PM backs US strikes in Iraq

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key (L) speaks with US President Barack Obama in the Oval Office...
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key (L) speaks with US President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
New Zealand would support American air strikes in Iraq, John Key has announced, comparing the situation in Iraq to Yemen.

"I suspect I would adopt the same position I have in Yemen which is to say we're opposed to terrorism, we're opposed to al-Qaeda, the same is the case with ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant]," Prime Minister John Key said on The Nation this morning.

"We've designated them as a terrorist group. We see them as bad people out there to create carnage and unrest and on the back of that we've supported those drone strikes in so much that we've accepted the US has done that at the invitation of that government.

"Given that we've designated them terrorist group and if it was at the invitation of the Iraqi government, we certainly wouldn't condemn it," Mr Key said.

He also reiterated that there was no appetite for a conventional American "boots on the ground" invasion and said it was possible information gathered by Five Eyes would be used in drone strikes on ISIL.

Also on the Nation, Labour Party leader David Cunliffe said the past week "hasn't been too bad a week at all" despite the revelation he wrote a letter on behalf of controversial businessman Donghua Liu which he claimed he could not recall.

"This week has galvanised support for me and for Labour," Mr Cunliffe said.

"What's happened is that support for me within my team is absolutely rock solid and I think public support has galvanised in the face of what people can see is pretty petty politics by the current government."


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