8 Feb 2017

Andrew Little: 'no revolt' over Jackson

9:53 am on 8 February 2017

Labour Party leader Andrew Little denies he is facing an open revolt over picking urban Maori leader Willie Jackson as a list candidate.

Mr Little has promised a high list placing for the Māori broadcaster, who joined the party at the weekend.

Mr Jackson had atoned for comments made three years ago during the so called roastbusters scandal, Mr Little said.

Mr Jackson was taken off air from his talkback show in 2013 after his comments to a woman who said she was raped as a 14-year-old. He said he had apologised, and the remarks were a mistake.

"What he did there was wrong, it was totally wrong," Andrew Little told Morning Report. "In this day and age men should not be trivialising and demeaning victims of sexual abuse and sexual violence."

Christchurch East Labour MP Poto Williams wrote on Facebook that she could not support Mr Jackson until he publicly apologised. She said his comments showed highly offensive attitudes towards victims of sexual abuse, and as Labour's spokesperson for family and sexual violence, she was concerned at his recruitment.

Mr Little said this morning the Labour caucus was "totally united" in its focus on the election campaign.

"We had a discussion, which is totally legitimate, for people to raise questions and scrutinise candidates. That's what we have a process for.

"There is no open revolt."

Mr Jackson's arrival broadened the reach of the party, he said.