In 2010 Jackson retired to become a professional referee in his native New Zealand. He was fast-tracked into the professional rugby ranks by Lyndon Bray, then the head of referees for the New Zealand Rugby Union and now in the same role with SANZAAR, organiser of Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship (formerly the Tri Nations). Within a year of Jackson's return to New Zealand, he went from refereeing provincial rugby games in the Heartland Championship to officiating in the ITM Cup at the top provincial level to being an assistant referee in Super Rugby competition. By the end of the 2011 Super Rugby season, he had worked his first match as referee in that competition, having presided over the Hurricanes−Western Force match on 27 May. Shortly after the end of that season, he made his international officiating debut as television match official for the Bledisloe Cup Test between New Zealand and Australia on 6 August. On the 15th February 2015 he made his Six Nations refereeing debut when he took charge of the Scotland-Wales match at Murrayfield. Jackson was the first New Zealander to play and referee 100 first class fixtures when he took charge of the Argentina v South Africa match on 15 August 2015.