The question of whether or not to legalise cannabis pulls two conflicting issues together, says Jacinda Ardern, who has is currently keeping her voting intentions private.
"My vote's only as good as my neighbour's vote," the Prime Minister said on TVNZ1's Q+A.
The public is set to vote on whether cannabis should be legalised in a referendum alongside the 2020 general election.
"For me, it's about the unnecessary criminalisation of people who might use cannabis, but also protecting young people, because I came from a place where I did see young people use, and I saw the effect that it had," she said.
"I’ve always talked about these two conflicting issues for me."
Ms Ardern said she has a responsibility "to make sure I provide the platform for people to be able to make a decision", and that includes ensuring advice and information is available for people.
On her personal vote in the referendum, Ms Ardern said she did not know whether she would be public about her voting intentions.
"I don't see my role here as being to persuade people, but just to make sure that they can make their own mind up."
The latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll indicated 52 per cent of New Zealanders intended to vote against legalisation, 39 per cent wanted cannabis legalised, eight per cent did not know or refused to answer and one per cent said they would not vote.
Q+A is on TVNZ1 Mondays at 9.30pm, and the episode is then available on TVNZ OnDemand and as a podcast in all the usual places.