David Cunliffe would look at buying back any state owned assets sold under the National Government.
Mr Cunliffe and David Shearer are battling to convince caucus colleagues they're the best choice to take over from Phil Goff as Labour leader, as the countdown continues to a secret ballot on December 13.
The two next potential leaders went head to head again on TVNZ's Q + A programme this morning, discussing why they should lead the party.
Their opinions were also canvassed on a selection of policies, including public-private partnerships.
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Mr Cunliffe said he wanted to make his position clear on National's plan to sell up to
49% of the country's energy assets - Solid Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis - and a further sell-down of Air New Zealand.
"I don't stand for a paler shade of blue, and I want to look down the barrel and say this: if the Government is going to sell off precious state assets then we would not rule out re-nationalising some of them. And people need to be aware of that regulatory risk.''
When asked by host Guyon Espiner whether he would buy them back, Mr Cunliffe replied "we would look very hard [at buying them back].''
Asked if that was a smart use of money, Mr Shearer interrupted and said "the smart use of money is making these [state owned] assets actually work for New Zealand much more.''
During the interview, the candidates continued to sell themselves and answered questions on issues which included capital gains tax, whether the SAS should be removed from Afghanistan and whether the 90 day trial was working.
Mr Shearer recommended a focus on an innovative "clean green economy'' to push New Zealand forward, while Mr Cunliffe recommended more focus on research and development.
Shearer sold himself as a "clean clear break'' from the past, while Mr Cunliffe said that while his opponent had the support from the outgoing leadership team, former leader Phil Goff and deputy Annette King, he embraced a significant degree of change.