Willie Jackson apologises again for 'Roast Busters' interview

New Labour candidate Willie Jackson has responded to criticism from sexual violence campaigners by apologising again for the "Roast Busters" interview he conducted on Radio Live three years ago.

And he said his critics may be unaware of the work the Manukau Urban Maori Authority (MUMA), which he heads, was doing in the area of violence against women.

Labour's spokeswoman on family and sexual violence, Poto Williams, tweeted today: "I am concerned that Willie Jackson is becoming a Labour Party candidate with a prominent ranking on the list."

Campaigner for victims of sexual violence Louise Nicholas said on Facebook that she was "gutted and disappointed" by the party's decision to take on Jackson.

Jackson told reporters at Waitangi that he apologised again, that he would ring Williams and that he thought he had a good relationship with Louise Nicholas.

Jackson and former co-host John Tamihere were suspended from talkback duties after interviewing a young woman named Amy over the so-called Roast Busters - a group of young men who boasted online about getting underage girls drunk to have sex with them.

They took a devil's advocate position and were accused of supporting a rape culture and blaming the victim.

Jackson said MUMA had won a huge contract to work on domestic violence and was absolutely committed to turning around the terrible statistics.

"I gave an apology at the time, on Radio Live, over three years ago, gave an apology on Maori TV, gave an apology again a couple of days ago on RNZ . . . and happy to say sorry again for any hurt.

"Sometimes as talkback hosts your job is to put both sides and things get taken out of context and at the time I think the country was raging about the whole Roast Busters area."

Labour leader Andrew Little today announced that Jackson would be standing for Labour in a "winnable" list place.

He said it would broaden Labour's representation to urban Maori.

After Poto Williams tweeted about Jackson, Little said Jackson's interview at the time was "totally unacceptable" and he had apologised at the time.

"In the end Parliament is not a place where we elect angels. It is a place where we elect people for skills and talents they bring."

Labour's position on domestic violence and sexual violence was second to none, including the work Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin had done in a leading a hikoi against violence.

Little said Poto Williams was expressing "legitimate valid views."

He had spoken to her previously about Jackson's possible candidacy but not since he had been announced.

He would talk to her next week.

- NZ Herald

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