One's a Hollywood Oscar winner and international heartthrob who earns millions on big-budget blockbuster films.

The other is a fledgling Kiwi politician, plucked from obscurity to lead one of the nation's smallest parties.

And while newly anointed United Future leader Damian Light may not have set tonight's minor parties TV1 debate on fire, he certainly set the twitter-sphere alight amid claims of a striking resemblance to actor Ryan Gosling.

Many Kiwis were distracted from the debate by the United Future leader's good looks.

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His party's website promptly crashed under the weight of the attention.

Light said he spent the ensuing evening reading through Twitter messages, and was bemused at the number of people commenting on the likeness.

"My Twitter feed is going ballistic."

It wasn't the first time he'd been compared to the Hollywood A-lister. During a recent 10-day trip to Taiwan for a conference the likeness had been commented on, he said.

"I have heard it before. Hopefully (the attention) will translate into something useful for the party. If it makes people pay attention and listen to what we're saying then I'm all for it."

He was confident it was not just his looks that made an impression at what he said was his first televised debate.

The 33-year-old took over from Peter Dunne two-and-a-half weeks ago, following the veteran Ohariu MP's shock decision to retire.

Light had never done a TV interview before appearing on The AM Show on Three yesterday morning. He said then that most voters wouldn't even realise United Future still existed, blaming the media instead for "covering the Jacinda effect".

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"We put out a press release, but it's one of those things - it's been one of those crazy elections," he told the show.

Light was inspired to get into politics after seeing Dunne's memorable debate appearance before the 2002 election, where he infamously turned the worm and brought another seven MPs into Parliament.