The Labour Party has unveiled its list rankings for this year's election, with high places for a number of new women candidates.

Labour leader Andrew Little and party president Nigel Haworth held a press conference on the list changes in Wellington this morning.

Little said he wanted a list that reflected New Zealand, including ethnic community candidates. Having no Chinese or Indian MPs in the party for a stretch was "embarrassing", he said.

On the first Maori candidate being at 16, Little said the party's six MPs in Maori seats chose not to be on the list.

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Labour would have "one of the biggest levels of Maori representation in the history of New Zealand politics", Little said.

Little isn't contesting an electorate and is number one on the list.

Current MPs David Parker and Raymond Huo are also reliant on the list and will almost certainly return to Parliament after September's election.

However, veteran Labour MP Trevor Mallard will need Labour to get about 33 per cent of the party vote to return to Parliament after being ranked at 32, meaning he is effectively the 12th list MP.

Former Police Association president Greg O'Connor, who is standing for Labour for the first time, will need to take Ohariu off United Future leader Peter Dunne to become an MP, after being ranked at 40.

The rankings were initially meant to be announced yesterday, but were delayed after protests by new candidate Willie Jackson about his ranking.

Jackson flew to Wellington last night to lobby for a higher place but was unsuccessful and he remains at 21, meaning he is effectively the party's 8th list MP.

In an apparent olive branch, Jackson has also been made the party's Maori campaign director this morning.

On the delay and controversy surrounding Jackson's placing, Little said it was "unfortunate" but a list ranking dealt with people's livelihoods and careers.

He denied he had promised a high list position for Jackson, saying he instead had backed him for a winnable place.

"I don't know who specifically has taken information they were meant to have in confidence and made it public," Little said, saying the decision to appoint Jackson as Maori campaign director was made last week.

Little said in weighing up the list they had looked at who would come in above 30 per cent party vote.

Little defended the delay in releasing the list and eventually putting it out close to 10pm last night under embargo.

"If we do it again, apart from locking ourselves in a bricked up building, possibly we would change the timetable."

New candidates with higher rankings are Maungakiekie candidate and policy advisor Priyanca Radhakrishnan, school principal Jan Tinetti, district councillor Willow-Jean Prime and commercial lawyer and business consultant Kiri Allan.

Labour has committed to at least 50 per cent of MPs being women, and its ruling council must consider that aim when making the selections.

The overall percentage of party vote and number of seats won determines how many candidates are elected from a party's list.

Little would not say which other candidates were disappointed. Asked if those people included Trevor Mallard, he again said he wouldn't reveal names.

"We are a unified party. I know press gallery journalists in particular love all the stuff that goes on social media," Little said, adding most New Zealanders cared about issues like housing.

Jackson, standing with Kiri Allan, said he was feeling "very good" despite speculation to the contrary.

"There has never been any bitterness. Was there a little bit of disappointment? Probably, we all get a little bit of disappointment. I suppose Trevor [Mallard] is not feeling very good today, and Greg [O'Connor] too."

Jackson hit out at the "spin" from media, and said Little had delivered on his promise of a winnable place. Little had said they would aim for a top 10 spot but that had failed after "a good crack".

Asked if he had asked for a higher list spot, Jackson said "it's none of your business what happened yesterday". He said he wanted Allan and Willow-Jean Prime higher on the list and in Parliament before him.

But Jackson said he was disappointed the top-placed Maori on the list was Prime at number 16.

"I can't lie about that."

He said it was for Little to deal with people who had spoken to the media about his list placing yesterday.

Allan said the list was a "fantastic" outcome for Maori in Labour and the decision by the MPs in Maori seats to go off the list was courageous and a "bit of a gamble".

"Strategically it will be a good one for us. One in four members of caucus is fantastic. I'm pleased we are all part of that team."

Who's on the list?
1 Andrew Little
2 Jacinda Ardern
3 Grant Robertson
4 Phil Twyford
5 Megan Woods
6 Chris Hipkins
7 Carmel Sepuloni
8 David Clark
9 David Parker
10 Stuart Nash
11 Priyanca Radhakrishnan
12 Raymond Huo
13 Iain Lees-Galloway
14 Jan Tinetti
15 Aupito William Sio
16 Willow-Jean Prime
17 Damien O'Connor
18 Jenny Salesa
19 Kris Faafoi
20 Kiri Allan
21 Willie Jackson
22 Clare Curran
23 Ruth Dyson
24 Poto Williams
25 Louisa Wall
26 Michael Wood
27 Ginny Andersen
28 Jo Luxton
29 Deborah Russell
30 Liz Craig
31 Marja Lubeck
32 Trevor Mallard
33 Paul Eagle
34 Tamati Coffey
35 Jamie Strange
36 Anahila Kanongata'a-Suisuiki
37 Kieran McAnulty
38 Angie Warren-Clark
39 Helen White
40 Greg O'Connor
41 Steph Lewis
42 Duncan Webb
43 Lemauga Lydia Sosene
44 Janette Walker
45 Anna Lorck
46 Romy Udanga
47 Rachel Boyack
48 Sarb Johal
49 Naisi Chen
50 Shanan Halbert
51 Dan Rosewarne
52 Jin An
53 Jesse Pabla
54 Hilary Humphrey
55 Tony Savage
56 Brooke Loader
57 Ben Sandford
58 Kurt Taogaga
59 Heather Warren
60 Sam McDonald
61 Cherie Chapman
62 Ala' Al-Bustanji
63 Baljit Kaur
64 Linsey Higgins
65 Barry Kirker
66 Tofik Mamedov
67 Michelle Lomax
68 Nathaniel Blomfield
69 Gaurav Sharma
70 Anthony Rimell
71 Tony Condon
72 Sarah Packer
73 Andy Begg
74 Corie Haddock