Māori MP has concerns about NZ troops being sent to Iraq

By Korōria Taumaunu

A Māori opposition MP has concerns regarding Prime Minister John Key’s decision to send NZ troops to Iraq.

Up to 143 personnel will join a force of 300 Australian troops to train Iraqi soldiers to fight Isis, an Islamic rebel movement which controls areas throughout Syria, Iraq and Libya.

The move comes as an executive decision, one which will bypass parliamentary debate.

Tāmaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare says that’s a concern as the reasons for going haven’t been well thought through or debated and the nation hasn’t had the chance to be involved in a conversation on it.

“We should be concerned for their [Māori in the Armed Services] safety, but more importantly for the process in making decisions in sending our kids and our tamariki, and our whanaunga to war.”

Mr Henare, whose grandfather was the celebrated 28 Māori Battalion commander, Sir James Henare said that many Māori may be reconsidering the Armed Services as a career path.

 “Once upon a time it was a great thing for your whānau if you went into the Armed Services, and I daresay many whānau are now questioning that” said Mr Henare.