Poto Williams meets Willie Jackson, goes into hiding

Labour MP Poto Williams, who criticised the party's selection of Willie Jackson as a candidate, has gone into hiding after meeting with him to smooth over the rift.

She issued a short statement about the meeting, but isn't giving any interviews about how the face-to-face confrontation went, apart from an exclusive sit-down with TVNZ.

Ms Williams had been vocal about her displeasure with the party's selection of Mr Jackson, particularly regarding the broadcaster's stance on sexual violence in relation to the Roast Busters case.

Following the announcement last week, the Christchurch East MP broke ranks, hiring a PR firm to craft her statement denouncing Mr Jackson.

When asked by Newshub to explain why she hired Christchurch-based Inform PR, she had no comment.

"I don't have any more to say on the Willie Jackson stuff." 

But the pair have now met for a "robust and honest conversation" about her concerns.

In a press statement from the Labour Party on Thursday afternoon, Ms Williams says she believes his apology is "genuine".

"He realises he still has more to learn about the issues of sexual violence. In that regard I hope to help him increase his understanding and our conversations will continue," the party's family and sexual violence spokesperson says.

"I welcome that opportunity and Willie is keen for that to occur. We are committed to working together on this."

Ms Williams' original Facebook post about Mr Jackson has not been taken down.

Mr Jackson's selection also prompted an open letter from a Young Labour member which was circulated online and signed by many.

It raised four key issues:

  • his "abhorrent" Roast Busters interview
  • a lack of "courage to fight homophobia"
  • his advocacy for charter schools, which Labour want to abolish
  • his selection would create a greater gender imbalance in Labour's caucus

The letter, shared as a Google Doc, now no longer exists.