Dr Lance O’Sullivan wants leadership of Maori Party

Prior to the election in September Northland doctor Lance O’Sullivan announced that he would stand for the Maori Party in 2020.

The Spinoff: Lance O’Sullivan explains why he is running for the Māori Party in 2020

When I profiled Dr Lance O’Sullivan last year he was one of the most eligible political bachelors on the market. Courted by the big dogs on both sides of the spectrum, he eventually endorsed the Māori Party, pissing off basically everyone on all sides including some in his support base.

“I think we, as Māori, also need to realise that compromise is a part of involvement in New Zealand politics,” he said at the time.

Now, a week out from Election 2017, he’s gone a step further than endorsement, announcing on Sunday afternoon his intention to run for parliament in 2020.

Quoting O’Sullivan:

“I believe that in the history of New Zealand politics and government, the 2020 election is an opportunity to enable MMP to work its best for New Zealand.

“What would it look like if we didn’t have red and blue, left and right, Labour and National, but instead we had a coalition of centrist parties that better reflects the multicoloured, multidimensional culture of New Zealand that we live in now? Because quite frankly the ideologies of the left and right are out of date. I think the time is right to disrupt things and the mechanisms are there to allow that to happen.

“From another point of view, I believe a political party with Māori values underpinning it, which has the interest of all New Zealanders at heart, could be a very, very exciting party. I believe that the skeleton and the framework and the scaffolding is there and I think the Māori Party has done really well to demonstrate over the last nine years why MMP could work. The Māori Party has and will almost certainly always be a very well-aligned party for me.”

The election ended badly for the party as they lost their only electorate seat and therefore their place in Parliament.

O’Sullivan responded: Dr Lance O’Sullivan’s prescription for Māori Party revival

Dr Lance O’Sullivan may just be the right man to come up with the correct prescription to get the Māori Party back into Parliament.

Despite Saturday’s result, he’s optimistic about the future of the Party. “I believe they will come out of this in better shape,” he promises.

The party, formed in 2004 on the back of Maori discontent over Labour’s handling of the foreshore and seabed, confounded pundits to hitch its waka to the National whale. With Te Ururoa Flavell losing his Waiariki seat, that party is now sunk from Parliament.

But O’Sullivan has a number of ideas to get the party back on its feet: firstly a focus on youth voters, secondly moving to expand the Māori Party’s appeal beyond its core Māori voter base.

On the second idea, he believes progress is already underway, citing Manakau East candidate Tuilagi Namulauulu Saipele Esera, of Samoan descent, and Botany candidate Wetex Kang, who is of Malay and Chinese descent.

“How do you support the expansion of that, underpinned by Māori values,” O’Sullivan asks.

He says it’s also time to think beyond National and Labour, right and left, and truly utilise the opportunities available under an MMP system. “Why aren’t we aspiring to be the first minority Government? Less left and right, a technicolour coat of Government.”

O’Sullivan says that for the country that first gave women the vote, we should think big.

“Why aren’t we taking another step? The pendulum always swings left and right, so how do parties like the Māori Party say it’s not left and right, it’s wanting to be there all the time.”

Earlier this week Tukoroirangi Morgan resigned as party president and called on the party leaders to resign. O’Sullivan has advanced his political ambitions.

Maori Television: O’Sullivan wants sole Māori Party leadership position

Dr Lance O’Sullivan says he will only take a leadership role within the Māori Party if it is a sole leadership role.

Coming on the heels of the resignation of President Tukoroirangi Morgan, the front runner to be the Maori Party’s next male leader, Dr Lance O’Sullivan, says that co-leadership isn’t the way to go.

“If I had an opportunity to have a leadership role, it would need to be in that sole leadership role.” says the former New Zealander of the Year.

The Māori Party has had co-leaders since its inception 13 years ago.  Many believed Lance O’Sullivan and Marama Fox would be the next co-leader pairing.

But the doctor isn’t wanting to share that responsibility.

“I’m not a fan of co-leadership, says O’Sullivan, “I think you need a single leader and a single message coming through that’s strong and inspiring.”

“The results of this election mean that the Māori Party in entering a new stage of its evolution really, and that requires a review of the structure. Is it currently fit for purpose?  Is it as nimble and agile as it could be and should be? My answer to that is probably not.”

Rebuilding the party is a big challenge. No party without an MP or ex-MP has succeeded in getting into Parliament under MMP.

O’Sullivan awards include:

  • 2013 Supreme Maori of the Year
  • 2014 New Zealander of the Year
  • 2014 Second most trusted New Zealander (Readers Digest)
  • 2015 Communicator of the Year
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46 Comments

  1. Ka mau te pai. Such great news fir the NZ political scene and the resurgence of the Māori Party.

    Joint leadershios are problemtaic.

