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'Legitimate concerns' over Jackson: Little

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/02/2017

Labour leader Andrew Little has revealed a number of people have raised "legitimate concerns" about Willie Jackson running as a candidate in the September election, but he's continuing to back the controversial broadcaster and former politician.

Mr Little is believed to have addressed his caucus on Tuesday about the appropriate way to raise those concerns, after Poto Williams took to Facebook just hours after Mr Jackson's was named as a candidate.

She says his comments over the Roast Busters scandal in 2013 don't match her expectations of a Labour Party member.

A letter purporting to be from Young Labour has also been sent to the party's councillors urging them not to approve Mr Jackson's nomination.

"No one got a telling off," Mr Little told TVNZ on Wednesdsay about the caucus meeting.

"Poto Williams has raised some legitimate concerns about Willie Jackson as other people have."

He admitted they were "valid criticisms and concerns" but said he considered those against Mr Jackson's community engagement and support of young Maori people, particularly in west and south Auckland.

Mr Little has backed Mr Jackson for a "winnable position" on Labour's list but after initially refusing to say whether he should take a place higher than senior MPs he has now said he should not.

Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis, foreign affairs spokesman David Parker and Hutt South MP Trevor Mallard should take precedence over Mr Jackson, Mr Little told Fairfax.

"We have got to get those experienced, skilled long-standing MPs up because we have a place for them and jobs for them to do," he said.

"(Kelvin Davis is) our most senior-ranked Maori MP and you'd expect that to continue and his standing in the caucus has to be reflected in the list."

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