23 May 2015

Labour would back pull-out from Iraq

8:20 am on 23 May 2015

The Labour Party says it would support any decision by the Government to withdraw troops from Camp Taji in Iraq.

A New Zealand Defence Force trainer instructs ISF soldiers in correct weapons firing positions. Iraq 2015

An NZDF trainer in Iraq instructs ISF soldiers in correct weapons-firing positions. Photo: New Zealand Defence Force

Islamic State (IS) forces have captured Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's largest province.

David Shearer

David Shearer Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Labour's foreign affairs spokesperson, David Shearer, said IS forces were now little more than an hour's drive away on the open road from Camp Taji, where more than 100 members of the New Zealand Defence Force are based.

"I hope that it hasn't got to the point where we are keeping them there for political reasons rather than for what they can actually do," he said.

"I would hope that the Government, should they see that they are in danger and that we're not able to fulfil the mission that they're been sent for, would make that decision to pull them out and certainly we would applaud the Government for doing that."

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said yesterday he was satisfied New Zealand defence personnel were in as secure a position as they possibly could be.