Any suggestions of a joint New Zealand and Australian Anzac unit that would see combat in Iraq against Islamic State are "fundamentally wrong", Prime Minister John Key says.

However an Anzac badged joint training force remains a possibility.

Australian media this morning reported New Zealand and Australia had been in talks right up to the prime ministerial level about a joint force to serve in Iraq, a century after the first Anzac force was created.

Sydney's Daily Telegraph said it was estimated that a further 400 Australian specialist soldiers could be sent, along with an as-yet-unknown number of New Zealand troops.


Mr Key has indicated New Zealand will contribute to efforts to combat IS with as training role likely for New Zealand personnel but his Government has yet to confirm the exact form of assistance.

This afternoon, he said he'd seen the Australian media reports and "I'd say the way that's reported is fundamentally wrong because it talks about a combat force".

Watch: Key - 'No ANZAC combat force'

John Key talks on the possibility that NZ joins up with Australia as part of a training capability, but there are no decisions made on a badged unit.

"There will be no Anzac combat force but what is possible is that New Zealand joins up with Australia as part of a training capability. It's not impossible that they could be badged as an Anzac unit that is possible but we're a long way away from agreeing that."

He said neither Australia or New Zealand had made a formal commitment to training role and New Zealand had yet to identify a suitable base for such a force.

If a joint training force bearing the Anzac badge was formed, the badge would be "fundamentally just symbolic", Mr Key said.

A spokesman for Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee earlier said the Government had "made it very clear for some time that we're talking to the Australians about how we both might contribute to the coalition campaign to counter ISIL (Islamic State)".

"We've also made it clear that if New Zealand concludes it has a military role to play in Iraq, it will only be a training role, building the capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces, and will not involve combat."