Regional | Labour Māori MPs

'We're traumatised': Labour's Māori caucus are 'sad' Meka Whaitiri's quit the party, says Willie Jackson

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Willie Jackson maintains his colleagues in Labour's Māori caucus are "traumatised" by Meka Whaitiri's defection to Te Pāti Māori and says he feels some personal responsibility for what has happened.

"We're all sad, I mean we're a bit traumatised some of us," Jackson, the caucus co-chair, told Q+A on Sunday.

"You go through a range of emotions, we're disappointed, sad but there's a lot of aroha for Meka."

"I know people find that a bit hard to believe," he said. "But Labour's more than just a Māori caucus. It's about our kaunihera Māori too - our wider group, our mana wāhine."

Jackson said Whaitiri hadn't necessarily said it in so many words, but "I think it was clear she was hurting and we have to ask ourselves, 'did we do enough?'

"I'm prepared to take some responsibility as co-chair," he said. "We should have looked after her a bit."

"It's obvious that she probably wanted to be promoted into cabinet, and she's a very capable minister. Did I do enough as a co-chair to look after her? I don't think I did."