Labour leader David Cunliffe has spoken out in favour of oil exploration in the sanctuary home to Maui's dolphins.
Speaking to 3 News tonight, Mr Cunliffe said, "... We're not saying that existing operations should be curtailed because there's no evidence we're aware of of harm to Maui's dolphins."
When asked if under a Labour Government there could be exploration in the Maui's dolphin's sanctuary, Mr Cunliffe responded, "there could be provided there's no harm to Maui's dolphins."
Simon Bridges, Energy and Resources Minister, said it was good the Labour leader had investigated this and thinks petroleum activities in the marine mammal sanctuary was safe.
Mr Bridges said he was disappointed by the "scaremongering" of local Labour candidates including Tamati Coffey.
He said the Government would not do anything to jeopardise the Maui's dolphins.
Mr Coffey held a protest at Mr Bridges' Tauranga office on Saturday asking for immediate action to ban all exploration in the sanctuary.