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March 5, 2018 | by  | in News |
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Jaime Whyte Under Fire for Controversial Opinion Piece

Former ACT Party Leader Jamie Whyte has penned an opinion piece published by The Telegraph, which has received heavy criticism online.

Entitled “Why does your desire for a cleaner ocean trump the pleasure I get from drinking through a plastic straw?”, Whyte challenges a suggestion from the British Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Gove that plastic straws be banned in the UK.

Twitter user @danielhowdon brought the article’s headline to the internet’s attention.

The resulting thread and retweets questioned both the legitimacy and seriousness of the article. While there has been no clear indication that the piece was facetious, many Twitter users suggested Whyte “must have been taking the piss”.

The lines “Will Mr Gove ban chicken?” and “Mr Gove’s new principle is authoritarian nonsense. Anyone with the slightest regard for liberty should be appalled,” came under particular scrutiny.

Mr Whyte has previously come under fire as ACT Leader when he suggested incest should be decriminalised in New Zealand, a statement for which he subsequently apologised.

One Twitter user indicated the problem could be resolved through the use of paper straws, pointing out that they work just as well, and easily biodegrade.

The issue of plastic waste has a growing profile, with an online petition to ban the use of plastic bags in New Zealand receiving some 67,000 signatures.

The online petition by Greenpeace stated that 8.3 million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean every year.

The article was included as premium content on The Telegraph website.

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