New Zealand Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says the country will not make any immediate changes to its deployment of trainers to assist the Iraqi army in the wake of the Paris atrocities.

Mr Brownlee was speaking on the return of the first rotation of troops from Iraq yesterday afternoon.

The 105 soldiers were in the country for a six-month deployment where they helped train more than 2000 Iraqi Security Forces personnel.

The returning soldiers formed part of a combined Australia-New Zealand non-combat training force known as Task Group Taji.

The first rotation of Task Group Taji deployed to Iraq in late April and trained up to 2100 Iraqi soldiers.

The training covered weapons handling, combat first aid, live fire training and drills in complex warfighting environments.

 Iraqi soldiers were also taught the fundamental aspects of international humanitarian law and the Law of Armed Conflict.

Mr Brownlee said there were no plans to change the existing deployment arrangements at the present time.

“There’s obviously going to be a lot of consideration by a number of countries over the next while as the full effect and consideration of what’s happened in Paris sinks in,” he said.

“I think the nature of the attacks tells us that this an enemy that is much more rooted in its ideologies than its particular structure.


“It does mean that when you can engage with them –in the military sense you need to do so in an effective way.

“That is a task of the Iraqi army, the Iraqi security forces are taking on and I think the contribution that our guys are making to train those soldiers will be part of ultimately getting on top of this particular problem.”

Major General Tim Gall, Chief of Joint Forces, said that the Paris attacks would have impacted on the New Zealand troops in Iraq.

“It’s probably given them a greater sense of mission.” he said.

“Sometimes it seems a little bit remote to us here is New Zealand but I am sure this has sharpened their focus a little bit.”

New Zealand is committed to four six month deployment of trainers to Iraq and has set a two year limit on its deployment with a review after one year – that will take place in February.

The New Zealand troops work with 300 Australian troops but unlike New Zealand, Australia has not set a limit on its deployment which strongly suggests that if the Australian stay beyond two years then the New Zealanders probably would as well.

It has been estimated that up to 250 Australians are fighting for the Islamic State, whereas according to Prime Minister John Key only five New Zealanders are known to be fighting for the IS.