'I've been a dick': Dr Lance O'Sullivan admits coronavirus lockdown breach hypocrisy

"I've been a dick," O'Sullivan admits.
"I've been a dick," O'Sullivan admits. Photo credit: The Hui

High-profile Northland doctor Lance O'Sullivan, who made headlines recently for admonishing Kiwis ignoring coronavirus lockdown rules, has admitted to an alert level 4 breach of his own.

The former New Zealander of the Year repeatedly labelled himself "a dick" in a Facebook video on Wednesday afternoon, after admitting he went kayaking over the weekend.

Dr O'Sullivan made the admission after being contacted by a reporter who had been tipped off about his lockdown breach.

"I have to say I've been a dick," he told his followers.

"We've been living in a campervan doing our work for the Kaitaia community, but on the weekend I went for a kayak to a place not far from the place I'm staying.

"I'm a dick and I f**ked up. F**k, what a silly bugger, eh? A silly bastard."

Kayaking, like most other water-based activities, is not permitted at alert level 3 or 4 because there is an increased risk of COVID-19 being spread if participants require search and rescue services.

In the five-minute video, Dr O'Sullivan also took the opportunity to address the irony of being caught out just two weeks after berating Northlanders for lockdown breaches.

Earlier in April, Dr O'Sullivan filmed himself walking down a busy Kaitaia street during lockdown and posted it to Facebook. In the footage, he calls the scene "a joke" and urges Kiwis to stay home and take the Government's physical distancing protocol seriously.

Dr O'Sullivan says while he's been a hypocrite in this instance, he'll continue to call out problems in his community when he notices them.

"I raised this issue on Facebook, so it's important that I acknowledge my shortcomings on Facebook too," he said.

"To be fair, I'm human - I've made many, many mistakes in my life [and] I'll make many, many more. Should that stop me from standing up and saying when I see things that are wrong? Shit no.

"I'll keep doing it, and when I make mistakes, I'll tell you. But when I don't make mistakes and people call me out, I'll fight it. But in this case, I was a dick."

He went on to joke that he made the mistake to "take some heat off the Minister of Health [Dr David Clark]", who was demoted and offered his resignation after admitting he drove to the beach and to a mountain-biking track during the lockdown.

New Zealand will come out of alert level 4 next Monday, after nearly five weeks in Government-imposed lockdown. The lockdown has seen the number of new daily cases of coronavirus plummet to single figures.

The total number of cases in New Zealand is 1451, although the number of active cases has fallen to just 401. Fourteen Kiwis have died with the disease.