Monday, 13 July 2015

If you're saying the same kinds of things as Paul Henry, you should probably stop talking

Remember when Paul Henry wasn't sure if our Governor General was enough of a New Zealander? He wanted someone who "looked" and "sounded" "more of a New Zealander" than Anand Satyanand.

Remember when New Zealand Police prosecuted New Zealand citizens as overstayers because their names sounded Polynesian or they looked brown, even though most overstayers were from the UK and Australia?

Well, we have the latest installment of You're Not A Real New Zealander Unless You're White, from the party that brought us the dawn raids, with Phil Twyford able to tell from last names whether or not people belong here.  This time it's Chinese people that are targeted, and as Keith Ng has already pointed out, Winston Peters couldn't have said it better.

Whiteness is like a magic card that gets you into all the best places.  Sure, it impacts on people differently, but it makes any other area of your life where you might be missing out easier, automatically.

I lived in the UK for 12 years, courtesy of a Scottish grandmother and a friendly (to me) immigration system.  I was always at home there - despite not being from there - until I opened my mouth and my kiwi vowels pierced the stiff upper lips of those nearby.  Whiteness travels well, even for bogan queer girls.

Someone with a "Chinese" last name might have been here since 1860.  When will they be allowed to say they belong?  When will Phil Twyford be ok with them becoming a homeowner?

Alongside the vicious racist dog whistling of Twyford, there's the complete idiocy of blaming the lack of housing in Auckland on an ethnic minority, rather than on the greed of those profiteering from our ridiculous, out-dated property laws.  You know who should be an easy target, Labour, when it comes to Auckland housing being inequitable?  You know who you should be able to ask questions about, when we have some New Zealanders living in housing so awful it's making them sick, or so cold it's killing them?

People making sure there's no such thing as a capital gains tax, while they rake in their dosh each week from multiple, million dollar properties, just because our economic systems make it possible.  It's not racist dog whistling you need, it's whistle blowing on the Richwhites


ChundaMars said...

And now they're hitting out at Susan Devoy for commenting. Idiots. Hand over the shovel guys, stop digging...

Jamie said...

Quick send him to the camps for political re-education

You're talking wacism while I'm watching the genocide of my race in progress

Spot the difference

LudditeJourno said...

Oh Jamie, I actually started watching that in case it had anything of interest. Genocide means KILLING people, not being in powerful positions, making decisions to allow migration from countries you've already colonized, having free migration of people with other (white dominated) countries. That's what's happening in Europe right now. Please find somewhere else for your ridiculous, vicious white privilege and racism.

Sal said...

Alongside the vicious racist dog whistling of Twyford...

You are talking twaddle. Phil Twyford wouldn't know how to do "vicious' if he tried.

It's time you PC fantasists got down into the gritty gravel at ground level where the rest of us live. And if your "sensitivities" mean you can't... then leave the Labour Party and the general political left to those of us with stronger and more rounded outlooks.

In short,you are being stupid.

LudditeJourno said...

Sal, with respect, there's nothing stupid about calling out racism. And being "well-rounded" sounds a lot like "seeing things from white people's points of view" in your definition. How do you think this situation has made Chinese Labour supporters feel? I get this is a massive own goal for Labour politically, but that's because it was not only ridiculous, but racist.

Jamie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Psycho Milt said...

...Phil Twyford able to tell from last names whether or not people belong here.

That is purely your invention. The only thing "vicious" here is your libel of Twyford.

the fresh gardener said...

I agree entirely with your post. I think the worst thing about it is that to me it represents another step in the long, slow death of the Labour movement in this country. The second worst thing about it is that instead of calling time on the rich white guys running the hothouse property market, they picked on New Zealanders of Asian descent to try to force the issue with the government. Disgusting. I won't be voting Labour ever again.

LudditeJourno said...

Psycho Milt - you don't think Twyford "libeled" quite a few people himself?

TFG - thank you. I doubt you're the only one feeling that level of disgust to be honest.

Psycho Milt said...

you don't think Twyford "libeled" quite a few people himself?

No. He published Labour's finding that people of an ethnic group that makes up 9% of Auckland's population had bought nearly 40% of Auckland houses over some recent period, and presented it as evidence that a lot of Auckland property is being bought by non-resident foreigners. It is such evidence. There's no libel in there.

The conclusions to be drawn from it are:
1. Purchase of Auckland property by non-resident foreigners is a significant driver of this investment bubble and the government really should do something about it.
2. The fact that this was the only way to get any data about it means the government is failing to gather data itself, quite possibly deliberately so.

Conclusions that can't justifiably be drawn from it, other than by spin doctors for the government wanting to make Labour look bad, are:
1. The only non-resident foreigners buying property in Auckland are Chinese.
2. People of Chinese ethnicity can't be NZers.
3. Chinese people don't belong here.
4. Anything else with the word 'Chinese' in it. It's a guaranteed public relations disaster having a White guy go on TV effectively to say he's been looking up Chinese names and found far too many of them, and you do have to wonder who the hell authorised it, but there's nothing in the actual content of what Labour's saying that is offensive.

