The gossip columnist Pebbles Hooper apologised yesterday for a social media comment about the family found dead in an Ashburton home.
On Saturday in a Tweet - which has since been deleted - Hooper raised the circumstances of the family's deaths.
After a storm of condemnation, Hooper yesterday apologised and posted a second statement "to clarify my intentions."
"I deeply regret any distress caused to the family. I apologise for my wording and take responsibility for upsetting those involved, and I was careless in my actions," she wrote on her Twitter page.
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"The issue I regrettably tried to raise was about parental negligence and the precautions needed to ensure the safety of those who are unable to care for themselves.
"I never aimed to target or isolate this issue to one family. "
Hooper writes for the Spy pages in the Herald on Sunday. The paper's editor, Miriyana Alexander, said the incident was being taken seriously.
"We apologise that this tweet has caused distress - the comment is obviously not a view I or the Herald on Sunday share.
"We are treating it extremely seriously and will be taking this matter up with her this week."
Ashburton mother Cindy George and her three children - Pio, Teuruaa and Telyzshaun - were found dead in a house last Wednesday.
Police said the deaths appeared to the result of an accidental gassing. A car had been left running in a garage to keep its battery charged. Police found an internal door connecting the garage to the house was left open.