Labour’s ‘race card’ taint remains

In a blog post 3 News political reporter Tova O’Brien sums up Labour’s Chinese Surname Saga.

Opinion: Labour’s risky race card flop

Labour is pissed off. It’s pissed off and it’s pissing people off.

That’s what happens when you play the race card.

The race card is designed to offend. You play it in the hope that there are more people that agree with you than disagree with you.

Yes, Labour have pissed a lot of people off. It has been claimed it was a deliberate and cynical strategy to try and engineer a poll bounce like National got after Brash’s Orewa speech (they jumped 17% two weeks later), but this is much different to Orewa.

After Brash’s speech the left in particular were angry about racism.
After Labour’s Chinese Surname saga the left in particular were angry about racism.

Labour may not have thought that through very well.

In this case Labour decided more people would be riled by the prospect of Chinese offshore buyers snatching Auckland houses from the clutches of New Zealanders, than there would be people angry about Labour’s perceived racism.

So it went ahead and singled out Chinese home buyers, not based on any real facts, but because their surnames sounded Chinese.

3 News did something Labour didn’t. We visited Liu’s and Zhou’s on that list. They were happy, proud new homeowners in Auckland and most we spoke to were New Zealanders or applying to be.

One woman thought it was unfair Labour had judged her based on her surname. Another was concerned – like many New Zealanders – about offshore investors.

Of course our door knocking wasn’t scientific but neither was Labour’s analysis and at least we got a better idea of the people behind the surnames.

Labour have tried to talk up a massive problem (a ‘tsunami’ of Chinese investment) but didn’t back up their claims with any evidence. All evidence I’ve seen so far has suggested Labour’s ‘guesses’ were wrong.

NBR reported recently that of the over half a million rates bills sent out by Auckland only about 5,500 go overseas, and about half of them to Australia.

See also Auckland property sales today and Who’s buying Auckland property?

National has been poor in being slow to act on Auckland property issues, but Labour has acted poorly.

National’s being tricky, trying to have it both ways:

On one hand, it’s not rolling out a comprehensive register because that would mean capitulating on its long-held stance that a register is unnecessary.

On the other, voters want a register so National needs to be able to say it’s doing ‘something’ – albeit a piddly excuse for ‘something’.

Labour could have framed its data like that: the need for a register to clear things up because there’s no real way of knowing.

That would have been a sensible argument that flies.

But Labour didn’t frame it like that. It chose to employ scare tactics and declare as fact that three quarters of Chinese home buyers don’t live in New Zealand.

Bad call.

Now, Labour has to own it.

Labour hasn’t backed down, but they haven’t remained convincing in holding their lines.

So far Andrew Little is holding the line. Phil Twyford – the architect of the release – seems less certain.

He’s not racist so you can bet that being called racist and accused of inciting racism is smarting like all hell.

Little’s not racist either but is still holding out for ‘dem gains’ from the silent majority of non-Chinese sounding Aucklanders furious by Labour’s figures.

I’m not so convinced those gains are coming. And if Labour does get a bump in the polls my guess is it will be small and short-lived.

Long-term Labour needs to ask itself will it have been worth it? Jeopardising all those Chinese New Zealand votes – not to mention anyone else offended by the analysis.

Labour has to own those losses along with any ill-gotten gains.

My feeling is that regardless of any short term poll fluctuations Labour may have caused themselves serious longer term damage. They can’t un-whistle the race card, it’s out there and will linger longer than this month’s property stories..

It’s bee a huge risk for Little to take, either promoted by him or foisted on him by Labour’s strategy team. Little has remained staunch, sort of, but he looks uncomfortable in the role.

Labour can hardly afford to go through another leadership contest. But can they afford to retain Little’s race taint?

Leave a comment

21 Comments

  1. “NBR reported recently that of the over half a million rates bills sent out by Auckland only about 5,500 go overseas, and about half of them to Australia.”

    This is NOT compelling evidence of anything really in terms of ultimate offshore ownership. if I, as an offshore based investor/speculator, buy properties via an NZ based Trust or Company, then the rates notices would go to a NZ address most likely my Lawyer or Trustee Company or other such agent.

    Labour may actually be pointing at a real problem BUT they have gone about it all wrong with blatant blame a straw man and better yet an offshore straw man. It is just race bashing politics which hopefully blows up in Labours face…. I note Nick Smith served it up to Labour in Question time yesterday…

    I will never look at Rob Salmonds analytical work the same every again

    Reply
    • kiwi_guy

       /  24th July 2015

      I agree that the rates based info is BS.

      But the tsunami of Chinese hot money is real, the govt and real estate industry/speculators weasels are covering up.

      The Left has been sabotaged by Social Justice Warriors who peddle Angry Black Lesbian politics and so their reaction is predictable.

      Reply
      • Missy

         /  24th July 2015

        Where is the evidence of the ‘tsunami of Chinese hot money’? Is it the list of ‘Chinese’ sounding surnames? or the number of Asian looking people at auctions?

        that is about as reliable as the number of rates invoices being sent to overseas addresses.

