be sent to Iraq. Every New Zealander would be opposed and disgusted at the activities of Islamic State, but they were not a nation state as we know it and was not confined to a geographical region. It was a repository for the dispossessed, fanatical and evil.

The deployment would put New Zealanders at risk attempting to do what had failed before. The deployment could not succeed at what the US army had failed to do for 10 years. The Iraqi army could not be fixed to defeat Islamic State, what was needed was civil reconstruction to rebuild good government and economic reconstruction.

Green Co-Leader Russel Norman said the decision to send troops to Iraq was not made in Wellington, but in Washington. Dr Norman said New Zealand was going to defend democracy in the Middle East but National had blocked the vote in parliament. The deployment of troops would only make matters worse in Iraq not better.

All party leaders aside from ACT’s David Seymour spoke in opposition to the deployment.

Following the conclusion of the debate Speaker David Carter referred to the decision that the Speaker had no jurisdiction over the statutory process to appoint members to the Intelligence Security Committee. Mr Carter said the Speaker does not have a role over a process set in law and it was not a select committee. In this case the Speaker could not judge whether the process to appoint had fully complied with consultation requirements.

Report on the Government Superannuation Fund, Actuarial Valuation as at 30 June 2014 was presented as was Maritime NZ’s statement of expectations.

The Auditor-General’s report, Education for Māori: Relationships between schools and whānau, was also presented.

Select committee reports were presented on:

Pacific Parliamentary and Political Leaders Forum by the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee

2013/14 Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited by the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee

2013/14 Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand by the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee

2013/14 FairWay Resolution Limited by the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee

2013/14 Maritime New Zealand by the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee

2013/14 Transport Accident Investigation Commission by the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee

Briefing from Te Ohu Kaimoana by the Primary Production Committee

Petition 2011/0047 of Leona Plaisier on behalf of Save our Sounds by the Primary Production Committee

Petition 2011/0068 of Jon Muller by the Primary Production Committee
The Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Amendment Bill was introduced.

MPs then began Question Time.

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