Poll shows strong support — especially among men — for deployment to train locals fight Isis.
A strong majority of New Zealanders support the Government's decision to deploy 143 troops to Iraq to train the Iraqi Army in its fight against Islamic State.
Many of the Kiwi troops have now reached Iraq, where they will work alongside Australian forces at a United States base in Taji.
In a Herald-DigiPoll survey 57 per cent of those polled agreed with the decision to deploy the troops; 34 per cent did not. Support for the deployment was particularly strong among men. Two-thirds of the men polled supported it compared to 47 per cent of women. Support levels were similar across all age brackets.
The poll of 750 eligible voters was taken in the lead-up to Anzac Day when there were arrests in Australia of a group suspected of planning terror attacks for Anzac Day. There was also coverage in New Zealand of Kiwi jihadist Mark Taylor's YouTube clip urging Islamic State sympathisers here to target Anzac Day celebrations.
Mr Taylor is believed to be fighting with Isis in Syria.
Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said those were possible factors in the poll. He believed it showed people were increasingly realising New Zealand was not isolated from the threat posed by Isis.
The deployment was opposed by Labour and Labour's foreign affairs spokesman David Shearer said he believed New Zealanders were more evenly split than the poll suggested.
He said the poll should have asked whether people felt New Zealand should have contributed in another way, such as humanitarian or reconstruction work.
"We are putting ourselves at risk for no gain."
He did not believe New Zealand could make a difference with a military contribution.
Polls on both TVNZ and TV3 just before the Government announced the deployment in February showed support was evenly split.
The Government has been criticised for its secrecy over the deployment compared to Australia's more public approach to updates on troop movements.
Mr Brownlee said the majority of the troops had arrived in Iraq and the Defence Force would make an announcement when all were on the ground.
Troops in Iraq were allowed to use social media while there, but had been advised of the dangers of it.
"The usual decades-old order that troops don't talk about their deployment in their letters, phone calls and now social media still applies."
Announcing the deployment in February, Prime Minister John Key gave an impassioned speech in Parliament, saying New Zealand could not just stand by while Isis engaged in acts such as beheadings of hostages and killing civilians.
In February, Mr Key revealed the numbers of those being monitored on the spy agencies' "watchlist" had risen from 40 last year to about 70.
The Herald-DigiPoll survey of 750 eligible voters was taken from April 17-26 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.6 per cent.