The Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, says the war against Islamic militants in Iraq could be a five to 10-year project.
New Zealand is supplying humanitarian aid in Iraq, and the Government is considering further military involvement.
Mr McCully told TV3 that the Government is waiting for official advice before deciding on whether it will broaden its involvement in Iraq and join any action against the group, Islamic State.
But he agreed it could take as long as 10 years for the war to be concluded.
"I agree with that statement and that's one of the factors the Government is going to take very carefully into account, I can assure you. Our Prime Minister's been very clear about the process we're going through and it's not a completed process yet."
Mr McCully said New Zealand would be careful and moderate on this issue.