“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

Barfoot and Thompson sack leaker, Twyford ‘disappointed’

Barfoot and Thompson have identified the person who leaked sales data and have sacked them. Not surprisingly it was against company rules.

Stuff: Barfoot & Thompson fires employee who leaked sales data

Peter Thompson: “It’s disappointing that one person could jeopardise the whole company.”

Phil Twyford was disappointed that because of what he did an employee was sacked.

Labour housing spokesman Phil Twyford said it was “extremely disappointing” to see the staff member lose their job over leaked data.

“The whistleblower who I worked with wanted to shine a light on what is a very real issue for New Zealand – foreign investment pushing up house prices and shutting people who live here out of the property market.

“This data provided an important snapshot of what’s going on in the Auckland housing market,” Twyford said.

“I think they did Aucklanders a huge favour, telling Aucklanders, giving them a snapshot of what’s happening in the housing market – information that the government doesn’t trust people with.”

The whistleblower approached Twyford because they wanted the information in the public domain, he said.

It’s highly debatable they could be called a whistleblower.

What did Twyford expect? What planet is he from?

It’s hard to find much information about his pre-political experience.

All Wikipedia says is that he was founding director of Oxfam.

All his Labour bio says is:

With a background in leadership, campaigning and advocacy Phil’s pre-politics career allowed him to hit the ground running when he entered Parliament.

Not much insight there.

He may have hit the ground running but he has been running a  bit too fast lately and risks falling face first on the ground.