Willie Jackson fires back at Labour Party list criticism

Former broadcaster-turned Labour Party candidate Willie Jackson has fired back at criticism he was upset at not being ranked higher on the party list.

Mr Jackson phoned into The AM Show after Newshub political editor Patrick Gower accused him of being a "sooky-bubba".

"I heard that Shane Jones-loving Patrick Gower waffling on about 'Willie's just got to get his act together' - what's that jerk going on about?" he said on The AM Show.

Labour Leader Andrew Little had earlier confirmed to The AM Show that Mr Jackson was upset about being ranked 21st on the list, behind younger candidates including Willow-Jean Prime and Kiri Allen.

But Mr Jackson, who has been appointed Labour's Māori campaign manager, says he fully supports Mr Little.

"Andrew Little's a good man and a good leader... We had a talk, Andrew promised me a winnable place, he delivered. He said he'd have a crack for the top 10; he had a crack. But it's democracy here," Mr Jackson said.

"I'm going to go to the press conference, support our leader. I'm not bitter and twisted. I think it's a fabulous list, got a couple of great Māori women. Tell Shane Jones-lover Patrick Gower to stop telling stories and lies."

Mr Gower said he maintains Mr Jackson is a "sooky-bubba".

As Labour seeks to refresh its lineup, sources have told Newshub that Labour's old guard, including former Minister Trevor Mallard, are disgruntled about being poorly ranked.

Mr Mallard is ranked 32nd in the list, while younger and newer candidates have been moved up, like Preeyanka Radakrishnan who now sits at 11.

Willie Jackson appointed campaign manager

Mr Jackson has been appointed as Labour's Māori campaign manager for the September election.

"Willie was asked to take on the role due to his ability to connect with a demographic of Māori voters who are typically younger and part of a new generation," a Labour statement said.

Mr Jackson says he is going to campaign hard in all the Māori electorates.

"It's crucially important for Māori to enrol and vote," he said.

Labour holds six of the Māori roll seats and the Māori Party holds the seventh.

Newshub. / NZN