A Kaitaia pharmacist says the Maori GP who has resigned from the local iwi health provider is highly regarded by other health professionals in the region.
Dr Lance O'Sullivan - who has been outspoken about poverty, housing and the unmet health needs of Maori - has left his job with Te Hauora o Te Hiku o Te Ika which has caused consternation in the community.
While he is unable to comment because of contract constraints, iwi sources say Dr O'Sullivan could not accept Te Hauora's management policy to turn away patients who could not pay.
But Eric Shackleton, who owns the Kaitaia pharmacy, says it is not unusual in the Far North to see patients who can not pay.
He says Dr O'Sullivan is a great asset to the community and it is hoped he will stay in the Far North.