Prime Minister John Key has defended his angry counter-attack in Parliament after Opposition parties' criticised the decision to send troops to the Middle East.
Mr Key also says New Zealand's response is "at the most mild end" of what it could do in Iraq as part of the fight against Isis,
It was yesterday announced the New Zealand Defence Force would send 140 troops to Iraq to train Iraqi forces against the terror group, which is also known as Isil or Islamic State.
Today Mr Key said it was a minimal commitment given New Zealanders already faced an increased risk of domestic terrorist attacks from Isis-inspired jihadists.
Following the announcement yesterday, he faced a barrage of criticism from both the Opposition and some of his allies. It triggered an angry response, with Mr Key shouting across the House: "This is the time to stand up and be counted. Get some guts and join the right side."
This morning he denied it was anger that sparked the comments, but "passion" because he felt "very strongly about the actions of Isil".
"Realistically some of the actions we've seen across our TV sets, they're not isolated, they're not singular, they are a continuous run of absolutely repulsive behaviour," he said on Radio New Zealand.
"Realistically we are at the most mild end of what New Zealand could do. So if we're not going to train a few Iraqi forces behind the wire, then our next option is do nothing."
The decision was not taken lightly, the Prime Minister said.
"I think the point here is that, while it's true that by taking these actions some very brave men and women of New Zealand's armed forces are going to be in a more risky position than they otherwise would be, the counter factor of that is if we do nothing, 4.4 million New Zealanders are exposed to people who have a death wish on New Zealand," he told the broadcaster.
"What we're seeing with Isil is they are directly reaching out to a group of disillusioned, disaffected, disengaged young New Zealanders. They are encouraging them to take out domestic terrorist acts - that is a direct threat on the public of New Zealand."
It came after Mr Key revealed yesterday the number of New Zealanders considered possible risks as extremists had increased from 30-40 last year to 60-70 now.
Nats' allies, opposition united against the move
It was not only the Opposition parties who voiced concerns - Government allies Peter Dunne and the Maori Party were opposed to the move and even Act's David Seymour had reservations.
Speaking after Prime Minister John Key announced the deployment in Parliament, Mr Little said troops were being sent into danger in Iraq with little hope of making any difference.
"They will not just be behind the wire, they will be exposed to the much wider conflict. It will not be just soldiers we send to Iraq - it will be Kiwis travelling around the world."
Instead he urged more reconstruction work.
"We will not defeat - no one will defeat - Islamic State through the Iraq Army."
Mr Key was also criticised for refusing to allow Parliament a vote on the deployment. NZ First leader Winston Peters said National knew it could not get a majority and there was no mandate for the action. He said Mr Key had earlier indicated a United Nations-backed action would be required for New Zealand to enter Iraq. "Nothing has changed in Iraq except his 'club' persuaded Mr Key to commit our troops."
Mr Seymour said he had "considerable scepticism" about what any such intervention could achieve, but backed the decision in the interests of collective security and relations with New Zealand's allies.
Green co-leader Russel Norman said National was dragging New Zealand into the Middle East at the behest of "Washington, not Wellington".
"Every Western bomb dropped on the Middle East over the last half century has only added to the Isil recruitment queue."
Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell said sending troops to train would be seen as an aggressive move by Isis.
United Future's Peter Dunne raised concerns about troops getting caught in an escalation of the conflict and said New Zealand should use its place on the Security Council to ensure any international action was sanctioned by the UN.
Mr Key responded to the criticism angrily, saying he believed Mr Little would send troops in the same circumstances if he was Prime Minister. He warned that if a New Zealander fell victim to Isis, the leaders of Opposition parties could rue their choices. "We all understand the domestic risks of Isil and we understand the risks for New Zealanders. And I just look forward to the political leaders who have spoken in opposition today being the ones to come forward if something goes wrong to those New Zealanders."
The chief of the Defence Force Lieutenant General Tim Keating later said he had had to be sure the troops would be able to make an impact and that strong safety measures were in place before he could approve deployment.
'The commitment has been done - time to ask questions'
Associate Professor John Stephen Hoadley from Auckland University told TV3's Firstline today that New Zealand was committed to sending troops.
The Opposition should now be asking questions surrounding the costs, the risks and the procedures involved in going, as well as questions about the people who were going and the job they were going to do.
"These are the kinds of questions the Opposition should be asking the Prime Minister, not castigating him for making the commitment - the commitment is already been done."
Mr Hoadley agreed it was "a worry" to be involved in training an army that was well know for being corrupt and incompetent, which was why negotiations included ensuring soldiers had a "safe spot" next to the Australians.
He said Camp Taji was a "relatively" safe spot and New Zealand forces would not be relying on Iraqi forces for protection
"They'll be protecting themselves and working with other western governments."
He said the risk factor to New Zealand was "very small" and there were other targets far more lucrative to Isis terrorists.
"Isis has named shopping malls in Canada and the US and in Britain. New Zealand is way down the list when it comes to Isis terror potential targets so I'm not worried immediately.
"[But] of course one has to always be cautious the unexpected can happen and if there is an attack here then of course the Government will be under fire for underestimating that possibility."
He warned that if someone was to get injured or killed the public would react "negatively".
"Several people have warned about casualties, it is the risk that the defence forces take... there is a risk and the public are going to be very concerned about the safety."
Professor Kevin Clements from the National Centre for the Peace and Conflict Studies told Newstalk ZB that the deployment of troops to Iraq was "foolhardy".
"This whole initiative is misguided... there is no strategic or tactical objective clearly laid out... it's not specific, it's not measurable, there are no achievable targets.
"It's a foolhardy, stupid operation."
Mr Clements said deploying troops was not necessarily the answer, and suggested New Zealand would be better off by providing humanitarian assistance or relief.