Willie Jackson sees politics as a game and is not afraid of playing to win

MP Willie Jackson and the now ex Labour leader Andrew Little

Whaleoil editor and subject of the book, “Dirty Politics,” Cameron Slater has always described politics as a game. He has also repeatedly said that there is no such thing as Dirty Politics, there is just politics. In an article on Stuff, Willie Jackson reveals that he shares Cameron’s view and that his goal when he entered politics was to “destroy the Māori Party”

Talkback host, union delegate, and occasional firebrand Willie Jackson is back in Parliament after a 15-year hiatus – and is now a Minister to boot.[…]

[…] It was somewhat of a coup for Labour given Jackson’s previous ties to the Māori Party

[…] Now ensconced in Government, Jackson is also part of a Māori caucus that is perhaps the strongest ever.

So what does he see the future holding for Māori politics?


When Tariana Turia quit Labour over the foreshore and seabed controversy to form the Māori Party in 2004, Jackson was one of her biggest supporters.

Over the years he continued to support Māori politicians from across the spectrum, including fellow troublemaker Hone Harawira, while building his broadcasting career.

When Jackson announced his decision to stand for Labour, he also decided to campaign full-bore on wiping the Māori Party from Parliament.

According to author Nicky Hager, (who took part in a political campaign to destroy this blog) running a campaign to destroy a political party is called ” Dirty Politics.”

Having got his wish after co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell was beaten by Tamati Coffey in Waiariki, Jackson is unapologetic.

“I came into the game to destroy the Māori Party, just like their game was to destroy us. Labour wants to destroy National and National wants to destroy Labour, go ask the Pākehā politicians the same question.”

As Cameron has always said, Politics is a game and it is one played by “dirty, despicable people.” Nice people don’t scheme to destroy an entire political party but that is exactly what Willie Jackson and others in Labour worked hard to achieve. Nice people don’t spread private information about a leader’s Superannuation details in order to take his party out of the running yet that is what some political operators did to Winston Peters. Nice people don’t enter coalition discussions and play one party off against the other to get the best possible result for their own party but that is what Winston Peters did.

“It’s the game we play, the game we play is take each other out. Not their families or anything, their families are all good people but I was clear from the start as campaign manager we had to take them out.”

Willie Jackson plays to win as do all successful politicians. Once again as Cameron has said previously, “We are not playing tiddlywinks.” Politics is more like a game of chess and some people are mere pawns to be sacrificed by the leadership in order to protect the Queen.

He says the Māori Party “gave it a good go” but made strategic mistakes and took the wrong advice at times.[…]

Jackson believes it’s now time for a big, strong party rather than individual voices and can’t see the need for a Māori political party.

The Māori Party itself was a product of the great anger at the time regarding the foreshore and seabed betrayal and, while the future could bring about circumstances that required its regeneration, now is not the time, he says.

“We’ll get to the foreshore and seabed and other stuff but those are not priorities for us, we were very clear in terms of our campaign don’t talk about tino rangatiratanga or foreshore and seabed when you’ve got families that are sleeping in cars.”

[…] Jackson admits he has some catching up to do.

Having not kept a close eye on the unemployment rate he was surprised to be told by officials after becoming Minister that it was at its lowest rate in a decade.

How do you spin a positive into a negative when you are the new Unemployment Minister?

“When I came in I said to officials ‘geez how do we win this, how do we become the Government’ because they said ‘there you go Minister, 4.6 percent, lowest it’s ever been’ so you would think the old Employment Minister might be redundant but far from it, look at the Māori unemployment rate, look at the Pacific Island employment rate.”

There you go, make it about race. Jackson is a natural for the position.

– Newsroom

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