Simon Bridges refuses to back down on 'wokester' scrap with Police Commissioner Andrew Coster

Former Opposition leader Simon Bridges is standing by his attack on Police Commissioner Andrew Coster, the top cop he branded a "wokester" last week.

Six days on from the scrap, the National MP is still refusing to offer an apology to Coster.

Bridges doubled-down on the comment on Thursday, telling a Newshub reporter he "definitely" stands by his opinion that the Commissioner is a "wokester". 

"I'm not going to get into that conversation," Coster told Newshub.

The Police Commissioner arrived at Parliament with reinforcements on Thursday - and the stoush continued.

The two talked over one another in a fiery showdown regarding New Zealand's gang numbers, with Bridges asking the Commissioner if the police "still arrest criminals in New Zealand".

"I'll try and answer what I think was a question about the pursuit policy," Coster responded.

However, Bridges did not refer to Coster as a 'wokester' again.

When asked by Newshub if he was too scared to say it to the Commissioner's face, Bridges laughed off the suggestion.

"No, not at all," he said.

"I call it as I see it. Parliament needs some straight shooters."

Coster told Newshub the two had "a good debate".

Meanwhile, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins perhaps set a record for Parliament's fastest backtrack, offering an apology mere minutes after defending his insinuation that people from Pacific countries are too poor to visit Queenstown.

On Thursday, ACT leader David Seymour asked Hipkins when the Government will open the border to Pacific nations given the low rates of COVID-19, referencing struggling Hawke's Bay horticulturists and embattled Queenstown tourism operators.

"I think in regard to the latter part of the question, the member might like to consider how many of the people from those countries would be spending their money in Queenstown," Hipkins said. 

When questioned by a Newshub reporter regarding his comments, Hipkins said that "generally speaking", people from the Pacific "aren't spending huge amounts of money in the tourist resorts of Queenstown".

He denied implying that Pacific people were too poor to visit the popular destination, but stood by his remark - acknowledging that it was an assumption, but a "fair" one.

"It's just not where they're going to spend money... there is a bit of an assumption there," he said.

"They tend to be coming to New Zealand for family reasons, for work reasons, for health reasons.

"I think it's an assumption that's probably a fair one."

But on reflection, the minister admitted he had made a mistake.

"To be honest, whilst we have been having a conversation about something else, I've reflected upon that. If anyone from the Pacific was offended by my comments then I absolutely apologise - I didn't mean to cast aspersions."