Andrew Little & Willie Jackson have a lot in common: the party didn’t want either.

Willie Jackson: LIttle's unwanted pet

Once again, Willie Jackson’s admission to the Labour party has caused a stir. Turns out he’s not very happy with his list position- you know, that one he never deserved in the first place?

When Jackson heard the news of his list placement, he made the audacious effort to fly from Auckland to Wellington just to throw a tantrum about it. This delayed the list announcement by a day, gave the media plenty of quick and easy stories at Labour’s expense, and didn’t change his list position at all.

Unsurprisingly, being the loose-cannon he is, Jackson couldn’t help but fire back at a journalist calling him names. Nothing shows political maturity like ranting about being called names, especially after throwing a tantrum like that.

It’s perplexing as to why Andrew Little is batting so hard for this man who shares little of Labour’s values on some key social issues.

Back in February, I recall Labour MP Poto Williams penning a letter on Facebook (with the help of a PR company!), expressing her concern over Willie Jackson’s history of rape apologia. Labour’s consistently held strong support for victims of sexual assault and rape (sometimes too strong), so it’s astounding that someone who blamed one of the victims to her face on live radio in one of the most well known rape controversies in recent years would be welcomed with such wide arms by Labour’s leader.

Let’s also not forget the long letter written by Young Labour in opposition to Willie Jackson we saw back in February. Besides his ‘Roastbusters’ rape apologia, the next disturbing thing the youth wing raised concerns about was Jackson’s casual homophobia.

Admitting he was “a little uncomfortable with gay men” was how Jackson opened an article claiming he was all for homosexual equality. As Young Labour pointed out, it is difficult to see him as a LGBTQ+ ally after he berated Grant Robertson over his sexuality when he was running for the Labour leadership.

As a talkback host he interrogated a Labour MP and leadership candidate about his sexuality. He followed this appalling interview with a column which dressed up his homophobia as remorse on behalf of a country ‘not ready’ for a gay Prime Minister.

Labour didn’t want Jackson, just Little. Really, no progressive political group did.

As KiwiBlog wrote:

Let’s look at who he has put offside with this:

  1. His caucus for promising Jackson a higher list ranking than them
  2. The party’s NZ Council for bypassing them
  3. The women’s wing for Jackson’s comments on Roastbusters
  4. The Maori wing for trying to push Peeni Henare out of his seat
  5. The LGTBI wing for Jackson’s comments on homosexuality
  6. The youth wing for Jackson’s comments on everything
  7. The teacher unions for Jackson’s support for charter schools
  8. The candidates in National held seats who see someone who only joined the party a week ago promised a higher spot than them
  9. His own former campaign manager

It’s worth keeping in mind that even Andrew Little wasn’t wanted as leader by the Labour Party.

In all 4 rounds of voting, Little lost the vote of the Labour caucus and party membership, only clinching the leadership with the strong support of the union vote. It’s not surprising he’s so disliked as a leader- those in the party didn’t choose him.

Little needs to be ousted at the next leadership challenge, preferable by someone with the support of the caucus and party vote. As such, Willie Jackson in no way deserves any of this preferential treatment over the many more deserving Labour Party members. You know, the ones who don’t throw public tantrums over tiny internal issues, and the ones who aren’t rape apologist homophobes.

Good luck to them, I guess.

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