Prime Minister John Key has launched an angry counter-attack over Labour leader Andrew Little's opposition to the deployment of troops to Iraq, saying Mr Little needs to "get some guts" and questioning whether he would make the right decisions for New Zealand.
Mr Key said Mr Little knew the numbers of New Zealanders considered possible risks as extremists had increased from 30-40 last year to 60-70 now. There was also a greater risk to travelling New Zealanders.
He believed Mr Little's objections were simply politicking and if it was in Government, it would have deployed the troops as the former Labour Government had sent engineers to Iraq and the SAS in a combat role to Afghanistan.
Mr Key said no country could simply sit by as the atrocities of Islamic State continued.
"Get some guts!" he told Mr Little in Parliament. He said the reason Mr Little was opposing it was "because he wants politics to win over what's right for the people".
Mr Key said the opposition parties in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia had all supported military missions to combat Isil, yet Labour was unable to do the same
"We will only deal with [Islamic State] when we deal with the underlying causes and the underlying unrest that is spread across that region."
Up to 143 New Zealand personnel will be sent, although the deployment will not be a badged mission. It will be reviewed after nine months and last no more than two years.(The New Zealand Herald)