Labour's Maori campaign manager Willie Jackson has urged Labour to ask the Green Party to reconsider standing candidates in some Maori seats, saying Labour faces a "battle royale" to hold them.
Speaking at the party's Maori seats campaign launch in Mangere, Jackson said he knew his suggestion Green Party candidate Marama Davidson should step aside to give Labour's Peeni Henare a better chance would upset the party leadership.
"I think I upset the leadership again in terms of the Greens, but I'm still putting it on the table. I respect our leadership in terms of Labour and the Greens but things have changed. Peeni's got a hell of a fight here in Auckland, so why can't we start having another korero [discussion] about how we're working with the Greens.
"It's alright for everybody else to do deals, let's have a think about it Mr President, please."
Jackson was rebuffed by Labour leader Andrew Little soon after, who said the two parties had already agreed not to enter deals on seats and the focus was on ensuring the campaign was respectful and they did not "trip each other up".
"Green Party members know that if they want to change the Government, they have got to back Labour candidates as the electorate candidates in those seats and we have to campaign respectfully for the party vote."
Green co-leader Metiria Turei also put Jackson in his place saying it was his not job to raise it.
"The decision has been made and if he wants to relitigate it, he should talk to his boss. If Labour wants to reopen that conversation, then I would have that conversation with the leadership - not with Willie."
She said the Greens were very clear that they were seeking the party vote only rather than the electorate vote.
Jackson later said he accepted the leadership decision, but was concerned vote-splitting could damage Labour's chances in one or two Maori seats.
The seats of concern are likely to include Te Tai Hauauru and Tamaki Makaurau, given the deal between the Mana Party and Maori Party not to stand against each other to try to return the seats to Maori-based parties.
The impact of the Kingitanga endorsement of the Maori Party's candidate Rahui Papa in Waikato Tainui was also difficult to measure, although Jackson said he believed Labour was safe in Ikaroa-Rawhiti and Waikato-Tainui, and had a chance against the Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell in Waiariki.
The Greens were not standing in Ohariu to give Labour's Greg O'Connor a better chance at shutting out United Future leader Peter Dunne. However, it has maintained that was of its own volition rather than under the Memorandum of Understanding.