Labour 'raising the bar for other parties', despite lack of Māori at top of the list - Kelvin Davis

It's been touted as reflecting the diversity of New Zealand, but with no Māori in its first fifteen, many Māori are asking: what New Zealand is the Labour Party living in?

But Labour's Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis believes the list was a major win for Māori, and told The Hui on Sunday the party needs "some credit for the success of our strategy".

His comments seem to be in conflict with those of Labour's high-profile new recruit Willie Jackson, who earlier this week told media: "I'm disappointed about that, that's something that we are going to take up as a party. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I believe Māori should be in the top 10 or 15."

Earlier this year Labour's Māori electorate MPs announced they wouldn't seek a place on the list, relying entirely on an electorate win to be returned to Parliament.

In an interview with The Hui in April, Mr Davis said this was to make way for other Māori MPs to come in on the list.

"Hopefully we will have three or four in the top 20 this time around, which would take our numbers up to 10".

But only two were named in the top 20 - Willow-Jean Prime at 16 and Kiritapu Allen at 20.

Despite being expected to receive a high list placing, Mr Jackson was named at 21.

Mr Davis is still convinced it's a good list.

"We are raising the bar for other parties."

By comparison, the National Party has two Māori in its top five - Paula Bennett and Simon Bridges - while the Greens have three in thier top 10 - Metiria Turei, Marama Davidson and Jack McDonald.

But Mr Davis is adamant he'll be proven right.

"This is going to be history-making, and people need to acknowledge Andrew Little and the Labour Party."