Prime Minister John Key says it will be weeks before New Zealand decides whether to support the international fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
The extremists have seized large areas of both countries and have been accused of widespread atrocities.
Several nations have committed troops to fight it and US-led forces have carried out air strikes against Islamic State-held positions.
Asked if sending troops would be a morally the right thing to do, Mr Key told Morning Report intervening would, on balance, be right.
"The Iraqi government's asking for help. You're not doing something against the will of people.
"Secondly, when we look at the actions of these people are undertaking - everything from public beheadings to the actions against innocent civilians - then it's morally reprehensible."
However Mr Key said the important question is whether a contribution from New Zealand would be useful and this is not certain.
He said no decision had yet been made and it would take a few weeks. "I've received a bit more information and I read a bit more stuff last night on it, but I still haven't had a chance to delve into a huge number of questions that it raises that I need answers to and secondly to have more elaborate discussions with different stakeholders and different ministers."
He said a military response does not necessarily mean boots on the ground and could involve providing airlift capability.