Poll: Majority backs Kiwi troops in Iraq

Poll: Majority backs Kiwi troops in Iraq

The latest 3 News/Reid Research poll shows a clear majority of voters back New Zealand's role in the war against Islamic State (IS).

But Prime Minister John Key still says he wants to get the Kiwi troops out of Iraq as planned.

Kiwi troops were sent to Iraq to train Iraqi soldiers to take on IS.

After Mr Key's visit to Camp Taji and the recent Paris attacks, the mission has the strong backing of voters.

A big majority – 65 percent – says yes, they support having the Kiwi troops in a non-combat training role. Thirty-one percent says no. The rest didn't know.

Eighty-two percent of National voters support the mission. Fifty percent of Labour voters are in favour. Even 45 percent of Green voters back it. Fifty-three percent of New Zealand First voters support it.

It wasn't always this way. The initial decision to join the war was divisive. Mr Key set a two-year limit for the trainers. He wants them out in March 2017.

But with the world now teaming up for a long fight against IS, the question is whether Mr Key will get the trainers to stay on longer.

At this stage no country is putting combat troops into Iraq or Syria. The tactics are air strikes and training local forces.

Mr Key says putting Kiwi boots on the ground in a combat role, like sending in the SAS, remains unlikely.

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