Alfred Ngaro has apologised for controversial comments he made last month, when he said Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) like the Salvation Army and Labour candidate Willie Jackson's Urban Māori Authority shouldn't "take with one hand and fight with the other".
On Tuesday, the Associate Housing Minister told the Community Housing Aotearoa conference in Wellington "I want to address the elephant in the room which is probably me, and the fact is in leadership you learn the fact that if you do something wrong, you've got to put it right.
"So I've got to apologise that there were comments that I made publicly which were wrong. I shouldn't have made them."
Mr Ngaro told the conference his comments "were poorly judged and they were poorly made".
"But I want to assure you the intent I have is to work openly and honestly with all of the sectors we're working with in the community."
He then told the audience that the Government should be held to account, including if that meant criticism.
"At the same time, hold us to account and keep us honest for the things we say and the things we've said that we've not kept to, absolutely hold us to account to that. And if that means critiquing and criticising those things, we're absolutely honest and open to have that and receive that as well."
"My intent is to be able to work with you in a way that's transparent and open and most importantly wanting to make a difference to our communities.