Whakatau 2023 | Labour Party

Jackson commits to party amidst leadership wobbles

New Labour MP for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti Cushla Tangaere-Manuel on her first day in Parliament, with Willie Jackson to her left.

Labour MP Willie Jackson admits he was ready to pull the pin on his political career on election night following the party’s spectacular fall from office.

But when Andrew Little resigned as a MP that very night, he knew the timing was not right.

“To be honest, I was thinking on the night when the results came in, that was my time,” Jackson told the Herald.

“But I have reflected and spoken to whānau and MPs from all parties and decided to hang around for a while.

“I want to be able to capitalise and contribute to a strong opposition and that’s what I’ll do over the next few months. I won’t put a timeline on it but while I’m needed, I will stay. If I’m not required, then I’ll move on.”

Jackson said he also wanted to ensure current Labour leader Chris Hipkins has all the support he needs.

Decision later this year

“I have been clear in my support of the current leader of the Labour Party and the party.

“I’m not going to put a clock on it but, if I’m not wanted, then I won’t hang around.

“I will make a decision on my future later in the year.”

Jackson said he was also mindful of what a coalition involving Act and New Zealand First might demand. He said he would use all his skills to ensure race-based politics does not raise its ugly head as part of the National coalition mandate.

Jackson said Labour would be reviewing its election strategy and as the Māori campaign strategist for 2017, 2020 and 2023, he must also put himself and his role under the review spotlight.

“I will review things over the next few months. I just don’t want to pick up a wage - that’s not my style.”

Where’s Winston?

As for post politics?

“I was part of the Māori movement before I got into politics and it won’t be hard for me to go back as there’s still plenty of mahi to advance kaupapa Māori,” Jackson said.

“I never looked at politics as a job or working within the Māori movement as a job. I have always looked at it as a privilege and been thankful to be able to work for our people with guys like John Tamihere.”

Jackson said as a former broadcasting minister, there may also be opportunities in the media industry that he may consider.

“But we have an immediate problem with people like David Seymour and what he’s up to and I’m not sure what Winston Peters has been up to over the past 24 hours,” he said.