        Reply
  2. rayinnz

     /  24th July 2015

    I wonder if this is some great cunning plan by Matt McCarten
    Matt has a reputation for cunning plans but as far as I can find out is not a racist (except possibly on Israel) but I do wonder if this plan was not thought through
    It is worth remembering that like Hungary he also has the knack of picking losing sides, which sort of negates the “cunning “

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  24th July 2015

      Unfortunately for NZ, Her Majesty’s Opposition here is devoid of brains and knowledge about the real world. Hence they tried a racist flame-up on misleading data. Now they are being barbecued for the fallacies as well as the racism. Toast on both sides.

      Ignorant Lefties expose themselves to the world and caught with their pants down yet again.

      Reply
      • kiwi_guy

         /  24th July 2015

        You are lying, the data is not misleading.

        Reply
        • Missy

           /  24th July 2015

          What data? the number of Chinese sounding surnames? I know for a fact at least two of the people on that list of Chinese sounding surnames were not Chinese in ethnicity, nationality or ancestry.

          Reply
          • kittycatkin

             /  25th July 2015

            And the Singhs, Patels, Kaurs and Wilsons on the list are probably not Chinese, either 😀 None of the people I know who are called that are Chinese, Or if they are, they don’t LOOK Chinese.

            Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  24th July 2015

          I am not lying and you are a fool. All the available evidence shows it is NZ resident Asians buying Auckland property. And you ignore it.

          Reply
          • Howick Boy

             /  27th July 2015

            Why do you think that Auckland Real estate companies advertise in China. Please stop calling people names & just stick to the discussion.

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  27th July 2015

              Because some Chinese want either to emigrate to NZ or send their children here for education. Only a fool calls me a liar when I have produced the evidence on which I base my opinion and he can produce nothing in response. Wealthy parts of Auckland are full of Chinese immigrants. It is no surprise to anyone informed that they are buying houses.

            • FarmerPete

               /  27th July 2015

              They advertise in China for the same reasons as they advertise in the UK, USA and other places!

        • kittycatkin

           /  25th July 2015

          That’s not data, KiwiGuy, it’s nonsense.

          Reply
    • Goldie

       /  24th July 2015

      “Matt has a reputation for cunning plans ”
      Really?

      Reply
    • Mike C

       /  24th July 2015

      Matt McCarten has been pulling the strings within the Labour heirachy and trying to create cunning plans to overthrow the National Government for years now.

      The funniest thing about his bullish behavior is that it usually results in the Labour Party ending up with egg on its face. LOL.

      How on earth McCarten is still in a position of power and control within the Labour Party is beyond me.

      The man should have been gotten rid of years ago by the Labour Party, because he has such an obvious personal agenda.

      Reply
      • nil by mouth

         /  24th July 2015

        Couldn’t agree more….he comes across as a complete bloody id id id id idiot!!

        Reply
      • McCarten aint to good at puling strings lol – just look at the leadership mess that still haunts the party. and not to forget the deep factions in the party. McCarten is the Nats favourite person.

        Reply
  3. I agree that their methods, were not ‘politically correct’ BUT at least they have brought this issue from ‘under the rug’ which is where ‘team Key’ were happy to see it stay !

    I’m not saying that only Chinese foreigners are buying the Akld real estate, BUT they do appear to be at the ‘forefront’ (even the 2 Asian guys on Q+A admitted that).

    ‘teflon John’ reportedly said ‘we risk becoming tenants in our own land’ BUT this Govt. have just ignored it & done nothing since…… 😦

    Reply
    • Missy

       /  24th July 2015

      I agree that overseas buyers is one of the issues, but there are other issues contributing.

      The low interest rates will help in pushing up the house prices as more people get mortgages and demand outstrips supply – basic economics, when demand increases, but supply does not then prices increase, when supply increases and demand does not prices decrease.

      The release of land for building is another issue, restricting supply and again pushing up prices as demand increases due to cheap loans.

      The obsession this country has with the quarter acre section, as the population increases there won’t be enough land for everyone to own a house on a quarter acre section, apartments and townhouses need to be considered as viable alternatives.

      Reply
      • Missy

         /  24th July 2015

        Also, I should have mentioned that overseas buyers has been an issue in the real estate market in Auckland for a good 10-15 years, no Government has done anything to curb overseas money coming in to the market, which makes me think that whilst it is a contributing issue, it may not be the biggest or the most important.

        Reply
    • kittycatkin

       /  25th July 2015

      No wonder you’re called Zedd….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz………………..wake me up when you say something original, credible and that doesn’t show your boring obsession with John Key.

      You’re either jealous of him or secretly in love with him.

      We all know all the cliches that you consider to be madly witty and original, We hear them every time you make a comment about anything, no matter how irrelevant it is to the topic.

      I’ll say it wasn’t politically correct for Labour to do this insane action. It was politically dishonest, politically naive and political stupidity.

      Reply

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