Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

Defence Minister Mark Mitchell to Europe for anti-Isis meeting: 'The fight is going well'

Defence Minister Mark Mitchell. New Zealand Herald Photograph by Dean Purcell.
Defence Minister Mark Mitchell. New Zealand Herald Photograph by Dean Purcell.

Defence Minister Mark Mitchell will travel to Europe for a "defeat Isis" meeting - his first overseas trip since being appointed to the role.

The defence ministerial meeting is next Tuesday in Copenhagen.

"The fight against Isis, also known as Daesh, is going well and the global coalition has won significant territory back and continues to degrade Daesh's capability," Mitchell said.

"However, Daesh continue to pose a significant threat to international security and we must continue to work together."

Read more about our new Defence Minister's unusual backstory here

Mitchell said he would demonstrate to other leaders that "New Zealand's support to the coalition remains firm".

New Zealand and Australia are running a training mission in Camp Taji for Iraqi forces fighting Isis in Iraq, and New Zealand has contributed 106 Defence Force personnel to the effort.

Mitchell will visit the Whenuapai Air Force Base today, his first as Defence Minister. He lived on the base as a child when his father was a Flight Lieutenant and said it will be a "privilege" to return as minister.

Mitchell, 48, is a former police dog handler who after his career with police spent eight years in the Middle East, first working for a British contractor providing security to the Coalition Provisional Authority and training Iraqi security forces.

He was elected in Rodney in 2011, the seat vacated by Sir Lockwood Smith.

- NZ Herald

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