“Dad, why don’t Kiwis like us Chinese?”

Shane Te Pou wants an apology from from Andrew Little and Phil Twyford. He feels embarrassed for the Labour Party and sad for his boy who is part Maori, part Chinese and asked “Dad, why don’t Kiwis like us Chinese?”

Te Pou is a long time Labour Party member. Last year he was reported as being on the electorate committee in Tamaki Makaurau.

And in an interview with Duncan Garner on RadioLive today Te Pou says he has probably been caught up in the data leak and has contacted the Privacy Commissioner.

Garner: Now this is a fascinating story this one. Long standing Labour Party Shane Te Pou, been around for a long time, he’s been a member of the Labour Party, I think he was a member at age fifteen actually. He is angry with the Labour Party over this surname saga business, the whole Barfoot and Thompson releasing of the Chinese surnames.

The truth is Shane Te Pou is Maori and his wife is Chinese, and he’s been told they are very likely to have been caught up in this leaked data used by the Labour Party. Shane joins me now. Kia Ora Shane.

Te Pou: Kia Ora.

Garner: What are your concerns?

Te Pou: Oh my concerns are this, that we bought as house with Barfoot and Thompson so I gave them a call and I said “Hey look, is it possible that my information could have been leaked, and could have been used”, and yes they said it’s highly likely.

So I’m aghast that we’ve been trapped in this ’cause I can tell you that just simply because of my wife’s surname that we’re probably on the foreigners’ list, and that’s a personal insult to me and my whanau.

The other thing that I’m concerned about this is that I think this is racial profiling. What they simply did is they got a group of Chinese sounding names and put one and one together and came up with three and I think that’s abhorrent  to the principles of my great party.

Garner: So are you going to hang around in the party, or are you threatening to resign like we saw from Phil Quin? Are you doing the same, what are you going to do?

Te Pou: Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble didn’t get rid of me. These guys aren’t going to get rid of me either brother, but no I don’t intend to do that at all.

Garner: Right so you will stay on, but what do you want from Andrew Little?

Te Pou: I want an apology. I think that you know, here’s the thing, there ought to be constraints on foreign ownership. They need to be universal and they need to be thorough.

But to pick on a particular ethnicity I think is abhorrent, and really goes against the fundamental principles of our party and that’s one of equity.

And I think Mr Little and Phil Twyford, who I’ve known for years, who came to my twenty first, owe me and my whanau an apology.

Garner: So you’ll write them a letter seeking that will you?

Te Pou: Yes. And I’ll contact the Privacy Commissioner. I’ve just found out today that my information was likely part of that so I’ve contacted the Privacy Commissioner and I’m about to send a letter away to the Leader of the Opposition and the leader of my party.

Garner: What are the chances of getting an apology do you think?

Te Pou: I don’t know. I don’t know but you know I don’t like coming out publicly on these kind of issues but I think you’ve got to pick a principled position.

I’ve got a nine year old kid, you know he can do his whakapapa and te reo, ah his Chinese is very good, speaks English and he said  “Dad, why don’t Kiwis like us Chinese?”

And you know, I felt very sad for him.

So I’ve got to this for [him] and I’ve got to do this for many other Chinese who contribute very well and productively to Aotearoa New Zealand.

Garner: Are you embarrassed by your party?

Te Pou: I’m embarrassed by the actions of Phil who I think is better than this, who is a really decent man, as I said I’ve known him, he came to my twenty first.

I just think it was unnecessary and I think the way he did it actually has been a sideshow in terms of what the real issue is. And the real issue is our people cannot afford homes in Auckland and we need to put universal strategies in place.

Garner: Do you buy this argument from your party that there is such a lack of concrete data on who is buying our houses that they needed to do this?

I mean I thought, I’ll be honest with my opinion on this, I thought it was sloppy, I thought it took us nowhere to be honest.

Te Pou: No, it’s taken us nowhere. There oughta be a register. We oughta know who’s buying our properties. There oughta be precautions in place.

