Andrew Little’s promise to Willie Jackson rings hollow

Andrew Little is dying in a ditch defending Willie Jackson, but at the same time, he is walking back his promises after an activist and caucus backlash.

Labour leader Andrew Little said he would address internal ructions about Willie Jackson with his caucus today and indicated MP Poto Williams would be reprimanded for voicing her concerns publicly.

She directly, and rightly attacked Andrew Little’s leadership. He is riding roughshod over the rules and constitution of the party.

There has been some concern within Labour about Jackson since Little announced he would stand on Labour’s list, including from Williams. ?

Soon after Little announced he had recruited Jackson, Poto publicly questioned on Facebook whether he was a suitable candidate given his part in a controversial interview over the Roastbusters saga.

Just before Labour’s caucus meeting this morning, Little said he had known she had those concerns “but we will talk about what the best way is to deal with those concerns.”

“In the end it’s a matter for caucus. Every MP will know what is very clearly expected of them.”

‘Toe the bloody line’ is probably what he expects of them. Or else.

Little could also find himself on the receiving end of some criticism.

News of Jackson’s move caught many in caucus by surprise. Although he has publicly supported Jackson, Labour’s most senior ranked Maori MP, Kelvin Davis, said last week that he did not find out until the day before the news broke.

Little said he had spoken with a “large number of MPs” before inviting Jackson to come on board.

Little had also promised Jackson to secure him as high a list placing as possible, but said it was up to Labour’s list ranking committee of 22 people.

He can’t make that promise. But he is now walking it back. The only winnable list position for a man under Labour’s rules, constitution and current polling is number 1, and Little himself will take that spot.

Then he has to make accommodations for Trevor Mallard and David Parker. On top of that he will need to make some considerations for Kelvin Davis who is facing a strong challenge from Hone Harawira again.

Little would not say whether he believed Jackson should be higher than current MPs such as Davis or List MP David Parker, but said typically sitting MPs were ranked higher.

“I will get him as high a place as I think is possible and credible as a first-time candidate for Labour.”

Yeah, so that’s a stink list position then. I wonder if Willie Jackson got his promises in writing?

Labour got only 5 List MPs at the last election. On current polling they will be lucky to retain Little himself. Making false promises to candidates isn’t a sign of leadership, it is a sign of desperation.

Little will be desperate to shore up support for after the election, in order to beat off a challenge from Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern.


– NZ Herald