Act leader finds political learning curve can be harsh

The New ACT leader Jamie Whyte has discovered the hard way that the political learning can be harsh.

He hit the headlines over comments about incest made on the Ruminator blog. NZ Herald expanded:

“I don’t think the state should intervene in consensual adult sex or marriage, but there are two very important elements here – consensual and adult”.

“I wonder who does believe the state should intervene in consensual adult acts?”

He said he was “very opposed” to incest. “I find it very distasteful. I don’t know why anybody would do it but it’s a question of principle about whether or not people ought to interfere with actions that do no harm to third parties just because they personally wouldn’t do it.”

This created a storm on Twitter but Richard Prebble supported Whyte.

“Actually in some ways it is useful because it shows Jamie Whyte is not a politician and I don’t think the public want politicians. Our enemies will attempt to distort that but I find the guy refreshing and new and I think the electorate is looking for something that’s fresh and new.

“He’s somebody who’s very frank and so when he says things he means it. If you’ve got a candidate who happens to have been a philosophy lecturer at Cambridge University you can always ask him ‘gotcha’ questions.”

But reality hit home and now Act Leader’regrets’ incest comments

“I’m the leader of ACT and my opinions are the opinions of the ACT Party now, at least in my public discussions with journalists,” he told NZ Newswire.

“I was drawn into a very abstract philosophical conversation about the limits of the state and it’s not my job now, I’m now party leader, I’m the leader of ACT, it’s not my job to be a philosophy lecturer anymore.”

Some sage advice:

Philosophical reality: I think therefore I am.

Political reality: Don’t get your name in the same headline as the word 

A harsh lesson learned by Whyte. It isn’t easy for a political novice to jump into a part leader role.

Leave a comment


  1. Andrew

     /  27th February 2014

    Why is it OK for the law commission to discuss it but not the new leader of the ACT party.

    I think there is absolutely no problem about starting a discussion, some of the current law is no doubt well out of date.

    • Framing and leading a discussion – no problem if it’s done with care.

      Being led into it and reacting – easy to get clobbered.

  2. J Bloggs

     /  27th February 2014

    It’s exactly the same mistake Colin Craig made when he got drawn into commenting on Moon Landing Hoaxes and Chemtrails

    • Yes. At least Whyte seems to have learned his mistake, but time will tell if he repeats something similar. Repeat mistakes are something Craig has had problems with.

  3. J Bloggs

     /  27th February 2014

    His retraction and clarification seem to indicate that Whyte has already taken that on board


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