Almost 12 per cent of doctors in a recent survey have admitted to taking part in an assisted death.
The fax poll, conducted by the New Zealand Doctor magazine and IMS FaxHealth, found 11.8 per cent of the General Practitioner (GPs) respondents had helped a terminally ill and suffering patient to die.
The survey had 110 respondents, meaning about 13 doctors had assisted in a patient's death.
The report, published by New Zealand Doctor today, also found that nearly 41 per cent of respondents had been asked by family members to assist in a death.
The ethical debate surrounding voluntary euthanasia was highlighted earlier this year when Wellington woman Lecretia Seales filed a statement of claim in the High Court seeking a ruling to determine whether her GP could lawfully administer a lethal dose of drugs to end her life at the time of her choosing.
Ms Seales, a lawyer, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2011 and died on June 5, just hours after a judgement was made in the case.
Shortly before her death, however, she learned the claim had been rejected due to "complex legal, philosophical, moral and clinical issues" that could only be addressed by Parliament.
The New Zealand Doctor poll asked participants if doctors should have a role in assisting terminally ill people to die, with 44.5 per cent saying "yes", 47.3 per cent saying "no", and 8.2 per cent saying "don't know".
When asked if a law change was needed to allow doctors to assist in a death without being prosecuted, 45.5 per cent of respondents said "yes", 44.5 per cent said "no" and the rest did not know.
The majority thought assisted death was not common.
When asked how widespread the practice of doctors "unofficially" assisting a terminally ill or suffering patient to die, 40 per cent said it was "rare" and 14.5 per cent said it was "very rare".
However 16.4 per cent of respondents did believe it was "common", 4.5 per cent "very common", and 24.5 per cent did not know.
A large portion of the GP participants were concerned, however, about the consequences of a "right to die" law.
Asked if this law would be misused or manipulated, 73.6 per cent said "yes", 20 per cent said "no" and 6.4 per cent did not know.
The poll had a margin of error of +/- 9.3 per cent.