National's Nicola Willis, PM Christopher Luxon, Taika Waititi, 'Up The Wahs' all make Quote of the Year list

Finance Minister Nicola Willis's awkward question to Labour's Grant Robertson has made the list of the ten best quotes of 2023 by Massey University.

In August, during Parliamentary Question Time - when National MP Willis was in opposition - she launched a stinging attack on then Finance Minister Grant Robertson over reports of a hole in revenue.

She asked: "How big is his hole?" reducing the rest of the House to hysterics. Robertson, off camera for those watching Parliament TV, could be heard yelling out: "That is not in the public interest, I can assure you."

Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University has compiled the list since 2011 and voting on this year's is open to the public until Sunday, December 17.

Also included in the list is the phrase "Up the Wahs", which Massey University said was the "most frequently nominated" quote. 

"About a third of the nominations were for this quote, said by different speakers," Speech Writing specialist Dr Heather Kavan said. 

"It's more than a quote, it's a cultural phenomenon. The words are singable and inspired a parody of the popular New Zealand song 'How Bizarre'."

The top 10 quotes of 2023 full list: 

  • "I don't listen to rumours. I just start them." Taika Waititi when asked to identify the wildest rumour he ever heard about himself.
  • "I encourage all of you to go out there, have more babies if you wish, that would be helpful." Christopher Luxon on how New Zealand's economic agenda needs people.
  • "A B-grade American celebrity coming out and essentially hijacking Bird of the Century. I don't think he even likes birds." Save the Kiwi's Erin Reilly reacting to John Oliver's campaign for the puteketeke.
  • "Nah, we're just three Māori boys." Mikey Kihi, Rikki Kihi, and Morehu Maxwell when asked if they were from the navy as they rescued trapped citizens during Cyclone Gabrielle.
  • "How big is his hole?" Nicola Willis in parliament questioning Grant Robertson about a fiscal hole.
  • "You can be a mother, or not, an ex-Mormon, or not, a nerd, a crier, a hugger - you can be all of these things, and not only can you be here - you can lead." Jacinda Ardern's emotional farewell speech to Parliament.
  • "There is nobody who fails to be interesting." Broadcaster Kim Hill reflecting on her years of interviewing.
  • "Up the wahs!" New Zealand Warriors fans and most of New Zealand cheering on the rugby league team.
  • "The issue is rain. We really need that to stop." Mayor Wayne Brown as Auckland prepared to enter a state of emergency.
  • "'Oh, have you got ID?" Wairarapa bar manager Debbie Sinclair to Ed Sheeran when he made a surprise visit, and she thought it was a government sting operation.