Defence Force's Iraq committments fulfilled, personnel on way home

4:30 pm on 30 March 2020

New Zealand Defence Force personnel are on their way home from Iraq.

Building-high heavy concrete barriers

Blast protection barriers at Camp Taji in Iraq Photo: Pool Photo

Foreign affairs minister Winston Peters says New Zealand has fulfilled its commitment to the Iraqi government and the Defeat-ISIS coalition to train Iraqi Security Forces at Taji.

Last year the government announced the mission would be withdrawing by June this year.

Twenty-eight personnel arrived back in New Zealand last week, and are in isolation at the Royal New Zealand Air Force base in Auckland.

The rest will be returning later this week.

However, the mandate for the four NZDF personnel to the Coalition Headquarters in Iraq and Kuwait and five operational support roles based in Qatar has been extended until June 2022.

Speaking this afternoon, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the return of New Zealand troops from Iraq had not been sped up by the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said those who had returned already were in isolation and the same rules will apply for those yet to return.