Andrew Little threw a bit of a hissy fit when Patrick Gower questioned him on “cooked up data”.
Video and a short report from 3 News: Video: Andrew Little snaps over Chinese buyer data questions
The Labour leader took exception to a question that included the phrase “cooked-up data”, telling Mr Gower: “I’m not going to stand here and have a desperate TV3 reporter use inflammatory language on this. Cooked-up, what was cooked-up?!”
Mr Little added: “You don’t understand. You’re making stuff up.”
That’s also very ironic considering the way Phil Twyford followed by Little have made stuff up.
Ad it wasn’t just when the story broke last week. They are both still digging a hole, repeating made up claims that are not supported at all by the data they analysed.
Stuff report: Chinese officials concerned about Labour’s foreign buyer data
Chinese officials have raised concerns with Deputy Prime Minister Bill English about the “tone” of Labour Party data based on foreigners buying property in the overheated Auckland housing market.
There’s a number of reports of concern from Chinese ethnic groups and individials in New Zealand. Damage is still being done, but Labour keeps digging.
Labour’s housing spokesman Phil Twyford said the analysis the party did of the Barfoot and Thompson data predicted the probability of the surnames predicting ethnic origin, and he stood by that.
“And that is it has a high level of accuracy, and the result that we came up with that 39.5 per cent of houses sold during that three month period went to people of Chinese descent.
Rob Salmond claims the surname analysis was about 95% accurate and that’s not being disputed.
“We never ever made the claim, and we made it clear that we did not go and knock on the doors of those individual people and ask them if they were foreign speculators,” Twyford said.
But Labour failed completely to quantify how many buyers might be foreign Chinese, or total foreign buyers. Littl;e said “You’re making stuff up” – that’s what he and Twyford have done.
Twyford also expressed regret that some people in the Chinese community were upset by the debate, but said it was not racist.
“A fact cannot be racist – a fact is a fact. It might make you feel uncomfortable, but we need as a country to be able to have debates about these kinds of things without allegations of racism.”
It’s not the facts that have made people uncomfortable – and angry. It’s the making stuff up on the proportion of overseas Chines buyers that has been a disaster for Labour, as they have been told over and over – but they don’t seem to want to listen.
And it’s the targeting of Chinese and ignoring everyone else, and making excuses for a bit of racial/ethnic damage.
“Yes, I do care, very much,” Little said, when asked if he cared what the Chinese government thought.
But he said the Labour Party could not be constrained about putting information into the public arena because people did not want to upset the Chinese government.
“That’s not the basis on which we conduct debates in New Zealand.”
Labour shouldn’t be trying to conduct debates by making unsubstantiated guesses (if they were even guesses, they way they continue to act on this could be an attempt to divert from deliberately misleading.
Ethnic constituents had also expressed concern to Little about the way the debate had unfolded in some areas.
“We always knew, given the nature of the information, if we released it, that was one not just possible response, but a likely response.”
So Little admits knowing that offending people would be a likely reaction.
He denied that was concern at the Labour Party’s characterisation of the data, or the way the party had conducted the debate.
Asked if he felt bad about people feeling the data was racist, Little said he was “concerned that some people have felt that because of their ethnicity they have somehow been singled out – that does concern me”.
Failing to accept any responsibility, this is worse than the ;sorry if anyone was offended’ apology, because there is no sign of any apologies.
“But then we looked at the information and what it was telling us – the gap between a 9 per cent Chinese ethnic population in Auckland and 40 per cent of the purchasers of Auckland properties over a three month period being of Chinese ethnic descent.
“That was too big of a gap to say ‘we’re too afraid to release this information’.”
It’s a pity they weren’t afraid to make stuff up about the information – they piled unsubstantiated ‘guesses’ in a classic example of cynical wedge politics, using the New Zealand Chinese community as a scapegoat.
The Auckland market has a major problem with the impact of non-resident foreign buyers, which the Government was ignoring, Little said.
“We’re not going to [ignore it] – as uncomfortable as it is, and as crude as our information might have been, the conclusion that the non-resident foreign buyer is having a huge impact on the Auckland housing market is real, and people are concerned about it.”
He admits the information was ‘crude’ – it wasn’t the very limited information that was crude, it was the way Labour embellished it substantially, knowing it would be a Chinese bashing that was crude.
All this has been pointed out over and over again to Labour over they last ten days. Often very explicitly.
So I find it incredible that Twyford and Little are still pushing their divisive drivel.
And now Little has shown sign he is buckling under the pressure he has brought upon himself. Lashing out at a journalist is just going to make things worse.
Labour have dug themselves deep on this, and now the sides of the hole are caving in on them.
I have no data to base this claim on, but I think that for every day Little and Labour continue to keep digging there will be another year before this is forgotten. If the Labour Party lasts that long.
And it’s hard to see Little becoming Prime Minister on this performance.