Yesterday and today in Parliament, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee swore that no decisions had been made on any troop deployment to Iraq. Meanwhile, the NZDF has already begun training to send a company there:
Up to 150 infantry troops are in pre-deployment training for Iraq, despite government assurances no decision has been made, NZ First MP Ron Mark says.
Mark, NZ First's defence spokesman and a former army major, said troops had known as early as last month they were entering pre-deployment training for Iraq, yet Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee denied any decision had been made.
Mark said the Government had been "economic with the truth".
"They've not been open with the public and they're not answering questions with complete honesty," he said.
Mark said sources had told him 150 people had been earmarked for deployment and told they should prepare for deployment between the end of February and the beginning of March.
Phase 1 of the training started on Monday and would continue until December 18.
The NZDF has said they're doing this without any instruction from the Minister. So what do we believe? That the Minister is lying to us? Or that the army has gone rogue and is preparing to get its war on without approval from Cabinet or Parliament? And if the latter, is that really how the military should operate in a free and democratic society?