Willie Jackson confirms Labour Party candidacy

Willie Jackson has been confirmed as a candidate for the Labour Party at this year's general election - but he won't stand in an electorate.

He will be a list-only candidate - and Newshub understands his ranking will be in the single digits.

It's understood Mr Jackson has also been promised the role as Minister for Māori Development if Labour is elected to Government.

Speaking to media at Waitangi, Mr Jackson said he was looking forward to getting back out into the community.

"This came at a late stage… the party made an approach and I was humbled.

Labour leader Andrew Little said Mr Jackson would bring new depth to the party.

"I've had good discussions with Māori caucus members," he said. "Everyone can see Willie has something to bring to Labour that we don't currently have."

Mr Jackson also outlined why he was moving away from the Māori Party: "We think the Maori Party has an obsession with the leadership and it's getting on our nerves. [They're] besotted with iwi leadership... and thousands of Māori are missing out on Treaty settlements."

Willie Jackson Andrew Little Labour maori
Andrew Little says Willie Jackson will bring new depth to Labour (Sarah Templeton/Newshub.)

The RadioLIVE broadcaster first announced on Thursday that he was leaving the station for a second tilt at politics, but didn't reveal which party he would be joining.

Mr Jackson was last in Parliament from 1999 until 2002 as a list MP for the Mana Motuhake party, which was part of the Alliance.

He says he was always going to return to politics, and the timing is right.

"For me, it's come to that stage in my life - getting on - where I might not have that many opportunities in life to have bit of a shot at politics, so it's come around," he said on RadioLIVE.

Mr Jackson confirmed he would leave his broadcasting role.

"For obvious reasons, if you go into politics, people feel you're conflicted on air.

"It might be different if it was not election year. I probably wouldn't be able to control myself in terms of supporting the party whom I'm going with on the air."

RadioLIVE network director Cliff Joiner said he was sad Mr Jackson would be departing: "With the exciting news that Willie is standing for Parliament, we unfortunately are farewelling him from the airwaves. Willie has been a key member of our lineup since 2005, constantly providing entertaining and informative issues-driven talk radio.

"I'd like to thank Willie publicly for his hard work and determination in providing one of the best current affairs radio shows in the country, and wish him all the best for his new opportunity."

Mediaworks CEO of radio Wendy Palmer thank Mr Jackson for being frank, forthright, and "always authentic".

"We have been fortunate to have had someone of Willie's mana play such a prominent role on our airwaves. As a representative of his community, as a business leader and as a leading Māori broadcaster, Willie has balanced an extraordinarily busy life over recent years. "