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McCully: Please explain troop offer

McCully: Please explain troop offer

The Government is being asked to explain statements made to the United Kingdom House of Commons by the Secretary of Defence John Reid that suggest New Zealand may send more troops to Afghanistan.

National Party spokesman on Foreign Affairs and Defence Murray McCully today drew attention to the statements and called for an explanation.

The Defence Secretary told the Commons that the UK would increase troop numbers from 850 to 5,700, that Canada would commit substantial troops, and that ‘it was hoped’ Australia and New Zealand would also send troops.

Mr McCully says New Zealand Ministers have made ambiguous and conflicting comments on the prospect of further troops being deployed in Afghanistan.

"The National Party is anxious to ensure that New Zealand servicemen and women who are deployed overseas know that they are going with the non-partisan support of the New Zealand Parliament. The quid pro quo is that Ministers need to be clear and frank about the commitments being made on behalf of our country. I am therefore calling on the Government to tell us what lies behind the statement made in the UK Parliament today.

“In the spirit of ensuring non-partisan support of the deployment, I hope the Government will offer a briefing to National on the deployment if the decision has been made.

“The National Party is committed to ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan, but we also expect to be kept informed of the arrangements and support for our servicemen and women when they are sent into harm’s way,” says Mr McCully.


Ends

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