Labour holds crisis meeting after delaying release of candidate list

This follows reports that former Alliance MP and high-profile broadcaster Willie Jackson is unhappy with his list spot.

The Labour Party is holding an urgent meeting tonight to discuss last-minute changes to its general election candidate list following reports former Alliance MP and high profile broadcaster Willie Jackson is upset with his placing.

Labour’s chief press secretary Mike Jaspers says the list will now be revealed tomorrow – “these things take time,” he told NBR.

The list was meant to be revealed late this morning; it was then pushed back until this afternoon, before being delayed until tomorrow.

A "crisis" meeting is being held by Labour's list ranking committee tonight that may result in a higher placing for Mr Jackson.

Asked about the reports, Mr Jaspers did not deny this was the reason the list had been delayed.

Stuff.co.nz has reported Mr Jackson is unhappy that Northland candidate Willow-Jean Prime and East Coast candidate Kiri Allen were placed ahead of him, which may also have been affected by Labour's 50/50 gender rule.

Mr Jackson is said to have flown down to Wellington to meet the party’s top brass face to face over the decision.

He had been backed by Andrew Little as a candidate though he was also known to be courted by the Maori Party to stand in Tamaki Makauru against  Labour MP Penni Henare.Over the weekend, Hamilton-based MP Sue Moroney revealed she would not be seeking re-election after receiving a low list placing.

“I made my decision after being notified last night that I had lost support from the party’s ruling council for an electable position on the Labour Party list. I intend to serve out the remainder of the parliamentary term,” she says.

NBR's Rob Hosking says it had looked as if Labour was getting its act together getting the candidate list out early so it could do deals with the Greens in certain key seats such as Ohariu/Belmont. He says if Labour doesn't sort out the latest hiccup within 24 to 48 hours it risks being seen to be in disarray and won't help its election chances at the end of the year. If it can't get a list agreed to at national level, imagine what electorate and potential MPs will do if asked to take a dive in certain seats, he says.

"There's a whiff of desperation about this," he says.

Labour had 27 electorate MPs and five list MPs after the 2014 election.

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