New Zealand troops on first stage of deployment to Iraq

By Numia Ponika-Rangi

New Zealand troops have left the country on the first stage of their deployment to Iraq, stationed at a military base camp in Brisbane.

Despite opposition to the move, a former New Zealand soldier who's living in Australia believes it is necessary for NZ to head to the Middle East.

This will be home for 120 NZ troops who'll also join a force of 300 Australian troops to train Iraqi soldiers to fight Isis.

It's a bloody war that has been on-going since 2013.  

Jeremy Bush is a former militant who was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 alongside other NZ troops stationed there to monitor the area as well as help out their local communities.

Bush says, “People will think crazy, but fighting for us was like game time you know, so we put all our training into use and heading over there was like a decent experience for us.”

They left on Tuesday for a mission-readiness exercise ahead of the first troops leaving with an Australian advance party. Bush believes this is the right thing to do.

He says “Made us realise that it is getting close to home, so with them getting stuck into it now, I’d rather see something done about it now before it is too late.”

The government confirmed at the end of last month that it had struck a deal giving the troops legal protections while serving there.