Little on extended deployment

It has been reported that Andrew Little said he would ‘bring the troops home’ from Iraq but when questioned about this on Breakfast just now he avoided answering whether if he was Prime Minister he would bring them home as there was too much uncertainty.

NZ Herald: Andrew Little: We’ll bring New Zealand troops home

Labour leader Andrew Little says he will withdraw New Zealand troops from Iraq if his party is elected to power next year.

Mr Little said he expected the security situation in the Middle East to change significantly by the general election, by which time the Islamic State may have been pushed back further or defeated.

But if the conflict remained unchanged in Iraq and Syria, he confirmed he would withdraw New Zealand’s deployment of 143 trainers from Taji Military Base near Baghdad.

“If it’s the same as it is now I cannot see a case for continuing,” he told the Herald.

So despite the headline that is just a maybe will, maybe won’t response.

Mr Little, who has expressed concerns about the Iraqi Army’s capability, said he would support New Zealand staying in Iraq in a peacekeeping capacity in the event that Isis was defeated.

“If that happens, then there will almost certainly be the need for a peacekeeping operation under a United Nations mandate, which is something we are experienced at and good at.”

The Iraqi Government must think we are good enough at helping to train their troops too.

Claire Trevett at NZ Herald: Key walks line between world and NZ

For those who travelled to Taji with the Prime Minister last year, his decision to extend the deployment of 120 troops to train Iraqi forces had a sense of inevitability about it.

The only surprise was that he had waited so long. It was blatantly obvious in Taji the soldiers believed the work they were doing was valuable and would take longer than the two years they were given.

In the end what changed his mind was the prospect of choosing between doing nothing at all or something far more dangerous. The first was not an option for reasons of international relations.After all, it was the Fallujah battle Labour leader Andrew Little set as his litmus test for the success of the training mission. Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee’s attempts to get Mr Little on board by taking him to Taji had limited success.

Mr Little remains opposed to the deployment and to extending it.

Sort of. he sounds against it but is non-committal about what he would do if making the decisions.

From :

“We are nowhere near mission complete, it’s a long term problem, why would Key say it’s only 2 yrs and we are out of here?”

“I had a NZ officer tell me a good day training is when they get the Iraqi officers to point their weapons the right way”

“If I was making the decision today I would say there is no point in propping up the Iraqi army”

But when pressed on what he would do about the deployment he avoided giving a definitive answer.

He wouldn’t say if our deployment was pointless or not.

It sounds like Little is being critical of the Government (and of Iraq) without saying he would do any different and without having an alternative policy.

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  1. Gezza

     /  21st June 2016

    Andrew’s brain seems to be much slower at reasoning than his mouth is at talking.

    Probably the main reason Labour keeps dropping in the polls and he consistently scores like a dunce on the preferred PM poll test.

  2. Corky

     /  21st June 2016

    Latest poll out shows 50% of Labour supporters agree with New Zealand troops being stationed in Iraq in their present roll.

    Andy has it wrong again. He probably thinks he hasn’t as opposition parties jump on the bandwagon along with limp-wristed Wellington liberals. But what about the “bread and butter” voters Andy?

    • PDB

       /  21st June 2016

      On current polling that’s more support within Labour supporters then that wanting Andrew Little as PM.

      • Corky

         /  21st June 2016

        You need to ring the Labour Party up and tell them. I doubt they have a clue.

  3. Missy

     /  21st June 2016

    Personally I don’t think Little will bring the troops home if the advice from NZDF is to keep them there. But the chances of Little being PM next year are not high, so he is being premature anyway.

  4. Shades of 1972 when Labour won the election, and I was ordered to ensure all our troops in Vietnam were back in NZ by Christmas Day. I complied of course, arriving home on 23 December and not a single Official was there to greet us! Wonder why the Veterans of Vietnam felt abandoned by those who sent us off to war? By the way, it is NOT NZDF who advises whether or not they should say, it is the foreign political and military imperatives that count.

  5. PDB

     /  21st June 2016

    It’s like asking Blazer what he is going to do when made Prime Minister.

  6. unitedtribes2

     /  21st June 2016

    Its not often I agree with Andrew but I do on this point

    “If I was making the decision today I would say there is no point in propping up the Iraqi army”

    The most useless army on earth. Much better supporting the Kurds if you want something done.


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