O'Sullivan wants sole Māori Party leadership position

By Heta Gardiner

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.”

Dame Tariana Turia was the party founder and first female co-leader. She doesn't agree with that thinking.  “In the end I hope we maintain the kaupapa of two co-leaders.  I think it's very helpful to have male and female working constructively with each other,” says Turia.

Yesterday it was revealed that Tukoroirangi Morgan had resigned as president of the Māori Party.

In his resignation letter he said both Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox should step down as co-leaders to make way for new talent coming through.

Both Turia and O'Sullivan agree that there is a lot of work to be done to revive the party.

“Well, we need to go around and rebuild in the communities," says Turia, "Somewhere along the line we lost the connection obviously.”

O’Sullivan sees it as an opportunity. “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," says O'Sullivan, "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.”

O'Sullivan has already indicated that he intends to stand for the Māori Party in the next election.