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NZ 'will have a role' against IS: Key

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/10/2014
John Key has told parliament New Zealand has to play its part in the fight against Islamic State extremists. © Getty Images John Key has told parliament New Zealand has to play its part in the fight against Islamic State extremists.

New Zealand will have a role in the fight against Islamic State extremists in the Middle East, Prime Minister John Key has told parliament.

He hasn't previously confirmed New Zealand will contribute to the US-led campaign against IS, but now there's no doubt.

"We can turn our eyes away from the situation if we want to. But I tell New Zealanders with honesty that we face international risks, we face regional risks, and there's a very real risk we may one day face a domestic risk," he said on Tuesday.

"We have to play our part in some form, we have not made a decision on what that part may be."

Mr Key said he would continue to engage with opposition parties, and share with them as much information as he could about the situation in Iraq and Syria.

He said that when opposition parties had all the information, he would be "absolutely amazed' if they chose to stand back and leave it to other countries to deal with.

"New Zealand has to play its part, but it needs to think through that very wisely," he said.

Mr Key has previously said his options range from humanitarian aid to troop deployment, and sending in special forces would be his least preferred choice.

However, he hasn't ruled out sending troops in a training role to help prepare Iraqi soldiers to defend their country against IS forces.

He said on Monday having a training role was "one of the potential options", and decisions were two or three weeks away.

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