'I didn't think I was being malicious' - columnist behind Clarke Gayford column

The New Zealand Herald columnist who singled out the Prime Minister's partner for "enjoying" being in the spotlight has apologised.

"I try to be more aware of saying the unsayable. I try to stick to the things I deeply care about... But other times my low-level-Tourette's strikes and I blurt out something tone-deaf," she wrote in her Monday morning column, titled 'What was I thinking attacking Clarke Gayford?'.

Ms Hill Cone says when the piece was published, she knew it was a mistake.

"I had to sit with the fact that although I didn't think I was being malicious, I still came across as spiteful and unkind."

The original article, called 'Why does Clarke Gayford bug me?', was published last Monday morning.

She said Mr Gayford "seems to lap the attention up, like the political equivalent of manspreading".

She described the photo of him posing with other spouses of the leaders of the Commonwealth as "cringey", saying he gives her "a little bit of acid reflux".

At the time Mr Gayford subtly hit back, comparing Ms Hill Cone to the "bottom-feeding fish" on an episode of his TV show, Fish of the Day.

Ms Hill Cone now says she feels guilty about how mean she was, and apologised for her "unattractively sanctimonious" position.

"I will try and look more carefully where I am going in the future, but I can't guarantee I won't ever fall down again either. The trick is learning to catch ourselves, and each other, after it happens."

She says she didn't intend to offend anyone with the column.