Dr Lance O'Sullivan is a logical choice as Māori Party leader - Duncan Garner

If the Māori Party is looking for new leadership - and it is - Duncan Garner has your man.

The AM Show host spent several minutes promoting the qualities and qualifications of Dr Lance O'Sullivan, the former New Zealander of the Year who appeared on Monday to discuss the effects of gambling on child health.

Kaitaia-based Dr O'Sullivan was due to take his concerns to the International Gambling Conference later in the day, but Garner eventually turned the conversation to politics.

"The Māori Party, you want to be leader?" he asked.

Dr O'Sullivan cautiously replied: "Politics is in my future. What that looks like is yet to be [determined]."

Garner was not to be deterred and kept plugging away at his guest, ultimately calling on current leadership to hand the reins to Dr O'Sullivan, who had expressed interest previously, but only as a sole leader.

Māori Party constitution requires male and female co-leaders - Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox fill those positions, but were major casualties of last year's election, where the party failed to win any seats.

Dr Lance O'Sullivan
Dr Lance O'Sullivan on The AM Show Photo credit: Newshub

"Whatever the leadership of the Māori Party looks like, in my opinion, you need a single, strong message coming from, I believe, one leader," said Dr O'Sullivan.

"I've publicly supported the Māori Party for some time and made statements about my desire to be involved."

Garner was adamant the time was right for Mr Flavell to "pull the plug".

"Te Ururoa Flavell, you resign today," he said. "You say this is the future.

"You've had a great career, you were a minister, but you got smashed at the last election. You do a handover and here's your man.

"Lance O'Sullivan is the perfect guy for this. Who else could it be?"

Newshub has attempted to contact Mr Flavell for a response.

In December, Māori Party president Tukoroirangi Morgan resigned, calling for Mr Flavell and Ms Fox to follow suit.

The party has called for leadership nominations, and the positions of president and vice-presidents (male and female) will be put to vote at the annual general meeting next Saturday (February 12).


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