The leader of the Caledonia Together Party, Philippe Gomes, says he is opposed to an independence referendum as outlined in the 1998 Noumea Accord.
Mr Gomes made the comment on local television as the territory nears next month's provincial elections after which such a referendum can be held as part of the decolonisation process prescribed in the Accord.
Mr Gomes says he is opposed to what he calls a frontal vote because nothing is defined of what is behind the two options.
He says some parties want a quick vote to eliminate the independence question while others want a quick vote to get rid of France.
Mr Gomes says after the elections and before any vote, he would like roundtable discussions involving the rival sides and the French state to flesh out what the options entail for a vote.
He says this would prompt parties to explain what sort of link they imagined to maintain with France.
Mr Gomes says being with France, New Caledonia can protect itself against certain people inside the territory and be safe from what he calls external predators that could recolonise the territory economically.