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Labour eyes Willie Jackson as candidate

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/02/2017

Prominent Maori advocate Willie Jackson looks set to join the Labour Party as a candidate in this year's general election.

Labour leader Andrew Little says he's had discussion with Mr Jackson, a broadcaster and former Alliance MP, about the possibility of him taking a place on Labour's list but has shied away from confirming a deal had been done.

"My discussions with Willie are my discussions with Willie," Mr Little said.

"If and when we have something to announce then we will do that."

It's expected Mr Little may announce Mr Jackson as a candidate when he attends Waitangi Day celebrations at Te Tii Marae on Sunday.

"I think Willie Jackson would have plenty to offer Labour if he were keen to be a candidate for Labour," Mr Little said.

Mr Jackson told the the NZ Herald that he did not intend to comment on standing for Labour until Waitangi.

He first joined Parliament in 1999 as an Alliance list MP and was leader of the Mana Motuhake Party from 2001 to 2004

Mr Jackson had reportedly been considering a run with the Maori Party until choosing Labour.

Mr Little on Thursday distanced Labour from the Maori Party.

He described the Maori Party as being "in a state of virtual collapse" and are "far from first cab on the rank" for any coalition negotiations.

"These are not people that line up with my vision and the vision that Labour has," he said.

Prime Minister Bill English indicated during his election date announcement on Wednesday that he hoped to continue working with the Maori Party, Act and United Future as government partners if National is successful in September.

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