Nat MP apologises for 'white cis male' remark on Nashville killings

National MP Simon O'Connor

National Party MP Simon O'Connor has today apologised for his comments in Parliament that the Nashville school shooter was not a "white cis male".

In Parliament last night, in a debate on the Criminal Activity Intervention Legislation Bill, O'Connor began a speech acknowledging the Christian community in Nashville following the deadly school shooting.

Police identified the shooter as 28-year-old transgender man Audrey Hale.

"Three children and three adults are dead, and the shooter—and just to assure that community, long persecuted, that they are in our prayers," O'Connor said.

"I'd also point out to Marama Davidson that the shooter and murderer is not a white cis male."

It follows Davidson coming under fire earlier this week for comments that "white cis men" were to blame for most violence in the world.

She had made the comments following the rally to oppose controversial anti-transgender speaker Posie Parker on Saturday, and shortly after she'd been struck by a motorcycle.

Davidson has since clarified but not apologised publicly for the comments.

O'Connor had drawn controversy on social media with some people saying he was attempting to score political points over the tragedy.

Today, O'Connor said he had not thought about his comments after making them but they were brought to his attention by a "Twitter storm".

"I realised instantly actually I'd overstepped the mark and [was] quite embarrassed and certainly apologetic about it.

"It was speaking far too soon on a tragedy in another country and it was also weighing into some of the wider cultural talk that we're having here at the moment, which... I think less talk in some ways is better.

"To be quite honest, I was quite emotional that evening, which led to what you could describe an outburst and... I'm quite sorry about it, actually."

"Emotion normally doesn't take me over."

He said the comments were not anti-transgender and did not "have much depth to it" and was not rational.

"It was just an emotional outburst."

"I spoke wrongly, basically. I'm happy to apologise.

"I'm grateful that people actually have spoken up and challenged me."

He said he had not spoken with National leader Christopher Luxon about it.

O'Connor, the MP for Tāmaki, did not write his speeches and only spoke "off the cuff".

Green Party co-leader James Shaw.

He said the Nashville killings had especially affected him because it was a Christian school.

Greens co-leader James Shaw said he was happy O'Connor had walked the comments back.

"Simon O'Connor was taking a tragic event, where three children were shot in a school shooting and using it to make a political point."

Asked about O'Connor's comments today, Luxon said he was impressed O'Connor had reflected on his comments and "apologised very genuinely".

"That's exactly what he should do."