The NZDF’s refusal to enlist a young woman just because she was born in Iraq is plain stupid, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.
Warda Jawad,25, was told her application to join the Defence Force was rejected on security grounds because she was born in Iraq, despite the fact she came to New Zealand when she was 3.
“The decision is ill-informed and just plain dumb.
“Warda would be a huge asset for the Defence Force. Her family came from Iraq to escape violence. They are not terrorists, nor am I aware of any evidence of her or her family being security risks.
“Raised in New Zealand, she comes across as having the same values and outlook as any other young Kiwi.
“What she offers the Defence Force are the rare skills of being bilingual in Arabic and understanding the culture of people who live in areas where the Defence Force is deployed.
“She would be invaluable to the Army in helping communicate with locals, especially women, and being a role model for those women.
“She is motivated and well educated, and would be a real asset.
“It’s hard to believe how the Defence Force came to such an ill-informed decision.
“We can only hope that its subsequent apparent reversal of its position has not deterred Warda from a career in which she could excel and provide real benefits to New Zealand,” Phil Goff said.