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Jackson takes swipe at media

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/05/2017

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Willie Jackson has been appointed Labour's Maori campaign manager for the September election but his first sit-down with media was fractious.

Mr Jackson told reporters media "spin" was "getting on his nerves" during a combative press conference on Tuesday, in which he was asked whether he was disappointed about his 21st placing on the party's list.

Labour will have to do better than the 25 per cent of the party vote it gained in 2014 in order for him to get into Parliament.

"I wanted a high position and didn't get there but that's democracy, that's politics," he said.

Mr Jackson also said he was disappointed that Willow-Jean Prime was the highest Maori candidate on Labour's list, at 16, but was proud that along with Kiri Allan (20th) there were three Maori in the top 21.

"They [Ms Allan and Ms Prime] should have been higher but there's a lot spin at play here from you guys [the media] that's getting on my nerves.

"I'm not bitter about anything, it's not personal - when you come into this game there are no guarantees and you have to take the knocks.

"I imagine Greg [O'Connor, 40th on the list] and Trevor [Mallard, 32nd] are not feeling that good today either.

"It's a fabulous list and we will do well in the Maori seats, so Maori will be well-represented in parliament."

Labour said Mr Jackson's appointment as campaign manager had been made three weeks ago.

"Willie was asked to take on the role due to his ability to connect with a demographic of Maori voters who are typically younger and part of a new generation," the party said in a statement.

Mr Jackson says he is going to campaign hard in all Maori electorates.

Labour holds six of the Maori roll seats and the Maori Party holds the seventh.

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