National cabinet to approve troops for Iraq today

The controversial issue has split Parliament – and even some of the Prime Minister’s allies are vehemently opposed to intervening in the Middle East.

A deployment would conclude months of increasingly bellicose rhetoric since the general election as John Key ramped up talk of New Zealand’s need to intervene.

Labour defence spokesman Phil Goff said it seemed Mr Key had privately decided months ago to deploy troops to fight Isis.

He said New Zealand’s Western allies, rather than the Iraqi government, were driving the push to send Kiwi troops to the Middle East.

“My problem, and the Labour Party’s problem, is the avenue Key has chosen is likely to be the least effective way of dealing with the problem.”

He said that was because the Iraqi army was corrupt, had a “pathetic” leadership and was itself a cause of sectarian tensions and subsequent grievances Isis used to win support.

Mr Goff said Isis needed to be contained and isolated, starved of funds, weapons and personnel, and its victims given help.

I don’t know about you, but I think we should send Phil Goff to sort this out. ?He seems to know exactly what to do. ?

He said National would sustain domestic political hits if an Iraqi quagmire emerged, especially if National bypassed a vote in Parliament.

“It will bite them in the future if the deployment goes sour, if somebody gets killed, or if the Iraqi government refuses to reform itself and appears to be an unworthy recipient of New Zealand’s assistance.”

National was far from persuading all its partners of the deployment’s merits.

United Future leader Peter Dunne said he was firmly opposed to deploying troops, despite Mr Key entreating him to back the action.

“We each have a different view. It’s fair to say he accepts, but not agrees, with my position. And I suppose I do likewise with his.”

Confidence-and-supply provisions between the two parties did not cover the deployment, Mr Dunne said.

“It’s a judgement call for any government to make. In this instance I think it’s the wrong call.”

Not sure what the hell Dunne’s role is these days. ?All he does is guarantee confidence and supply, and then seems to be against everything that the National-led government does.

This is the sort of issue where a coalition government needs to provide a united public front, even if there may be differences of opinion on the details of an implementation.

It will be interesting to see if this is just one of those hot button issues, or National?has lost control over its?coalition partners in a general sense.

Sending 100 professionally trained defence personnel?to Iraq is hardly a controversial thing to do in and of itself. ? The question is – since when did Maori, Peter Dunne and, yes, also Labour and the Greens, start putting their own narrow interest before standing up against evil? ? With that attitude, we would never have helped in WWI and WWII either.

I find it shameful. ?It’s petulant and childish, and shows that these people have no sense of geopolitics and our role within the international community.


– John Weekes, NZME