Greens are Labour's first choice, even if NZ First beats them - Jackson

Labour won't be calling up Winston Peters on election night if it has the choice between NZ First and the Greens to form a coalition.

Candidate Willie Jackson says even if NZ First polls higher than the Greens, if Labour and the Greens have enough seats between them, they're the first choice.

"We have an MOU with the Greens," Mr Jackson told The Nation on Saturday.

There's also the issue of Mr Peters' unpredictability.

"The problem with Winston is you don't know where he is sometimes," says Mr Jackson.

"He had all the Māori seats, so he was backing the Māori seats. Now today he's not backing the Māori seats. He was the Minister of Māori Affairs; now he thinks Māori Affairs is a waste of time.

"It depends what week it is with Winston - if we get him on the right week, we probably could do a deal."

Mr Jackson also fired a shot at Shane Jones, NZ First candidate for Northland, who told Newshub this week he wanted to drop a "nuke" on Whangarei, which hosted a gang boxing night last weekend.

"We'll see how Winston goes. He's been a bit out of hand in the latest couple of weeks, and Shane Jones wants to nuke all his nephews up north."

Mr Jones is standing for NZ First in Whangarei.

'Nothing but support' for Metiria Turei

Mr Jackson says he's supported beneficiaries "for years", so has a lot of support for Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei's admission she lied to WINZ to get more money when she was a solo parent.

He stuck to the party line however, that breaking the law was not okay.

"Of course it's not, but I still have a lot of sympathy for what she went through at the time, and I understand the plight of our people. We had a National Government at the time that was bashing beneficiaries - no doubt about it."

Labour deputy leader Jacinda Ardern had a similar reaction when asked about Ms Turei's offending on The AM Show earlier this week.