Pledge NZ forces says poll

By NAOMI LARKIN

Two out of three New Zealanders think we should offer military support to the United States in its war on terrorism, a Herald-DigiPoll reveals.

The survey of 552 people, taken between September 28 and 30, shows that 67 per cent support an offer of military support, 27 per cent are opposed and 6 per cent unsure.

The poll found that 58 per cent support the US taking military action in retribution for the September 11 suicide attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Just 25 per cent said no to military action, with 18 per cent unsure.

The results also indicate that New Zealanders' taste for militarism - or sense of insecurity - is rising, with 61 per cent calling for this country to become an active member of Anzus again; 24 per cent were opposed and 15 per cent unsure.

Seventy-five per cent said armed security guards should be present on overseas flights.

The terror attacks have had a dramatic effect on international travel plans, with 12 per cent of Kiwis who had trips scheduled this summer now saying they will give those plans away.

On Friday night, Prime Minister Helen Clark reinforced New Zealand's commitment, saying: "The international effort to deal to terrorism, which New Zealand supports, will be ongoing, multifaceted and prolonged."

A peace march up Queen St on Saturday attracted about 300 people who called for the US to seek justice rather than retribution.

The poll shows that people rate the Government's level of support for the US as appropriate, 64 per cent claiming it is "about the right level". Twenty-two per cent say too little has been done and 5 per cent, too much.

More than half (51 per cent) believe our intelligence agencies need more power to monitor people's movements and communications, with 37 per cent opposed.

But 57 per cent would not agree if authorities said it was necessary to include tapping their telephones, 60 per cent would not agree to having their mail inspected and 53 per cent opposed authorities looking into their e-mail.

When it came to inspections of bank accounts, 35 per cent said they would agree, and 64 per cent said no.

As the hunt for Osama bin Laden, suspected of heading the network which organised the terror attacks, reaches inside Afghanistan with US covert troops confirmed inside the country, the poll shows support for America's actions.

Nearly half of those surveyed felt the US had sufficient evidence to link the attacks to bin Laden's group in Afghanistan, 25 per cent did not and 28 per cent were unsure.

But there was a clear belief - at 72 per cent - that the US should make its evidence public before taking retaliatory action.

Fifty-seven per cent said that if the Taleban continued to refuse to hand over bin Laden the US should send ground troops into Afghanistan, 29 per cent were opposed and 14 per cent were unsure.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 per cent.

Map: Opposing forces in the war against terror

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Afghanistan facts and links

Full coverage: Terror in America

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