Willie Jackson gets a waiver from Labour, taking his candidacy to the next stage
Labour hopeful Willie Jackson has taken a step closer to being selected as a candidate after being granted a waiver under the party's membership rules.
President Nigel Haworth on Saturday said the ruling council had met and granted an exemption from the requirement for a candidate to have been a party member for at least a year.
Jackson would now go into the moderating process with all the other candidates for list positions.
"That will take place at the end of April," Haworth said.
The waiver is allowed under the party's constitution and was also granted to former Police Association boss Greg O'Connor, who will stand for Labour in Ohariu.
Jackson was shoulder-tapped by leader Andrew Little in a move seen as heading off a move by the Maori Party to recruit him to stand for it in the Tamaki-Makaurau seat - where Jackson's urban Maori credentials would make him a dangerous opponent for Labour's Peeni Henare.
But the move got Little off side with some in the party, who saw his pledge to campaign for a high list place for Jackson as pre-empting the party's role in candidate selection and list rankings.
The offer to Jackson also angered some members, including former party president Maryan Street, and Christchurch East MP Poto Williams making her objections public - breaking what Little said was an undertaking to keep her complaints in house.
She had said she could not "in good conscience support him" as her colleague because of comments he made during an interview on his radio show relating to the so-called Roastbusters - a group of young men who allegedly tried to get under age girls drunk and sexually assault them.
The two have since met with William's saying she accepted his apology for his comments was genuine - though she says Jackson realises he still has more to learn about the issues of sexual violence.
Williams, the party's spokesperson on family and sexual violence, has in turn apologised for the way she raised her objections in public.
Little has since indicated that as a first time candidate for the party Jackson should be ranked behind senior MPs, including foreign affairs spokesman David Parker and Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis.
Davis faces a strong rival in Mana Party leader Hone Harawira, who previously held the Tai Tokerau seat.
Parker and current Hutt South MP Trevor Mallard, who will be Labour's nomination for Speaker,.are both reliant on their list places to be re-elected in September.