National deputy leader on whether she's offended by Grant Robertson's 'Trickola Willis' nickname

  • 31/08/2023

Nicola Willis has responded to being called "Trickola Willis" after the nickname given to her by Finance Minister Grant Robertson was criticised as "childish".

AM host Ryan Bridge queried Willis, National's finance spokesperson, on how she felt about the nickname - which Robertson gave to her during Question Time on Wednesday in response to National's tax policy. The nickname was a reference to the "trickle-down" economics theory

"I'm OK with that," Willis said of the nickname.

"It reminds me of some things I got called at primary school, it's not quite as bad as 'Nickers Willie' but, look, if that's the best he's got then bring it on."

Robertson used the nickname in Parliament after Willis asked him whether he'd "lost all credibility".

"We could take that lyrical expression from the member or we could take the view of an independent rating agency who last night said that the New Zealand economy was in good health, had robust governance standards and a robust policy framework, and who supported the Government's strong track record of prudent financial management. So we could listen to 'Trickola' Willis or we could listen to Fitch," the Finance Minister responded. 

The comments were dubbed "unprofessional" and "childish" by those on the right, while others defended them as light-hearted.  

According to Robertson, "all sorts of things get said" during Question Time.

"There were questions being fired around about whether people could trust me… it's the robust debate of Parliament," he told Newstalk ZB on Thursday. 

"It was a light-hearted comment."