Labour Party MP Ginny Andersen has apologised to Police Minister Mark Mitchell after saying he was “paid to kill people” as a security contractor in Iraq last week.

The former police minister, during a debate with Mitchell on Newstalk ZB, also asked him whether he “kept a tally of how many you shot”.

Mitchell had called the comments “outrageous” and demanded she apologise.

“I think you should go away and reflect on what you’ve said and come back and apologise,” he said.

Initially, she refused to do so but appears to have changed her position as of this morning.

Speaking to RNZ’s Morning Report, Andersen said: “I apologise to Mark Mitchell. It is unacceptable to personally attack someone.

“It is not my usual standards… I would like to apologise to any listeners who took offence to those comments I made.”

She also apologised on Newstalk ZB: “I took the tone down, and I’m sorry for that,” she said.

Following the initial comments, Labour leader Chris Hipkins said Andersen “went too far” but said he wouldn’t reprimand her as they shared views on “the risks of a more privatised approach to military conflict”.

In Iraq, Mitchell spent time protecting diplomats and officials and training police.

Mitchell also founded the Threat Management Group, working in Pakistan, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The group was tasked with protecting infrastructure and hostage negotiations.