7 Feb 2017

Willie Jackson concerns 'a matter for caucus'

5:05 pm on 7 February 2017

The Labour leader has spoken to his MPs after concerns over Willie Jackson's pick as a new list candidate because of his previous comments about sexual violence.

Willie Jackson

Willie Jackson Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Andrew Little has promised a high-list placing for the Maori broadcaster, who joined the party at the weekend.

Labour's Christchurch East MP, Poto Williams, said on Facebook she could not support Mr Jackson's candidacy until he publicly apologised for his comments about sexual violence on a radio talkback show three years ago.

Mr Jackson said he had already apologised, but that he was "happy to say sorry again".

Mr Little said he raised the matter with caucus this morning, and reminded his MPs that if there were issues they were concerned about, then caucus was the place to do it.

He was not worried about the broadcaster causing divisions in his caucus.

"I knew that there were risks about his conduct, particularly over his Roast Busters interview, I was aware of that. But I'm also aware that on that issue, he made an apology at the time, he's made an apology since, and made a written statement and apology over the weekend."

Mr Little said it was important to Labour that people were allowed to redeem themselves.

Mr Little said Mr Jackson had strong ties to urban Māori, a vote Labour wanted to grow.