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.

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."

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.

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."

​Little said he was not surprised there was concern. "When you have candidates who have a high profile, there's all sorts of things that come with that so I knew that there were risks about his conduct, particularly around his Roastbusters interview." However, he said Jackson had apologised.


"One of the important Labour values is that people can do things wrong - including things that are very wrong - but they've got to be allowed to redeem themselves and there's got to be a way back. And there is a way back for Willie."

Little said he had asked Jackson to stand for Labour because he reached constituencies Labour was not currently reaching very well, such as "young, urban Maori and Maori who are still missing out".

Asked if that was a slight on the work of Labour's Maori MPs such as Tamaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare, Little said they were doing "a fantastic job", but Jackson had a high profile and worked with those communities.

Little said Jackson will be expected to abide by Labour's policy on issues such as charter schools, despite his criticism of Labour on the issue in the recent past.

Jackson has criticised Labour's policy on charter schools - as chair of the National Urban Māori Authority, Jackson has two 'partnership schools' under his watch and is a vocal supporter of them.

He has also previously criticised Labour's Education Spokesman Chris Hipkins and accused Labour of putting teacher unions above children's achievement.

Hipkins today refused to endorse Jackson, saying it was not his role to voice support or dissent about any Labour candidate.

However, he said Labour would not change its policy to abolish charter schools.