Jamie Whyte

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Jamie Whyte
Jamie Whyte on the day of the announcement of his selection as Leader by ACT
Jamie Whyte on the day of the announcement of his selection as Leader by ACT
Leader of ACT New Zealand
In office
2 February 2014 – 3 October 2014
Preceded byJohn Banks
Succeeded byDavid Seymour
Personal details
BornAuckland, New Zealand
Political partyACT New Zealand
Alma materUniversity of Auckland, Cambridge University
OccupationPhilosopher, management consultant
WebsiteACT Party profile

Jamie Whyte is a New Zealand politician who is a former leader of ACT New Zealand, a free market political party of New Zealand, and unsuccessfully contested the Pakuranga electorate in the 2014 general election.[1] At the election, Whyte held the first position on the party list, but Act did not achieve enough party votes to secure any list seats.[2] Soon after the 2014 general election, he resigned from the leadership of ACT.[3]

Whyte is a former philosophy lecturer, currency trader and management consultant. He has written books and newspaper columns about reasoning and politics.

Early life and academia[edit]

Whyte was born in Auckland, New Zealand. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Auckland.[4] He then moved to the UK to study for an M.Phil and Ph.D at St John's College, Cambridge.[citation needed]

Upon graduation, Whyte remained at Cambridge University for three years as a research fellow at Corpus Christi College and temporarily lectured in the Philosophy faculty. He won the Analysis journal prize for the best article by a philosopher under the age of 30.[5]

Early career[edit]

Whyte then took up a job with the New York-based management consultancy firm Oliver Wyman.[6] He also worked as a foreign currency trader.[citation needed]

Writing and media[edit]

Since 2004, Whyte has written books for general audiences and newspaper columns, aiming to expose shoddy reasoning, especially by politicians. In 2006 he won the Reason Foundation Bastiat Prize for journalism (jointly with Tim Harford of the Financial Times) and in 2010 he was named runner up.[7] In June 2014, Whyte won the Institute of Economic Affairs Arthur Seldon Memorial Award for Excellence for Quack Policy.[8]

He is the author of Crimes Against Logic (titled Bad Thoughts: A Guide to Clear Thinking in the UK; 2004), A Load of Blair (2005), Free Thoughts (2012) and Quack Policy (2013) and has also written columns for many notable publications, including The Times, City A.M., Standpoint, Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal.[citation needed]

Whyte has also occasionally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and television.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

In his youth, Whyte was a campaign volunteer for Bob Jones' New Zealand Party in the 1984 general election.[9]

Despite no prior experience in political office, at a board meeting in February 2014, Whyte was elected to the ACT party's leadership, beating former MP, John Boscawen. At the same meeting, David Seymour was chosen as ACT's candidate for the Epsom electorate[10] and Kenneth Wang was later elected as Whyte's deputy leader in April 2014.[11]

In the 2014 general election, ACT only won enough votes to be represented by David Seymour in the Epsom electorate. After the election, on 3 October 2014 Whyte resigned from the leadership of the party, saying: "Clearly, I make this announcement with regret, however the election result is clear, and I must now turn to my career and my family." He was replaced as ACT leader by David Seymour on the day of his resignation.[3]

In February 2017, Whyte joined the Institute of Economic Affairs as Director of Research.[12] He will leave the IEA on 1 January 2019.[13]

Whyte's political philosophy is classical liberalism, in the tradition of Friedrich Hayek.[14]


  1. ^ Young, Audrey (3 February 2014). "Act leader set to play it straight". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  2. ^ Act. "Jamie Whyte", Act New Zealand, 27 October 2005. Retrieved on 18 September 2014.
  3. ^ a b "ACT's Jamie Whyte quits as leader". Stuff. 3 October 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  4. ^ Young, Audrey (2 February 2014). "Jamie Whyte elected Act leader". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  5. ^ Roberts, Sue (March 2014). "Philosopher becomes party leader". Philosophy Now. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  6. ^ "Keynes v Hayek". London School of Economics. 8 August 2011.
  7. ^ Previous Bastiat Prize Winners from Reason Foundation, accessed June 2014.
  8. ^ "Political party leader wins prestigious Seldon Award". IEA. 27 June 2014. Retrieved 18 Sep 2014.
  9. ^ Cherie Howie (2014-06-29). "Leaders' first trip to ballot box". New Zealand Herald.
  10. ^ Sabin, Brook (2 February 2014). "ACT choices huge risk for party". 3 News.
  11. ^ Dastgheib, Shabnam (15 April 2014). "Kenneth Wang elected Act deputy leader". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 18 Sep 2014.
  12. ^ "IEA appoints new Director of Research & a new Chief Economist". Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  13. ^ https://twitter.com/_JamieWhyte/status/1078332999375163393
  14. ^ Hayek vs Keynes at the LSE (Cobden Centre), accessed June 2014.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
John Banks
Leader of the ACT Party
Succeeded by
David Seymour