  2. Yeah well, excuse typonese Lance.

    A win for pragmatism over ideology and Maoridom if he pulls this off

  3. Blazer

     /  December 13, 2017

    O’Sullivan should stick to being a good doctor.He cannot save the… party.Hone however can…a more radical doctrine is required.The M.P sold out the real kaupapa of Maoridom,by fraternizing with the enemy[Deleted]

    • High Flying Duck

       /  December 13, 2017

      Wasn’t it Hone who sold out – to the dodgy German?

      • Blazer

         /  December 13, 2017

        [Deleted, you’ve been asked often enough to use proper names. PG]

        • Gezza

           /  December 13, 2017

          Imo, Hone cannot shake off his Nga Puhi Maori bovver boy & Pakeha-bashing approach & image. It works against him being chosen as a Maori party leader seeking a nation-wide mandate from Maori electorate voters, and many other hapu iwi.

          He lacks the interest & ability to secure the educated backers & resources to develop kaupapa for, & strengthen the party’s credibility as, something more aspirational in practical terms for Maori than it just being a race-based party railing at Pakeha & past injustices. His future if he has one in politics is as a local representative at best.

          This move by Lance O’Sullivan to demand sole leadership of the Maori Party is an interesting one. I’m not sure it’s wise. It’s bound to generate a lot of debate within Te ao Maori.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  December 13, 2017

            Hone also suffers from the Green syndrome that compromise cannot be tolerated. As such he would prefer to achieve nothing but keep his ideals pure, than to move the needle and gain incremental change over time.

        • Blazer

           /  December 13, 2017

          my understanding is that Dotcom is his ..proper..name.

    • Blazer

       /  December 13, 2017

      Yesterday evidence was provided by an authority on the English language about the use of s and z,and their ability to be interchangeable.Is your ruling ,an, its my blog,its my rules,regardless or did you not see the ..post?

    • PDB

       /  December 13, 2017

      Hone tried to sell out his own people to Dotcom and his people have now twice in succession told him to piss off.

      • Blazer

         /  December 13, 2017

        b/s…Mana were seduced by MONEY ..for their campaign,which is hard to come by for a minor party.All the venal part timers Harre and Corkery arrived with..their hands..out.Once again Sue Bradford shines as a person of absolute..principle.

        • PDB

           /  December 13, 2017

          Got a bridge I can sell you?

          • Blazer

             /  December 13, 2017

            I just bought one off a guy yesterday,lovely fella,seemed so genuine and friendly…

  4. Corky

     /  December 13, 2017

    I don’t know what to make of this guy. On the surface he seems like Mr Perfect. However, I sense a GadFly complex. I may be wrong, time will tell. What can’t be denied is he’s doing good work. He can even do a decent haka. That’s no small thing in culturally correct New Zealand.

  5. George

     /  December 13, 2017

    Don’t waste your time Lance.
    Dinosaurs should be left to history and the fossilisation process

    • Gezza

       /  December 13, 2017

      This applies also to Don Brash – yes?

      • High Flying Duck

         /  December 13, 2017

        Or the people keeping a prehistoric language on life support maybe?

        • Corky

           /  December 13, 2017

          Too true. As I have said previously…take taxpayer funding away from the Maori renaissance and it collapses over night. It’s called the gravy train for Maori who can’t hack it in the real world where real work is required.

          To be fair, I bet many Pakeha would like cool jobs that involved, well, just involved being European.

        • Gezza

           /  December 13, 2017

          Possibly. But what language are you thinking of, HFD? I had a go with the Printing Press at Pompallier House in Kororareka yesterday. The European printers there were printing thousands of books all in Maori before & after the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. The Museum in Russell has several examples of letters in Maori dating back to Busby’s time. Maori isn’t a prehistoric language any more than English was at some time. Once it starts getting recorded in writing, it’s written history. Before that happens, it’s based on oral learning & tradition. Neanderthal might’ve been a prehistoric language.

  6. phantom snowflake

     /  December 13, 2017

    One thing I can say with certainty is that Lance O’Sullivan would consult extensively with kaumatua and kuia. As a former patient of his, many is the time I’ve been stranded in his waiting room for long periods as he chatted with any of the ‘old people’ who were present.

    • Corky

       /  December 13, 2017

      Do you think his tattoos may be a hindrance to him going mainstream. Even if they aren’t on his face?

      • Gezza

         /  December 13, 2017

        Doesn’t seem to adversely affect All Blacks of any skin colour.

      • phantom snowflake

         /  December 13, 2017

        Newsflash. Tatoos are mainstream now.

