An interesting profile on and interview of Jamie Whyte in the SST. Some extracts:
But you want some plain speaking? Here’s what he thinks of his putative future colleagues, the good members of the Parliament of New Zealand.
For some, he says, “shamefully, it’s just that it’s the best job they are capable of getting . . . they have no particular talents, somehow they have managed to get in with their party and get elevated and they are as happy as a pig in shit. Otherwise, they would be working in the food industry [think McDonald’s] or cleaning.”
Still others, he says scornfully, are the ideology-free, poorly-read “Tory boy” types who think they are the “shepherds of society”.
Cheerful, convivial, entertaining company, clearly very intelligent, prone to the odd curse, Whyte is a youthful-looking 48-year-old father of two with a shaven head and tailored shirt.
He’s an unlikely pollie and of course, considers himself in neither of the categories described above. “I’m not a careerist politician. I am not doing this because I am desperate to be an MP.”
Whyte’s much purer motivation is ideas.
Which we need more of.
Actually, he’s an ACT natural, would never have fitted in National. He talks about how the state should be smaller, offer more freedoms. He hates the Greens (“watermelons, green on the outside, red on the inside”), disdains Cunliffe, likes John Key but is frustrated at what he sees as National’s tendency to accept Labour reforms when they take power.
For example, he’s “appalled” by Labour’s extension of welfare “deep into the middle classes”, saying it is a hugely inefficient way of recirculating people’s own money, and can’t understand why it hasn’t been rolled back.
Why, he wonders, are there more laws every year and not fewer: surely after 200 years of effective parliamentary democracy there shouldn’t be many stones left unturned? So we get intrusive, inconsistent legislation that leaves room for discretion. Such as? “If you take smacking . . .” A pause; frantic backpedalling. “No, I am not going there.”
Emphatically, he says, an ACT party led by Whyte would not go to war on Treaty issues. “I’ve got no interest in Maori-bashing as a political game.”