Prime Minister John Key has ruled out the government introducing its own voluntary euthanasia legislation, despite personally supporting it for people who are terminally ill.
Hundreds of people have made submissions to the health select committee, which is holding an inquiry into medically-assisted dying in response to a petition asking for a law change.
Mr Key said more than half of his party supported voluntary euthanasia, but it was a sensitive issue subject to diverse opinions.
"It's highly likely, subject to the formation of the legislation, that I would vote for it," he said.
"But I can tell you now, there are quite a few members of our caucus that won't and there wouldn't be support for it to be a government bill."
National MPs who were "very strongly religiously orientated" would definitely not support such a bill, he said.
People who were terminally ill, in a lot of pain, and had a very short time to live should have the right to make their own decision to end their life, Mr Key said.
"It's a very personal choice, and I think they've got to make it fully themselves and not feel pressured by others.
"To me, I'm not sure it's a step I would personally take, but I understand it's a step ... others would take."
Labour leader Andrew Little said he too supported medically-assisted dying but the issue was not a priority for his party.
"If there is legislation that comes before the House as a result of [the select committee inquiry], well then, the House will, and should, properly deal with it and have a good debate about it."
Both leaders said if there was ever to be a vote on euthanasia in Parliament, it would be a conscience vote for their MPs.