Climate Change Issues Minister Nick Smith has warned New Zealand scientists to take extra care when writing the next United Nations climate change summary to avoid slip-ups like those that have embarrassed their contemporaries overseas.

But he says most politicians would never have seen the offending paragraphs - which include claims about lost ice climbs in the Andes, Alps and Africa and the rate of Himalayan glacier melt - because most of them skipped straight to the potted summary.

The director of Victoria University's Climate Change Research Institute, Dr Martin Manning, said the shorter summary for policy-makers was subject to much stricter controls than the chapters and was expected to be based entirely on peer-reviewed science.

The full 3000-page version of the report by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was criticised after revelations that a line about ice loss was based on interviews with mountaineers from an article in a climbing magazine and a student dissertation.

That came after the IPCC retracted a shakily sourced claim in another chapter of the same report which said the Himalayan glaciers could be gone by 2035.

The alleged gaffes highlighted in recent weeks are in chapters written by working group two, or WG2 - the group dealing with vulnerability to climate change and its likely effects on people.

Dr Smith said they did not affect the crucial conclusions by working group one, which deals with the scientific basis for concern about global warming and human activities.

He said he, like most politicians, had read only the 200-page summary and he was not aware of any errors in that.

"Much of the material that has been the source of criticism is unlikely to have been read by any of the elected representatives," he said.

The controversy sparked debate about what should and should not be allowed to appear in the mammoth document when the next version appears in 2013-14.

Dr Manning, who was heavily involved in the 2007 report as head of the technical support group for WG1, said the decision 15 years ago to allow work from outside peer-reviewed academic journals into the chapters was made because shutting it out would have barred new and good-quality science from the developing and non-English speaking countries.