A New Zealand MP has apologised for anti-Muslim comments which sparked condemnation across the political spectrum.

In a magazine column, Richard Prosser said that young men who were Muslim, looked like Muslims, or came from Muslim countries, should be banned from flying on Western airlines because they posed a terrorist threat.

Today Mr Prosser said he had gone too far, and that the vast majority of Muslims were peaceful and law-abiding.

"I realise that's caused offence to those people unjustifiably and unnecessarily and I'm apologising to them unreservedly," he said.

But the New Zealand First MP says there needs to be a debate about the merits of targeted profiling of air passengers.