The Dim-Post

July 21, 2015

Politics and the real

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 1:23 pm

There’s a section in The Hollow Men in the post-Orewa chapter in which Brash is about to be interviewed by – I think – Kim Hill, and one of his media advisers tells him something to the effect of ‘If she accuses you of racism, get angry.’ And she does, and Brash does exactly that. Today:

Andrew Little has lashed out at TV3’s political editor Patrick Gower, calling him a “desperate journalist”, as he got angry over questions on Labour’s foreign buyer campaign.

Is Little angry because him and his advisers agreed that getting angry was a good strategy to give the story more legs and generate coverage, or is he angry because he’s angry? We’ll never know, but I think probably the former. What else did he think he was going to get asked about today? This is a way to show the leader being tough and standing up for real kiwis, etc.

It could be that the inside-the-bunker atmosphere in Little’s office is so intense they’re convinced themselves that they really are just trying to have a conversation about foreign investment, and that all the accusations of racism are hysteria or bad-faith, and Little’s indignation is genuine. I doubt it though. Journalists like it when they provoke emotional reactions from politicians. It makes them think they’ve gotten through all the artifice and spin and gotten something ‘real’ – so they often go big on these stories, which is precisely why politicians fake these responses.

113 Comments »

  1. This isn’t fake Danyl. This is the “Angry Andy” National have told us so much about.

    Comment by Fraud — July 21, 2015 @ 1:42 pm

  2. Oh God, this blog really is going to turned into a tranpsparent black propaganda outlet for the Shaw-led Green party, isn’t it? Spare us your fake commentary Danyl, and just start re-writing Green PR releases like David Farrar does.

    Comment by Sanctuary — July 21, 2015 @ 1:43 pm

  3. I’m still stuck with this whole “compare it to Orewa”. I don’t see the similarity between a speech that said “we want all NZers to have the same rights, we think that Maori have more rights than other NZers, we’d like to get rid of that” and a speech that said “some NZers appear to buy too many houses, we’d like them to have fewer rights than other NZers”.

    I’m leaving aside here that some people dispute the content of the Orewa speech on the basis that, actually, Maori NZers don’t have more rights than other NZers. And of course, if that were true then there’d be no problem with agreeing that they shouldn’t, because they don’t. But leaving aside the content, the actual intent of the speeches was quite different. One actively advocated equality, the other actively advocates a group of people, based on their heritage and whether their name sounds Chinese, should perhaps have fewer rights.

    Comment by PaulL — July 21, 2015 @ 1:50 pm

  4. a speech that said “some NZers appear to buy too many houses, we’d like them to have fewer rights than other NZers”.

    I thought the point was that some people *aren’t* New Zealanders. Not citizens. Not residents. And some haven’t even been to NZ.

    Which is quite unlike the tangata whenua of this land.

    Comment by Fraud — July 21, 2015 @ 1:54 pm

  5. Of course he’s not fucking angry. With the exception of John Key refusing to be drawn, everything is going to plan with everyone playing exactly the role McCarten intended.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — July 21, 2015 @ 2:01 pm

  6. I am not a Labour supporter or much of a Little fan but having looked at the clip Ithought Little handled the questions reasonable well.
    Considering how flimsy the foundations to the claims Labour is making, that is

    Comment by rayinnz — July 21, 2015 @ 2:05 pm

  7. @PaulL “I don’t see the similarity between a speech…”

    The similarity is that both incidents appear to lend legitimacy and support to the perception that a particular (minority) racial group is advantaged somehow over the majority. And thus, the political intent of both incidents appears to be to identify the relevant political party with voters (presumably not in the problematic minority) who might hold this perception.

