22 Oct 2014

PM to brief parties on Islamic State

6:46 am on 22 October 2014

Prime Minister John Key says he will brief Labour and other parties as he gets more information on what assistance New Zealand could provide in the fight against Islamic State.

Prime Minister John Key sits in front of the High court judiciary during the official opening of Parliament

Prime Minister John Key at the opening of Parliament. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

At the state opening of Parliament yesterday, Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae warned in the Speech from the Throne that the rapid rise of Islamic State posed international, regional and domestic risks that the Government would respond to in a reasonable way.

In his address in reply to that speech, Mr Key said that New Zealand has to play its part in some form.

"We have not made a decision what that part might be like, there is a very wide range [of options]. We'll continue to engage with the other political parties, including the Labour Party and we're more than happy to share as much information as we practically can."

John Key said when Opposition parties have all of the information he said he would be amazed if they did not want New Zealand to contribute to the fight against Islamic State.

Annette King.

Annette King. Photo: LABOUR PARTY

But Labour's Annette King said her party is concerned at the haste in which New Zealand was being led into conflict where it did not know what its involvement would be, what the outcome would be and what the exit strategy is.

"Like many New Zealanders, we don't feel the case has been made to us to be involved in a conflict with ISIS."

Annette King said John Key's response to questions about New Zealand's committment has been too casual and it feels like the country is being fitted out for a decision that has already been made.

She said it is reprehensible to use fear as a weapon to try to persuade the public.

"Some of us do remember the gung-ho approach of John Key in 2003 and his insistence that we send troops to Iraq - something that the Labour Government refused to do without a UN mandate which never came."

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