Acid Queen said...

It's easy to rail against Labour for this, but I think it's worth noting that banning non-residents from buying property is Green policy too. (And also NZF policy, but I doubt anybody's surprised by that)

LudditeJourno said...

Yeah, point taken Acid Queen, I don't always enjoy the Green Party clumsiness around this area either, and NZ First, enough said on race.
I personally feel less concerned about there being a blanket restriction to property ownership for residents - which to my mind is about people invested in Aotearoa being able to own land here (and is something Samoa used to do, not sure if they still do) - and particular ethnic groups being targeted for commentary. When ethnicities of colour are targeted, we're talking about a different issue I think.
Psycho Milt, I feel like you're being deliberately stupid here and I've never had that impression before. You can rest assured I'm not critiquing this because I am an "spin doctor for the government". Truly.

Psycho Milt said...

Absolutely. I just meant that only spin doctors for the government could "justifiably" draw those conclusions (justifiable here in the sense that spin doctors do have a job to do and that job definitely includes laying down a withering barrage of fire on any huge, slow-moving targets Labour happens to haul into view).

ChundaMars said...

Psycho Milt, with regards to your previous comment, we can't reasonably jump to either of your first 2 conclusions either.

1. This data didn't even show that - how many of those 40% were current NZ citizens or residents? How many were new immigrants? Is this a "typical" 3 month period? Is this data for "typical" suburbs? If foreign speculators are the problem, are Chinese names overrepresented in vendors names too? If I am a joint director of a company with another NZ citizen with a Chinese surname, would our purchase end up on this list? Oh, and are there foreign speculators on that list with European surnames? Why do they get a pass?

2. I used to work in real estate. We never kept records of the ethnicity of our vendors or purchasers. And it's not really that simple - take a company part-owned by people of different nationalities, or family trusts. So, yeah, short of mandating reporting of personal details of every person who buys or sells real estate in this country, any data the government had is likely to be as incomplete as the data Labour has.

So, while the data is objective and cannot be offensive (it's just numbers) the conclusion Labour has jumped to, or at least is expecting others to jump to, is offensive as hell because it relies on existing stereotypes and scapegoating. That's the offensive part. If it turns out that foreign speculation is a genuine problem, then by all means, deal with it, but let's do it based on decent facts, not lazy half-arsed stereotyping.

LudditeJourno said...

Thanks Chunda, you've been much, much more generous with your time than I've been in your reply.
It's your refusal to acknowledge the racism that I object to PM and which seems uncharacteristically stupid, that obviously wasn't clear enough earlier.

Psycho Milt said...

ChundaMars: if Twyford had presented this as comprehensive data that conclusively demonstrated a lot of Auckland properties are being bought by non-resident Chinese, your points would be fairly obvious refutations of his claim. However, his claim is that, based on data they were actually able to collect (because the government doesn't make any provision for collecting this data at all), there's a percentage discrepancy in that data that provides evidence for a lot of purchases by non-residents. Not "proves" this, just "provides evidence" for it. And it does provide evidence for it. If you don't like the fact that the only way to get any kind of evidence at all was this way, and that the data gathered isn't capable of providing conclusive evidence, blame the government for refusing to collect data on foreign purchases itself.

Luddite Journo: given that my comments have explicitly disputed your allegation of racism, the fact that I don't acknowledge it as racism shouldn't really come as a surprise.

ChundaMars said...

It's mighty weak evidence PM. The fact they haven't said "proves" doesn't really change my opinion that they are wanting people to jump to a conclusion based on weak stats and existing prejudices.

Also, when you say "the government" I hope you don't just mean the current National-led one: far as I know Labour never collected these stats when they were in charge either.

I agree that having solid data would make this debate moot: if there genuinely are a large number of foreigners buying up property here (be they Chinese or any other ethnicity), then I have no issue with taking steps to address that. But, in the absence of good data, I'd prefer the answer was "We don't know (yet) if this is contributing to the problem" rather than "shitty guesstimate + xenophobia = problem identified!".

Acid Queen said...

I see what you're saying, but it would be wrong to say this is simply an issue of commentary. It's not just that people are targeting ethnic groups for a lot of dogwhistling, it's that they are following up that dogwhistling with policy that discriminates against people based on where they're born. Of course it's not explicitly a racist policy, but in practice, the racial implications of banning non-residents from owning land are unlikely to be positive.

To be angry at Labour and NZF but to not be angry at the Greens you have to believe that it's only Labour's analysis that's racist, but that that racist analysis is somehow leading them to a policy that's not racist. And that the Greens have an entirely separate, non-racist analysis that's leading them to the same policy. That is very hard for me to find credible.

There's a reason the Greens are not calling Labour to account on this.

ChundaMars said...

Nice write up about this today...

Anonymous said...

There is something about this story that reminds me of stories hospital nurses in NZ tell of being abused by very ill patients because of the way they (the nurses) speak English l. The world is always changing, this country does not belong to the descendants of Anglo Saxons. It's not Chinese migrants who took our power away, as someone once said we are sacks of meat with delusions of power.