Rotorua Hospice is one of three Bay of Plenty hospices that will not be offering assisted dying services when The End of Life Choice Act comes into force in roughly five months.
They say assisted dying is not in line with Hospice's philosophy.
Once the act comes into force on November 7 a person who wishes to receive assisted dying and thinks they meet the eligibility criteria can ask a health practitioner about the process.
Under the act health practitioners are prohibited from raising assisted dying with a patient - the patient must raise the issue themselves first.
The act allows health practitioners to adopt a conscientious objection and patients can ask the Support and Consultation for End of Life in NZ group being set up by the Ministry of Health for contact details of a replacement health practitioner.
A selection process is under way for that group and the director-general of health will appoint members.
Rotorua Community Hospice chief executive Jonathon Hagger said the organisation, which had 350 referrals a year, would not be providing euthanasia services.
"We have taken this position because we fully support the philosophy and aim of hospice which is to neither hasten nor postpone death.
"We believe with good support people can live well until they die, and their family and whānau can be an important part of this time.
"A good death, in particular, means assisting the patient to experience as little pain as possible and supporting their bereaved family, including with after-death care," he said.
"Rotorua Community Hospice will continue to provide palliative care for all people with a life-limiting condition, their family and whānau, regardless of a desire for assisted dying."
Hospice Eastern Bay of Plenty chief executive Peter Bassett said his branch of hospice endorsed the position taken by Rotorua Community Hospice.
"We support people with life-limiting illnesses and specialise in delivering palliative care services to them ... We're not experts in euthanasia services."
Bassett said any patients who wished to explore assisted dying would be referred to the Ministry of Health Support and Consultation for End of Life in NZ group to enable them to make an informed choice.
He said no matter what someone's views on euthanasia, it was important people had an advanced care plan detailing their wishes ahead of them nearing the end of their life.
The plan included detailing their wishes about pain relief and what happens after death.
Waipuna Hospice chief executive Richard Thurlow said the organisation had chosen to make a "conscientious objection" to the act.
"Offering euthanasia services does not fit with the desired aims of our organisation and to do so would cause difficulties for medical practitioners and our nursing practitioners.
"The act does make our care provisions for patients incredibly complex. But we will continue to provide services to patients will compassion and sensitivity right up to the end of their life, while not blocking their choice."
Age Concern Rotorua manager Rory O'Rourke said his organisation was not taking a stance on the act but he personally agreed with the assisted dying legislation.
"I think there are sufficient safeguards to ensure the act is not flouted. There is a strict process to follow and without doing so it just will not happen."
O'Rourke said for far too long the subject of dying was a taboo subject and the End of Life Choice Act had opened the door for people to start having this important conversation.
"The act isn't just targeted at the elderly. It's important for everyone to have the conversation with their family and start to prepare for the end whenever that may be."
O'Rourke said he applauded some local funeral parlours, including one which held regular "death cafes" so people could educate themselves about the topic and the options.
Community groups such as the Rotorua Coffin Club where people can make their own coffins also helped to demystify some of the fears around funerals, he said.
A Rotorua Grey Power spokesman said the organisation was taking a neutral position on the assisted dying legislation.
Cancer Society of New Zealand, which does not provide end of life care, has also taken a "neutral position" on the act coming into force.
In a written response, the organisation said: "It is the Cancer Society's view that a critical focus should be to better support people nearing the end of life and their whānau."
A Ministry of Health spokesman said the ministry had a programme of work under way to manage the implementation of the act and establish an assisted dying service.
"Assisted dying will be an entirely new service within the health and disability system.
"It is not a replacement for the required delivery of appropriate palliative care services ... and the Ministry of Health is working with the Government to improve the quality and equity of palliative care services as separate to the required implementation of this act."
The Support and Consultation for End of Life in NZ group was expected to be established next month with a range of responsibilities relating to doctors, nurse practitioners, psychiatrists and pharmacies involved in delivering assisted dying services, the spokesman said.
Decision a personal choice
Shirley Seales, the Tauranga mother of the late End of Life Choice campaigner Lecretia Seales, said she had not expected hospices to support the assisted dying legislation.
"However, there has been a lot of misconceptions and scaremongering leading up to the referendum and the bill being passed, and even today, there are still misunderstandings.
"I'm sure a lot of people are waiting to see how it works in practice and some are not wanting to be at the forefront of the debate.
"But I'm sure given time once people understand the legislation and are confident there are safeguards in place, it will be widely adopted."
Seales said at the end of the day it came down to personal choice.
"Most people want to squeeze as much into life as they can and not looking at ending things as soon as they can, and this included Lecretia."
Wellington lawyer Lecretia Seales sparked a national debate about assisted dying in 2015 when she brought a legal case to the High Court asking to be allowed the choice to end her life.
Lecretia, 42, died from an incurable brain tumour on June 5, 2015, the day after a High Court judge rejected her bid to have the choice of electing voluntary euthanasia.
"Our girl loved life, believe me. While she was physically incapacitated to some degree she did not want to die," mum Shirley Seales said. "But she wanted to have the choice both for herself and for others."
Her legal battle inspired the Act Party leader David Seymour to take up her cause which led to the End of Life Choice Act being passed after a nationwide referendum at the 2020 general election.
Ministry of Health criteria for assisted dying:
• The person must be a citizen or resident of NZ;
• 18 years or over;
• Suffer from a terminal illness likely to end their life within 6 months;
• Be in an advanced state of irreversible decline in physical capability;
• Experience unbearable suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner that the person considers tolerable;
• Be competent to make an informed decision;
• A person cannot receive assisted dying solely because they are suffering from a mental disorder or mental illness, have a disability, or are of advanced age.