Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has played down how much influence the Greens had in the Government's decision to pull Kiwi troops out of Iraq.

After the decision was announced yesterday, the Green Party used the Twitter hashtag #GreenWin.

But speaking to reporters outside the House today, Peters questioned how it could be a win for the Greens if the troops are to remain in Iraq for another year.

"It's a bit hard to argue you've won when the troops are still there until June of next year – let's be logical about it … How can it be a win if they're still there?"


At the moment, there are 95 non-combat Defence Force personnel in the Taji Military Complex in Iraq – their job is primarily to train Iraqi Security Forces.

But following Cabinet's decision, announced yesterday, that number will be reduced to 75 next month, then to 45 in January next year. The remainder will withdraw by June 2020.

In a press statement, issued after the announcement yesterday, Greens Defence spokeswoman Golriz Ghahraman said the decision had been "years in the making".

"I am thrilled that a withdrawal is finally on the horizon after years of advocacy from New Zealanders who strongly believe we don't need to follow America and Australia into the Iraq war."

She said it had been a "very constructive experience working with [Defence] Minister Ron Mark on these issues".

In a video, posted to Twitter, Ghahraman said she had advocated for a "progressive alternative" for defence in New Zealand.

Greens Defence spokeswoman Golriz Ghahraman said the decision to bring troops back from Iraq had been
Greens Defence spokeswoman Golriz Ghahraman said the decision to bring troops back from Iraq had been "years in the making". Photo / Mark Mitchell

"I'm so glad the Defence Minister has heard our calls," she said, talking up the Defence plan's focus on climate change.

Peters told reporters today that the decision to pull troops out of Iraq was made at a "certain level" and "the Ministers involved in that are on the press statement; the Prime Minister [Jacinda Ardern], myself and the Minister of Defence [Ron Mark]".


Speaking to Sky News this morning, Peters said in response to a question over whether the decision was influenced by the Greens, this was the "first time I had ever heard that".

When asked about the Greens' use of the hashtag #GreenWin, Peters said: "You can write that sort of stuff if you want to, but this is a very serious programme. The people of Australia want to hear facts and not concocted fiction."