Act Party leader David Seymour says he was "mildly opposed" to euthanasia when he came to Parliament but a single piece of research made him begin to reconsider his position.
"If you had asked me when I was first elected to Parliament [in 2014] I probably would have said I'm not so sure about this, I'm worried about the abuse," he said this evening.
Seymour, whose End of Life Choice Act is being voted on in a public referendum, said he started changing his mind when he was reading the evidence presented at the Lecretia Seales court case in 2015.
"One particular piece of evidence, it was about Belgium, they said 1.8 per cent of people who have assisted deaths in Belgium do it without consent. And the opponents were using this information to try and spook people.
"So I got the British Medical Journal, and where they got it from, it said previously it had been 3.1 per cent, since they legalised it's gone down because there's more control."
He added: "The more I looked into the evidence, the more I saw that there's a small group of people who have motivations they never quite reveal who will say anything to defeat it.
"But once you go to the hard evidence, you always find that the laws are safe and that choice is actually a beautiful thing for people to have."
He made the comments at a virtual town hall meeting this evening, in which viewers questioned him on how he might handle a larger caucus, his plan for Covid-19, gun reforms, and his End of Life Choice Act.
Seymour suggested he was unlikely to continue campaigning for euthanasia after the referendum. He had no interest in broadening the law, such as by allowing people to die solely because of mental suffering.
"Something that's psychological, in my view, can always be fixed. There are physical things you just can't fix."
On Covid-19, he said New Zealand needed to constantly ask how it could do better, instead of being thankful it was not in a Victoria-like situation.
It should follow the Taiwan model by allowing the private sector to play a greater role, such as in managed isolation and contact tracing, he said - including a trial of Sam Morgan's Covid Card.
He believed that New Zealand should be opening its borders immediately to any place which had similar levels of community transmission.
"There are some countries which have just as much community transmission as the South Island. If it's safe to go to Queenstown from Auckland, then surely it's safe to go to Perth."
He added: "You look at Samoa, RSE workers, you look at international students with those principal's plans, all of these things can actually be done almost immediately."
Some polls have placed the Act Party as high as 8 per cent, meaning it could be bringing in nine more MPs after the election.
Seymour claimed he was winning votes from National, the Maori Party, NZ First, and a few Green voters who were worried that their party had become "the thought police".
He was not worried about managing a larger, inexperienced team, joking that he had coached a rugby team for seven seasons.
He reacted angrily to the suggestion that some of Act's new recruits were "amateur", saying the deputy leader Brooke van Velden had steered the End of Life Choice Act behind the scenes - a task which included consulting with 70 supporting MPs from both sides of the House.
He said describing third-ranked candidate, Nicole McKee, as a gun lobbyist was unfairly pigeon-holing her. She was a mother who had hunted to feed her family, and when gun laws were reformed after the Christchurch quakes she was a calm, reasonable voice of opposition, he said.
Seymour downplayed McKee's apparent anti-1080 comments at the Act Party conference, saying that she was simply reflecting on her own experience.
"You can't put people on boxes and not listen to everything they've said. She also said it's something that's going to be necessary."
VIRTUAL TOWN HALL
With the general election just days away, who has the leadership, vision, and passion to lead us through one of the most testing times in our nation's history?
From the Covid-19 health response to tackling the economic fallout, we'll look for answers. How will each party manage the border? Who will offer the best support for struggling businesses and the unemployed? What are their solutions to the housing crisis? Plans to tackle climate change, healthcare debt and child poverty? Education policies?
With nothing off the table, this is your chance to raise issues and have your questions answered directly.
You can submit your questions live during the programme on NZ Herald's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages or, if you have a specific question for any of the other party leaders send us a video via Facebook Messenger of yourself asking it. We'll put as many questions as we can to the leaders live on air.
Last night's virtual town hall featured New Zealand FIrst leader Winston Peters.