        • phantom snowflake

           /  December 13, 2017

          Tattoos” dammit!

        • Corky

           /  December 13, 2017

          ”Newsflash. Tatoos are mainstream now.”

          Hmmm, I was expecting you to say ”what the hell is wrong with one tattoo, Corky?
          Being a bit precious aren’t you?”

          I know my doctors tatts. Maybe I’m just more observant than you. Or..maybe..

          • phantom snowflake

             /  December 13, 2017

            I’ll admit you’re improving, but your insinuation is wrong nevertheless. Maybe you’re just more interested in appearances than I am. Or..maybe..

            • Corky

               /  December 13, 2017

              You are another PP caught out..

            • phantom snowflake

               /  December 13, 2017

              Hilarious. The truth was exactly opposite to that; ’twas “Timoti” that was caught out LOL!!!

            • Gezza

               /  December 13, 2017

              What in God’s name are you blithering about that PP has been caught out, Corky? I’ve met her. PP is the real deal. She’s Maori, & proud of it. You’re the fraud, dude.

            • Corky

               /  December 13, 2017

              Some people get defensive fast. I could be the same with the Leftie calling me out over donations made to charity. That is of no importance to me because I know it’s true. I don’t give a fugg what they think. But some people above on this thread are blithering on as if me catching them out is important. It’s. not. Time for me to move on.

            • Gezza

               /  December 13, 2017

              I accept your humiliating apology on PP’s behalf and congratulate you on slithering away on that issue.

    • Pickled Possum

       /  December 13, 2017

      Yes PS … He once was my doctor and his heart is huge.
      His korero is undeniably positive in all things human.

      • phantom snowflake

         /  December 13, 2017

        He has a ton of charisma, which can be handy!

      • Gezza

         /  December 13, 2017

        I can confirm Al’s fishing rock is fit for purpose, Possum. A snapper. 30 minutes. (And an earlier biter that got away wiv me bait.)

  7. Conspiratoor

     /  December 13, 2017

    My daughter has worked alongside this guy. She tells me he’s the real deal. As close to a solution to the problems plaguing maoridom as we are ever going to get. Respect

  8. PartisanZ

     /  December 13, 2017

    I think Lance O’Sullivan is great, particularly at working from the ground-up in communities, e.g. health, wellness education, safe, warm housing etc … and change definitely needs to happen from this direction.

    I get the feeling he’s not such a diplomatic leader though, and may even have slightly authoritarian tendencies?

    I would dearly like to know where he stands on top-down change, eg Te Tiriti o Waitangi? Settlements? Culture shift and Constitutional Transformation?

    The last will surely need to be an area of deepest concern for any Maori leader over the next 23 years leading up to 2040?

    What are the possibilities for a ‘post-grievance’ Aotearoa New Zealand?

  9. PDB

     /  December 13, 2017

    Maori need more positive role-models which Lance O’Sullivan is. He could motivate, & give focus to the younger Maori vote, especially if him being leader also attracts very good party people and strong electorate candidates.

    The Maori party has always been too tied down by the past, he could be a positive step into the future.

    • Blazer

       /  December 13, 2017

      I wonder whether O’sullivan is becoming addicted to the spotlight…he has many options other than the M.P.

    • PartisanZ

       /  December 13, 2017

      For me there’s something very ‘uncomfortable’ about his leadership being right because it’s acceptable to pakeha …

      • Gezza

         /  December 13, 2017

        Well, it doesn’t make uncomfortable, because it’s not up to Pakeha whether he becomes the leader of the Maori Party. It’s up to Maori.

        And if he wants to be their leader, then he has to persuade & convince them that he should be. And even if he is chosen as sole leader, he is not the Maori Party. He needs to take the membership, or at least a majority of them, with him, to be successful. That’s his challenge.

        As a Pakeha, who wishes him success, who wishes the Maori Party success, one thing I do know is that I cannot speak for, or on behalf of, Maori. I am not Maori. They can make their own decisions, according to their own kaupapa, & I will respect that.

      • Blazer

         /  December 14, 2017

        National would love him to re splinter the Maori vote that has gone to…Labour.

        • PartisanZ

           /  December 14, 2017

          Blazer, astute …

          Gezza, I guess I can’t say “there’s something uncomfortable” without it meaning “makes me uncomfortable” but I’m trying to say more than that …

          I guess I was responding to PDB. Maori already have plenty of positive role models, good party people and strong electoral candidates, some of whom may not be recognizable as such to Pakeha. The implied “put down” in PDB’s comment is plain to see IMHO.

          We’re going to judge these oranges by the standards we set for our apples …