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MP meets Jackson to settle candidate issue

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/02/2017
Willie Jackson confirmed as Labour candidate © Radio New Zealand Willie Jackson confirmed as Labour candidate

Labour MP Poto Williams has met Willie Jackson to discuss their differences but there's fresh strife within the party over the controversial candidate.

Party leader Andrew Little shoulder-tapped Mr Jackson, a former politician and broadcaster, to stand for Labour in the September 23 general election and is still backing him.

Ms Williams took to Facebook just hours after Mr Jackson was named as a candidate to say his comments over the Roast Busters scandal in 2013 didn't match her expectations of a Labour Party member.

The party's youth wing, Young Labour, also criticised the decision to nominate Mr Jackson because of comments the Maori broadcaster had made in the past about gay people.

Mr Jackson says he apologised for his Roast Busters comments at the time, and has done so several times since.

A party spokesman said Ms Williams was expected to issue a statement later on Thursday.

Mr Little has told his caucus to keep quiet about Mr Jackson, but that doesn't apply to former former MPs and three are reported to have signed an open letter expressing their concerns.

The online letter, drafted by Young Labour and addressed to the party's ruling council, is still circulating, Fairfax reports.

Former MPs Maryan Street, Carol Beaumont and Marian Hobbs are among more than 400 party members who have signed it, the report said.

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