Labour MP Chris Carter has told media he travelled "excessively" as a minister and shouldn't have taken his partner with him as often as he did.

Mr Carter also told media he would be returning to Parliament next Tuesday, having spent the past week working in his Te Atatu electorate, after his position within the party was thrown into doubt following his party demotion.

Mr Carter lost his foreign affairs portfolio and was bumped down the Labour Party list for failing to front up and properly apologise over his credit card spending as a minister.

"I regret that my travel was excessive and I regret the number of times I took my partner, and for that I apologise to the taxpayers of New Zealand and to my colleagues in the Labour Party who have had to deal with this issue this week," Mr Carter said.

However, at a press conference in his Mt Roskill electoral office, Labour leader Phil Goff said he believed Mr Carter's apology today was genuine and he would reinstate him to the ethnic affairs and conservation portfolios.

"I think that he was feeling, really, the pressure and the stress of last week, that's only human," he said.

"I think he has had time to consider, to take advice from friends, to come to the conclusion that his behaviour last week wasn't acceptable and to make a genuine apology, and I believe he's done that."

Mr Carter had not been forced by Mr Goff to apologise, as had been speculated after his apparent defiance when confronted by news media last week.

"It was pointless if I were to tell him what to say. That would not have been genuine.

"He had to consider his actions and the consequences of them, and he's done that."

Mr Goff said no further action would be taken against Mr Carter.

Mr Carter emerged in Parliament today to offer an apology to taxpayers and colleagues.

He said he used to think that he had done nothing wrong, but his time away from Parliament and consultation with friends had changed his mind.

"To be honest, at first I didn't think I had done anything wrong. I have thought about that, I have been at home, consulted my partner, reflected on it and I concede there is an issue of excessive travel and the amount of times that he travelled."

He said although Cabinet had signed off on all of his travel while Education and Conservation minister, he should not have put his hand up so often.

"I was a senior minister in that cabinet and I could have been more prudent in the number of trips I went on and more prudent in the amount of times I took my partner.

"Every trip I went on was important. If I didn't go another minister would have had to do that. But I shouldn't have been so willing to volunteer so often and I went more often than I should have and I took my partner more often than I should have."

He said he had not handled the situation well, including his accusation that he was being targeted because he was gay.

He regretted not taking questions from media last week, and said he could take media lessons from fellow Labour MP Shane Jones, who has consistently fronted media and expressed immediate contrition following of the fallout

Mr Carter said he took advice from colleagues and friends, including Mr Goff, who advised him to apologise.

"I want to put this issue behind me before I come back to Parliament on Tuesday."

He also confirmed he intended to stand for Labour in Te Atatu again next year.

He said he hoped this past week would not damage his political future with Labour, but that was up to his colleagues and Mr Goff, who "has my total loyalty".

"I'm an enthusiastic, energetic person. I hope I have shown that in the 14 years I've been an MP."

- with NZPA