Maureen Pugh 'can't be living in the 21st century and deny human-induced climate change is real' - Christopher Luxon

National Party leader Christopher Luxon says MP Maureen Pugh now understands how her controversial comments about climate change came across.

On Tuesday, West Coast-Tasman-based National list MP Pugh walked back comments she made about climate change, after earlier telling media she had yet to see evidence humans caused it.

Luxon said climate change was "real and happening" and had an in-person meeting with Pugh after she made the comments.

"I said, 'You can't be living in the 21st century and deny that human-induced climate change is real.' And Maureen understands that," Luxon told AM.

"She had a shocker of an interview - I appreciate she walked back her comments and clarified and committed to the position that we hold but I also gave her a reading list, frankly, of books and things that I want her to read - just to make sure she fully understands the science underneath it.

"If you're a climate denier… it just doesn't work, right? She expressed herself really poorly."

Christopher Luxon.
Christopher Luxon. Photo credit: Newshub.

Luxon's comments come after Pugh's remarks sparked a backlash among fellow MPs.

Pugh's comments were "unbelievable, actually, and an insult to the people who are right now suffering and facing the head-on consequences of climate change, making weather events worse, more severe and more regular", Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson said

"Yes, obviously, man has an impact on the climate," said Chris Bishop, a fellow National MP of Pugh's. "There is no doubt about it. We have been filling the atmosphere with fossil fuels for generations now."

Luxon said Pugh now understands National's stance on climate change and has "committed to the position".

"It was, as I said, a poor interview and she clarified the position quickly afterward and, from my point of view… everyone's united in the position and I've been very clear from taking on this leadership that climate change is real - there is no space for climate deniers."

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said on Tuesday he was "staggered the National Party is still having this debate".

Climate change was "absolutely man-made", he said.