Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres has asked parliamentarians to condemn the comments made by MP Hone Harawira.

Mr de Bres wrote to the Leader of the House, Gerry Brownlee, this week after Mr Harawira apologised again for racially loaded comments in an email and his party decided to let him stay.

In the letter, obtained by the Herald, he asked Mr Brownlee to move a motion in Parliament next week deploring Mr Harawira's words and acknowledging the hurt and anger they had caused, as well as noting his apology and calling on MPs to refrain from racial vilification and abuse.

A copy of the letter was sent to the leaders of all parliamentary parties, seeking their support for any such motion.

Parliament usually only has jurisdiction over statements made in Parliament.

However, Mr de Bres said that while the Maori Party and Mr Harawira had dealt with the matter to their own satisfaction, the concerns of the general public about a member of Parliament making such statements remained unresolved. He said the matter had demeaned the post of MP.

"I don't like to make an absolute judgment on an apology or response, but I think there's a gap in terms of the response of Parliament.

"In the best circumstances, this would be an opportunity for political parties, including the Maori Party, to take a common stand as members of Parliament.

"I know it's not a usual thing to do, but there are occasions on which Parliament resolves something together and I think this is an appropriate occasion given the degree of public agitation there has been."

Mr de Bres has received around 800 complaints about the email Mr Harawira wrote to a former Waitangi Tribunal director, Buddy Mikaere. He will review the case next year to try to answer some of the concerns raised by those complaints, including the definition of racism.

Mr de Bres condemned the email at an early stage, but could not take any action because there was no breach of the Human Rights Act.

Yesterday, he said he had offered to help the Maori Party resolve the matter in a way similar to that his office used with Newstalk ZB and Paul Holmes after Holmes' "cheeky darkie" reference to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. That included apologies and meeting with communities affected.

Mr de Bres said the Maori Party president had acknowledged his letter but had not taken him up on it. There was no compulsion on the party to do so.

A spokesman for Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples said the party had no comment on the letter, because it was addressed to Mr Brownlee. A spokeswoman for Mr Brownlee said he had not yet discussed it with his colleagues.

Mr Harawira has refused to say the comments were racist, but said they were unnecessary and insensitive and had caused pain and anguish to New Zealanders.