Little buckles under pressure as he and Twyford keep digging

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.

Leave a comment


  1. kittycatkin

     /  21st July 2015

    I can’t work out how they came up with their figures, though they’re obviously wrong. Let’s be charitable and say it’s a genuine error of calculation-if only !-but if anyone can explain, I wish that they would.

    John Key’s remark about how this isn’t the Labour Party he’s always known was exactly how I feel.

    • There’s probably not much wrong with their figures from the surname analysis.

      But beyond that there are no figures. They made stuff up – guessed, assumed, speculated, whatever you want but there were no figures and there are no figures on the proportion of overseas Chinese speculators, or overseas Chines buyers, or on any speculators or buyers.

  2. Shane

     /  21st July 2015

    What’s truly ridiculous about Labour’s analysis is that all buyers with ‘Chinese-sounding surnames’ either come from Auckland or are from overseas. Hard-working folk – Chinese or otherwise – from throughout the country are likely to be investing in Auckland. You don’t have to live in Auckland to buy in Auckland ya know. It’s thems with the dosh that are buying and there’s bound to be more cash-rich folk in the provinces.

  3. Budgieboy

     /  21st July 2015

    I’m not about to become an Andrew Little fan and cannot really see a path that might one day have me vote for him – bar one – if he had punched Paddy Gower on the nose today I could easily have become a convert.

    Don’t get me wrong, Labour has got a complete clusterf**k on their hands with this ‘policy’ but I can’t stand the way Paddy Gower conducts himself and the way he behaves towards our political leaders. He adds nothing to the political discourse in this country and if you look back at how often Paddy is the story then you start to realise that this is a guy that cares less about bringing us news and information than he does being the tough guy and grandstanding the story.

    Oh, and the ‘punch in the nose’ thing was tounge in cheek, I wouldn’t actually want the bloke hit but my god I wish he’d pull his head in.

    • SteveRemmington

       /  21st July 2015

      The problem is Budgie me old mate….didn’t Andy or one of his advisors not think that first day back at the hive Paddy or one of his mates was always going to ask a question like that?

      Watching Labour fumble, trip over themselves and tie themselves in knots even before the acid is put on them is like watching the amateur hour.

  4. The problem LAbour has is they have NO WAY of linking anyone to the sales in terms of whether they are offshore investors/speculators. None, Zero, Zilch.

    They have identified an undercurrent of frustration with Aucklands aspiring house buying cohort, they have identified a gossipy “its the Chinese buying everything” dinner party conversation piece and thought here is something we can EXPLOIT in the key swing electorates of Auckland.

    They have then used dodgy data [lets face it its 3 months sales data from ONE agency which may well be targeting Chinese migrants and NZ resident CHinese investors] and extrapolated that to try and build a case for “It was the Beijing Speculators M’lord”

    The holes in:

    1 – the basis of the data. Limited breath in terms of total market sales, possibly skewed depending on the Agency involved focus re potential buyers, limited in terms of time sequence being one 3 month period and most tellingly having no basis whatsoever in terms of the residency status of the buyers

    2 – the chain of analysis to reaching the statement its Offshore Chinese that are the problem. The hypothesis that because ethnic Chinese making up only 9% of the population and therefore couldn’t possible buy 40% of the property sold by one agency in one 3 month period is just plain DUMB and requires a logical leap or two to arrive at.

    Labour the friend to the poor, the downtrodden, the ethnic and migrant communities. Well that was Helens line, and now Andy And Phil have destroyed that because it won’t just be ethnic Chinese hearing the racist undercurrents it will be every migrant group who don’t blend into the European and Polynesian background hearing it…..

    Well play Andrew, well played Sir…

  1. What now for Andrew Little? | Your NZ

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s