Dr Lance O'Sullivan deletes controversial Facebook tirade following head-to-head with Willie Jackson

Former New Zealander of the Year Dr Lance O'Sullivan says he "got a pass" from his mum following an expletive-laden Facebook post last week about the state of Māori healthcare in New Zealand that caused a flurry of headlines.

But his mum's blessing regarding the salty language, which he said he was most nervous about, didn't stop him from deleting the controversial social media tirade yesterday - several hours after a lengthy and at times intense debate with Labour MP Willie Jackson aired on TVNZ1's Marae.

"You're not the be all and end all for Māori medicine," Mr Jackson said at the end of the 10-minute Marae discussion. "We know Pākehā media loves you ... but there are other experts out there also, mate, and you need to start respecting some of them."

Dr O'Sullivan didn't specify yesterday whose advice prompted him to take down last week's post.

"OK I have been given (and taken) some good advice," he wrote. "I have engaged in some unhelpful arguments and it is time to get out and discover the model of health care that will change things up. So I have removed all the of the posts so we can start at ground zero.

"No I am not under threat of defamation just listening to some wiser peeps. No more titter tatter mahia te mahi and watch this space!! There is work in progress and solutions to be found!!"

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The former New Zealander of the Year tells Breakfast he plans to “step out of this job of doctoring real soon”, so he can focus on the bigger picture. Source: Breakfast

Last week's post, which was prompted by a deadly meningococcal outbreak in Northland that has resulted in the deaths of "another brown kid" and two others, saw Dr O'Sullivan advocate for a massive redesign of the health system in New Zealand.

"I am seriously committed to changing this s**t up," he wrote. "This is notice to entire health system that sees private health companies making millions off the backs of those that they are meant to help.

"I am ashamed to be a doctor in such a f**ked system and can't wait until the people control their own health!!"

On Marae yesterday, Dr O'Sullivan responded to a suggestion in the media from Minister for Māori Crown Relations Kelvin Davis that he was politicising the recent deaths.

"Surely someone like him would know that issues for Māori are political. I mean, you're born into a political storm if you're Māori in New Zealand," Dr O'Sullivan said, adding that "listening to Kelvin Davis really annoys me".

Dr O'Sullivan added that he has tried to get an appointment with Mr Davis and other Government ministers, but he would "probably have better luck trying to get an appointment with Jimi Hendrix".

Mr Jackson, who currently serves as the Minister for Employment and the Associate Minister for Māori Development, started out encouraging the physician and thanking him for his "fantastic work".

"I think Lance has to keep challenging us," he said. "We've been in 12 months. We inherited a system, as you well know, Lance, that was just such minimal investment it's not funny. Minimal hospitals, sewage coming through the walls, for goodness sake.

"Successive Governments have under-invested in the health system. We've made a start, and we've put in $850 million in terms of infrastructure. We've got to make a start there."

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NZ’s health system has been broken for decades and needs a massive overhaul – not rhetoric — the former New Zealander of the Year tells 1 NEWS. Source: 1 NEWS

But the recent investments aren't enough "to save the Titanic from crashing and sinking", Dr O'Sullivan countered, suggesting that "both Governments are incapable of fixing the problem because they are so heavily invested in the problem".

Dr O'Sullivan pointed to Mr Jackson at one point, adding with a smile: "I'm trying not to swear. Bad behaviour gets more attention than good behaviour, I might add, and he knows about that."

"I am saying how do we develop new models of care that turns this audience that have for decades been non-responsive to the call for being more culturally appropriate and clinical care to our people," he added. "And I'm saying let's build models of care that makes them irrelevant. And that scares hierarchies."

But Mr Jackson suggested the doctor isn't being respectful to fellow Māori physicians who are working hard within the system to make it better.

"Lance, you're not the only one," he said. "You're not the only person here. There are lots of other experts out there, as you well know, who are ...not threatening to walk. We actually need you in the system."

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“There are other experts out there also, mate, and you need to start respecting some of them,” the Labour MP chided the activist physician on Marae. Source: Marae