6 Feb 2017

'Happy to say sorry again' - Willie Jackson

10:06 am on 6 February 2017

New Labour list candidate Willie Jackson said he is happy to apologise again for comments he made as a co-host of a Radio Live talkback show three years ago about sexual violence.

Willie Jackson talking to the media at Waitangi.

Willie Jackson talking to the media at Waitangi. Photo: RNZ / Andrew McRae

In 2013, Mr Jackson and his Radio Live co-host, John Tamihere, were taken off air after comments they made to a woman who said she was raped as a 14-year-old.

It happened during the so-called roast busters scandal.

Mr Jackson was announced as a Labour list candidate this morning.

Christchurch East Labour MP, Poto Williams, wrote on Facebook she could not support Mr Jackson until he publicly apologises.

Poto Williams.

Poto Williams Photo: LABOUR PARTY

She said his comments showed highly offensive attitudes towards victims of sexual abuse, and as Labour's spokesperson for family and sexual violence, she was concerned at his recruitment.

Willie Jackson said he made apologies on various media at the time.

"I never want to cause any hurt in our community.

"I am not a perfect person. We make mistakes. My mistake was we did an interview too casually and it went wrong. That was it, never followed it up with anything else, just followed it up with apologies."

Mr Jackson has described the interview as unfortunate.

He said he gave a clear apology at the time and twice since.

"Happy to say sorry again for any hurt."

He has refused to comment on Labour's discipline with Poto Williams breaking ranks.

"You will have to talk to the leader about that, I can't comment."

He said he understood the issue cut deep with a lot of people in New Zealand at the time.

"And some of them missed the apology that was given. People miss apologies," Mr Jackson.

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox denounced Mr Jackson's list candidacy as inconsistent when he oversaw a charter school where his wife was the principal.

Ms Fox said this clashed with Labour philosophy.

Mr Jackson said the school worked well.

Candidacy not a done deal

Labour Party president Nigel Haworth said Willie Jackson's candidacy was not a done deal.

Mr Jackson would go through the same selection process as any other potential candidate, he said.

He would need to join the party and then get a special exemption because he had not been a member for the required period.

Mr Jackson said he was working through that.

He said he has not joined another party since he left parliament as an Alliance MP in 2002.

Mr Haworth said Mr Jackson would go through the party's moderation process, where 22 people, made up of the council and three caucus members, would consider his application.

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