But to racially profile, that’s what they did, they got Chinese sounding surnames and then they dumped the information based on that.

It was totally unnecessary and I just, what concerns me is that Andrew and Phil Twyford, who I think are fundamentally decent human beings, they failed to see that.

And I think perhaps if someone like me can say “hey guys, think about this again” I think they might reflect about it and do good, rather than just trying to score a few political cheap points.

Garner: Um Shane, if they don’t apologise to you will you reconsider your position in the party, ie will you resign, or will you hang on ie Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble and just hang tough?

Te Pou: I’m going to hang tough. I love the party. She’s been good to me. You know they gave us universal health and education. I’ve come from a very large whanau. We’re very committed to the Labour Party. My brothers and sisters have worked on campaigns.

My nine year old boy, he’s been delivering pamphlets in three campaigns since he was a five year old…

Garner: How will you protest if you don’t get an apology, which is obviously what you want because you’re offended and fair enough, how will you react if you don’t get what you want?

Te Pou: Oh what I will do and what I intend to do is go through and see if I can extract from the party and from the Leader and from Phil in the first place, and secondly if I have to I’ll go through the Privacy Commissioner.

You know, it’s something I really don’t want to do, but I feel very slighted. And I think thousands of New Zealanders feel very slighted over this issue, and I think in the long term it’s not helpful for our party and it’s not helpful for our chances of winning the election next time around.

AUDIO: Labour Party member Shane Te Pou asks leader Andrew Little for an apology over ‘foreign buyers’ issue

Leave a comment


  1. kittycatkin

     /  16th July 2015

    Thank goodness most people don’t dislike Chinese people unless the Chinese person is not a likeable person (I have known some of these, as I have known unlikeable people of all races) The response to Labour’s ridiculous latest own goal shows (to me) that thinking people are capable of realising that being racially Chinese doesn’t mean that the person isn’t as much a Kiwi as someone whose parents or grandparents are Dutch or any other race of pink people. My bridesmaid’s family have been here far longer than mine !

    It would be silly and untrue for me to say that I LIKE Chinese people-I don’t know them all-it would be as silly as saying that I like Maori, Dutch or Scottish people when I don’t know them all, either. I like most of the ones I know, don’t like a few and see them as I do any other race-as individuals.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  16th July 2015

      I hope you are right but I don’t have much confidence that the great socialist unwashed are going to be very tolerant of people who look different, work hard and are financially and academically successful.

      • You don’t have much confidence that the great socialist unwashed are going to be very tolerant of people who look different, work hard and are financially and academically successful? Your confidence or lack of it is probably not important.

        Nor I suppose is the general implication that socialists lack tolerance for those you describe while non-socialists do have tolerance for those groups and I presume all peoples.

        The characterisation is cheap, stupid and pathetic.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  16th July 2015

          Then of course it is just a coincidence that the socialist workers party is the one playing the race card right now. Tui moment.

  2. Graham O`Connell

     /  16th July 2015

    Is it ok for foreignors ie the indigenous kiwis the Tangatua Whenua of New Zealand Aotearoa to buy land in the PRC?
    Im sure they have the funds available with what they have received in their land claims in New Zealand. Which still continue and will for generations to come.
    Why are they not squealing about asians buying up the land?
    It seems there is a deathly quiet from the people of the land.
    Are the Tangata Whenua so passionate about the land
    Maybe it is something to do with the mana mmm money that is at stake.
    The Maoris why are they not up in arms, strange.

  3. Farmerpete

     /  17th July 2015

    I have always found the Chinese community to be hard working contributors to NZ society. There is a long history of Chinese contribution (and exploitation). Any point Labour wished to make has been lost as a result of their short sighted and zenophobic approach.
    How can ‘you’ defend the indefensible? I am surprised at the number of commenters on this blog who have been trying to do so.
    I am pleased to see PG giving this subject a lot of ‘air’.


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