Labour is looking at the Norwegian model for regulating the oil and gas industry, including stronger environmental safeguards and steeper taxes.
Leader David Cunliffe says Labour supported deep sea oil and gas exploration "in principle" but would pass laws to toughen environmental protection.
However, Labour would not immediately halt existing exploration programmes such as Texan company Anadarko's exploration of the Taranaki and Canterbury basins.
Deep sea exploration oil drilling began off the Waikato coast by Texas-based oil company Anadarko last year.
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