British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond pauses as he speaks during a meeting with Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja (not pictured) in Helsinki, January 8, 2015
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond pauses as he speaks during a meeting with Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja (not pictured) in Helsinki, January 8, 2015Reuters

Britain's foreign secretary Philip Hammond prompted New Zealand to take the decision over whether it would help Western forces in its battle against the Islamic State (Isis),

In a press briefing during this short stay in New Zealand, Philip Hammond hoped the country would decide to take an active part in fighting the spread of terrorist activity perpetrated by the Islamic militant group.

"We would hope that New Zealand will become an active participant in a fight which is all of our fight," said Hammond.

He said Iraq is not asking for other countries to fight its war but rather is seeking help to train troops and give them air cover.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the cabinet did not discuss any troop deployment at the meeting. He hoped to make a decision around the end of the month.

Hammond hosted a meeting in London in January of the foreign ministers of 21 countries involved in the fight against Isis.

Isis execution
Reuters file photo

The rapid expansion of territory seized by jihadist groups is one of the worst geo-political developments in recent years.

Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and the Afghan Taliban have all violently brought land under their control.

The Islamic State burst out of the Syrian civil war in late 2013 and after seizing control of some Syrian areas from forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad – including the city of Raqqa, now the capital of the Islamic State – it went on to win territory in Iraq too.

It has primarily funded itself through donations from wealthy sympathisers in the Middle East and selling oil produced within its borders at infrastructure it stole from Syria and Iraq, but also raises money from assets it has robbed, extortion and kidnap ransoms.

Hammond also threw support behind new trade ties between New Zealand and the European Union.

"The UK will act as a champion within the EU for an EU-New Zealand free trade agreement which will be good for New Zealand, good for Europe and good for Britain," he added.