Wellington Scoop

Sex and politics

by Lindsay Shelton
No one has yet written about the sex life of John Key. But judging by Fairfax media coverage, this topic may not be be far away.

The Sunday Star Times led the way with yesterday’s headline stating that a gay Prime Minister would be “a step too far.” This turned out to be the opinion of only one person – ex MP, ex mayor and ex prostitute Georgina Beyer. Nevertheless, her one-person “warning” was given most of a column on the front page, though she offered nothing with which to back up her claim. (“I don’t think … I get the feeling … It’s possible … I just fear”.)

Three people disagreed, and said New Zealand was ready for a gay Prime Minister. But reporter Hamish Rutherford relegated their views to a few sentences each and didn’t mention them till he’d finished quoting all of Georgina’s prejudices and suspicions. Her “NZ not ready” message was then repeated above their opposite opinions when the report continued on an inside page.

The DomPost had another go at the sex-in-politics theme this morning, with a front page headline stating “being gay no issue in Labour battle.” At least the paper had gone to an authoritative source this time – the quote came from Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson, who was the first Labour MP to announce he would be competing for leadership of the party after the sudden departure of David Shearer. But the headline was irrelevant to the report – which was an analysis by Vernon Small not about sexual preferences in politics but about the chances of the two, or three, people competing for Labour’s top job.

On page two this morning, the DomPost tried to bring its sex-in-politics theme closer to the Prime Minister.

Photos by Stephanie Key, Paris College of Art

It published two self-portraits of his daughter Stephanie naked (except for sushi and an octopus.) Her photos have been chosen for Paris Design Week. For comment on this, the paper chose not to seek out a former MP or a former mayor. It went direct to the Prime Minister, who said the family are “very proud of the work she is doing” at art school in Paris.

Will Fairfax newspapers be continuing their efforts to make sex an election issue? Will they be continuing to instruct us what is or is not acceptable in the private life of Prime Ministers? Can they be looking for further revelations, or just planning on further innuendo? Judging by social media this morning, the idea has not been popular.

Jack Yan:
Next thing you know, people will be worried about a politician’s race.

Joseph Romanos:
Poor reporting, especially TV, about Grant Robertson. As if there is no other factor in the Labour election except him being gay. Weak stuff.

Iona Pannett:
Disappointing comments from Beyer. Non issue. Grant would be great as the leader of the Opposition.

Raybon Kan:
Asking whether NZ’s ready for a gay PM is like saying: “But — but — we’ve still got so much more hate on the schedule!”

Jordan King ‏
In the last few years, two countries have had LGBT heads of government: Iceland’s Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir (Iceland) and Elio Di Rupo (Belgium)

James Shaw:
50 years ago since Martin Luther King gave his, “I have a dream” speech and we’re still wondering if NZ is ready for female/gay/Maori/deaf/etc leaders.

Christine McCartney:
Sexuality is not an issue unless looking for a date or a life partner.

The Ruminator:
John Key’s daughter’s pics are as relevant to his ability as Grant Robertson’s homosexuality is to his. i.e. not at all.

Russell Brown: Political Idol, or whatever you want to call it.


  1. Maximus, 26. August 2013, 19:19

    I’m not really interested in any politician’s sexual orientation, unless it affects their ability to do their job. John Key’s presumed heterosexuality is as irrelevant to his ability to govern the country, as was Helen Clark’s. Silvio Berlosconi appears to have a real problem keeping his dick in his pants, and hence his ability to run a country without frightening the children, an issue that doesn’t seem to affect New Zealand politicians. I’ve always hated the obligatory trotting out of candidates wives in the US election, just to prove that the men on show are indeed red-blooded, sperm-laden, family-breeding, white middle class Christians. Yuck, I hear you say: too much information!

    What I am really interested in, is if Jones, Cunliffe, or Robertson have any concrete plans for getting New Zealand back on track after it has been so comprehensively buggered up by Brownlee, Key and English. All i want to hear is POLICY, and signs of potential leadership.

  2. Alana, 27. August 2013, 20:23

    Excellent analysis. This is the journalism lacking everywhere but RNZ. The DomPost sinks lower every week with cheap and often mis-leading headlines, and slack reporting which fails to dig beyond a press release and a couple of comments.