1 May 2017

Labour delays release of party list

7:05 pm on 1 May 2017

The Labour Party has delayed the release of its party list for this year's election, and is declining to give a reason why.

An announcement was expected today, but has now been put off until tomorrow morning.

Willie Jackson and Andrew Little at Waitangi, announcing Jackson as a new Labour candidate. 5 February 2017.

It is understood the delay is due to Willie Jackson, left, being unhappy with his placement after being promised a high position by Labour leader Andrew Little, right. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

It is understood Labour candidate Willie Jackson was unhappy with his list placement and expressed that view to the party's moderating committee.

He was understood to have been placed at 21 on the list, after being promised a high position by Labour's leader, Andrew Little.

Sources told RNZ Mr Jackson was now "all good" with his position, but it was not clear whether that was because he had been bumped up or placated in some other way.

Labour's East Coast candidate, Kiritapu Allan, was placed at 20 and the party's Northland candidate, Willow-Jean Prime, was at 16.

Labopur MP, Sue Moroney.

Labour Party MP Sue Moroney Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

There has already been one casualty over the party's list, with Sue Moroney announcing she would retire from Parliament, after failing to get a high enough position.

Ms Moroney has been an MP since 2005 and was the party's chief whip while David Cunliffe was the leader in 2013 and 2014.

Former Labour president Mike Williams said the party's decision to delay its list announcement was unprecedented, but not against its rules.

He said the party could amend the placements up until they were announced.

"The [Labour] New Zealand Council can amend the list after the moderating committee has done it, but once it's announced it's set in concrete."

Mr Williams said he understood there was a dispute over the placement of the party's Māori MPs.

How the list is decided

Labour's list is decided by its moderating committee, which includes the party's ruling council and the party's leader, deputy and another MP elected by caucus.

The committee has to follow party rules, including ranking the list to make sure half of the caucus are women.

That will have to be balanced against Mr Little's promise to Mr Jackson, and the fact that Mr Little and the senior MP Trevor Mallard are also list-only candidates.

It was announced earlier this year that none of Labour's Māori electorate MPs would stand on the party list, forcing them to win their seats if they wanted to get back into Parliament.

The National Party list is expected to be out in August.

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