The Government has come up with a deal to end whaling in Antarctica.

Prime Minister John Key told a media conference this afternoon that the Government had drafted a deal that would see an end to commercial whaling over an undisclosed timeframe.

The deal will be put on the table at the International Whaling Commission meeting, to be held later this month in Honolulu.

But just how long it would take to stop whaling and what New Zealand would concede to the Japanese remains unclear.

"These have been ongoing discussions and, as I say, progress has been made but it is a delicate subject and we need to work our way through it and I don't think name calling or collisions on the high seas are going to resolve this issue," Mr Key said.

He said the topic will be discussed with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she arrives in Auckland on Friday.

Asked if the Americans could take a leadership role in stopping whaling, Mr Key said: "They are doing their best, along with others, but they obviously have a strong relationship with the Japanese and I am sure that is something that Mrs Clinton will put to play."

He said Mrs Clinton and her US envoy will be left with a clear impression of New Zealand's stance on whaling.

Mr Key said Iceland and Norway had been involved in the discussions.

"Our view is we would rather see a diplomatic solution rather than the kind of fracas we saw on the Southern Ocean recently," he said.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's high-tech speedboat Ady Gil, which had been part of efforts to harass Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean, sunk following a collision with the Shonan Maru 2 last Wednesday.

The Sea Shepherd has filed a complaint with the New Zealand police, accusing the crew of the Japanese owned Shonan Maru of attempted murder.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said in a radio interview last week: "If people are determined to break the law and determined to kill other people on the high seas, then it is not the responsibility of the New Zealand Government or any other Government to send armed vessels down there or something of that sort to stop them."