NZ First MP Richard Prosser has apologised over a series of inflammatory comments made about Muslim men.
But, he has stopped short of a complete back down, saying: “I do [stand by my comments].
“However, my choice of words was inappropriate and the article wasn’t balanced.”
In a column published in this month’s Investigate magazine, Mr Prosser wrote that Muslims or those who look like Muslims, or those from a Muslim country should not fly because they could be terrorists.
The list MP had previous gone to ground but was confronted by 3 News while walking to his Parliamentary office this morning.
“I didn’t go far enough to make the point that there is a great separation between the majority of peaceful law-abiding Muslims who aren’t involved in that sort of thing and the small radical element who are.
“For that I’m sorry.”
“I’m trying to move away from being a shock jock with a pen,” he said.
Mr Prosser’s comments have been reported across the globe and slammed by many, including Ethnic Affairs Minister Judith Collins, who fears international fallout.
Despite the criticism, Mr Prosser says he stands by what he said – but should have said it in a different way.
“In my role as an MP, I shouldn’t have gone down the road that I did in calling for a blanket ban on a certain profile of people flying,” he said.
Mr Prosser wants Parliament to have a discussion on why everyone at airports is subject to security screening and why there isn’t “more targeted profiling”.
“With aviation, we have a problem coming from an identifiable quarter and that quarter is a small, extreme minority or young, angry, Muslim men.”
When asked if he considered himself racist, he replied “hell no! Islam is a religion, not a race”.
Mr Prosser is now considering ditching his monthly opinion column in Investigate magazine so he can “separate being a journalist from being an MP”.