National's Nicola Willis unleashes at journalists for taking Christopher Luxon's 'have more babies' comment 'out of context'

National's Nicola Willis has unleashed on journalists for their questions after Christopher Luxon jokingly encouraged New Zealanders to "have more babies".

Willis said some of the questions were "wrong" - saying one even likened the National leader's comments to a policy introduced by Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany.

After Luxon's "tongue and cheek" comments at an infrastructure conference in Christchurch on Tuesday, some attacked the National leader - with Project Gender director Erin Jackson writing his remarks highlighted "his political naivety and disregard of issues that women care about". 

Speaking to Newshub Nation on Saturday morning, Willis - National's deputy leader - berated journalists who she said took Luxon's comments "out of context".

"I do wish that, this week, journalists were asking me about Chris Luxon's infrastructure policy which he announced to get things built again in New Zealand. 

"Instead, some of them chose to focus on a joke he made in jest, take it out of context, misconstrue it and, in one case, liken it to a Hitler policy. I do regret that - I think that's wrong.

"New Zealanders would much prefer we were talking about the real issues, not off-hand remarks."

Willis said Luxon resonated with many women and it was the party's job to communicate how their leadership and policies would improve their lives.

She said National wanted to connect with more women and was confident her party could.

"We've got incredible women in the National Party team but, would I like to see more women supporting our party? Absolutely."

Willis referred to her fellow front-bench female MPs Erica Stanford and Louise Upston, saying "we've got real talent".

The National deputy leader said she also believed the party had depth.

"I know the candidates that are coming through, I know the Members of Parliament that contribute hugely to our team - I look at our president Sylvia Wood… Do I want to grow the women's vote? Absolutely, yes I do - and that is something that we are focused on."

Willis backed Luxon, saying National could attract more women with the former Air New Zealand chief executive at the helm.

"Our caucus knows that Chris Luxon will make an excellent Prime Minister and I meet people every week who agree with us, and who know he has what it takes," Willis said.

She said her boss had "what it takes to get things done". 

Last week, Luxon was also under fire after he said his party would reinstate the $5 prescription co-payment fees scrapped by Labour in last month's Budget - including for contraception. 

Labour's campaign chair Megan Woods, posting on Twitter, even compared National to The Handmaid's Tale - a dystopian television series in which a totalitarian society subjects fertile women to child-bearing slavery. 

National slammed Labour's conduct as "gutter politics".

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