Broadcaster Willie Jackson says he's no "sooky bubba" and is proud of Labour's fresh line-up, despite leader Andrew Little telling him he would aim to get him in the top 10 on the new list.

Jackson, ranked 21, fronted media in Wellington after Labour released its list this morning, and also said he was disappointed the highest Maori MP was Willow-Jean Prime at 16.

I am just so proud of these young Maori women who are up there, despite [media] making up stories in their head about me being a sooky bubba.


That has come about because Labour's six MPs in Maori seats have gone off the list and stake their return to Parliament on winning their electorates.

"I'd be lying if I didn't say that," Jackson said. "I believe Maori should be in the top 10 or 15 ... but there are three in the top 21, and there's going to be 12 [Maori MPs] at the end of the election, that's something to be proud of."


Jackson, standing alongside East Coast candidate Kiri Allan, who is one of four new young women candidates ranked ahead of him, 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 too good today, and Greg [O'Connor] too. But that's politics. I'm all good.

"I am just so proud of these young Maori women who are up there, despite [media] making up stories in their head about me being a sooky bubba."

Jackson said Little had delivered on his promise of a winnable place. Little had said a top 10 spot would be sought but that had failed after "a good crack" and he appreciated the effort put in.

Jackson was named to the position of Maori campaign director today, but the party said that appointment had been made three weeks ago was unrelated to today's list announcement.

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 weren't on the list. Labour would have "one of the biggest levels of Maori representation in the history of New Zealand politics".

The release of the list was delayed after Jackson and other candidates expressed unhappiness. Little wouldn't say which other candidates were disappointed, repeating that position after being asked if Trevor Mallard was one of them.

Jackson is behind other new candidates; policy adviser Priyanca Radhakrishnan (11), school principal Jan Tinetti (14), district councillor Prime and commercial lawyer and business consultant Kiri Allan (20).

Allan, who put in an impressive display at the media conference, 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."

Radhakrishnan is standing in Maungakiekie, Tinetti in Tauranga, Prime in Northland and Allan in East Coast. Little isn't contesting an electorate and is number one on the list.

Former Police Association president Greg O'Connor will likely need to take Ohariu off United Future leader Peter Dunne to become an MP, after being ranked at 40.

David Parker (9) and Raymond Huo (12) are other MPs reliant on the list and will almost certainly return to Parliament after September's election. But veteran MP Trevor Mallard will need Labour to get about 33 per cent of the party vote in order to return to Parliament after being ranked at 32 (effectively the 12th list MP).

The Hutt South MP chose to step aside and go list-only and is Labour's nomination for Speaker in the next Parliament.

Mallard's replacement in Hutt South, Ginny Anderson (27) faces a tough job retaining the seat against National's Chris Bishop. Rangitata candidate Jo Luxton (28), Invercargill candidate Liz Craig (30) and Rodney candidate Marja Lubeck (31) are all ranked higher than Mallard.

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.

Former policy adviser Radhakrishnan jumps 12 places since the 2014 list and is now almost assured of becoming an MP, whether or not she upsets National candidate and Auckland councillor Denise Lee in Maungakiekie.

Assuming Labour wins the same 27 electorates it currently holds, if it secures around 30 per cent of the vote newcomers would be Radhakrishnan, Tinetti, Prime, Allan, Jackson and Luxton.

At closer to 35 per cent of the party vote Craig, Lubeck, Mallard, Tamati Coffey, Jamie Strange and Anahila Kanongata'a-Suisuiki could join them.

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