    Comment by RJL — July 21, 2015 @ 2:07 pm

  8. I watched the clip and Andrew Little’s reaction to Patrick Gower’s statement, “You knew when you cooked this up…” I can understand his anger. It didn’t seem premeditated or feigned. It didn’t seem like a tactic. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

    Comment by jamesfrancis — July 21, 2015 @ 2:13 pm

  9. Making out that Andrew Little is a racist is like making out that David Shearer is racist. It won’t stick. These two men are good sincere Statesmen who have both put their own political theologies aside from the good of the Labour Party. I’m not saying that the Prime Minister doesn’t have his good points, but I am saying that it’s hard to imagine either Shearer or Little as Prime Ministers with golf clubs in two. NOw, Cunliffe, that’s an entirely different story.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — July 21, 2015 @ 2:18 pm

  10. The liberal outage machine is simply astonishing in how completely out of touch it is. No one is calling this racist except for a group of aging baby boomer liberals and decrepit cross-over early Gen-xers – oh, the irony of being lectured on racism by the most selfish, self-entitled self-out generations of them all! Outside the hermetically sealed liberal echo chambers everyone else has gone straight to the apparent confirmation of a suspicion – that huge amounts of Chinese money is pouring into our Auckland housing market and the government doesn’t give a fuck.

    Now, the loud mouthed online liberals might have chosen to talk about what everyone else is talking about, the apparent massive amounts of money sloushing into Auckland from China. But no. They want to spend their whole time condemning Labour as guilty of their strawman crime of racism. Judge, jury and fucking executioners from the Peoples Republic of Grey Lynn – where they just happen to own their own homes, brought for nothing 25 years ago. Thing is no one is listening to them. No one cares about their guilt assuaging, fell-good campign on behalf of Chinese people. The whole arrogant Public Address/Dimpost urban liberal set are now a echo chamber, long on articulate and smug arrogance but talking to a constituency of zero.

    Yet again the wrong target (racism) has been picked by a group hopelessly out of touch. You know, months can go by and no one give a shit on the liberal blogs about child poverty, or economic inequality, or failing decile one school. Mention race, though, and all the fucking liberals are in on the Labour party with the enthusiasm of an hobnail booted army of articulate thugs.

    Comment by Sanctuary — July 21, 2015 @ 2:19 pm

  11. Making out that Andrew Little is racist is like saying that David Shearer is racist. It’s mainstream media slush that will not work. These two men are good sincere guys who have put their personal theologies aside for the good of the Labour Party. I’m not saying that the Prime Minister doesn’t have his good points, but I am saying that it’s hard to imagine either Shearer or Little as Prime Ministers with golf clubs in tow. Now. Cunliffe, that’s a different story.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — July 21, 2015 @ 2:21 pm

  12. I am waiting for him to condemn all the greedy New Zealanders accepting sums from the Chinese and ignoring “hard-working kiwi family first home buyers….”

    Comment by rjs131 — July 21, 2015 @ 2:29 pm

  13. These two men are good sincere Statesmen who have both put their own political theologies aside from the good of the Labour Party.

    Hilarity!.

    Comment by Gregor W — July 21, 2015 @ 2:35 pm

  14. Outside the hermetically sealed liberal echo chambers everyone else has gone straight to the apparent confirmation of a suspicion

    A thing can both be racist and true.
    I’m not sure what you are in such a hot fuss about, Sanc.

    Comment by Gregor W — July 21, 2015 @ 2:40 pm

  15. I’m not sure what you are in such a hot fuss about, Sanc.

    Even koalas living peacefully on the fringes of bushland have been known to lose their collective rag when the urban dieback they’d come to expect as their birthright fails to eventuate.

    Comment by Joe W — July 21, 2015 @ 3:08 pm

  16. “…I’m not sure what you are in such a hot fuss about, Sanc…”

    What I’ve had a gutsful of is liberal, so-called leftists who mooch around enjoying the fruits of being winners from neo-liberalism and not really giving a shit about economic inequality or poverty who then piously sick the boot in if their delicate identity politics radar detects the slightest hint of PC crime. They don’t actually give a shit about the left. What they give a shit about is themselves. What is important is they look liberal and hip and trendy with all the latest in the milieu. I actually hope this issue means they all fuck off to the Greens, whose activist base will get to feel like Labour party activists when the hipsters start lecturing them about how five minute Johnnies from Grey Lynn really knows what Green values are, not a bunch of tatty activists who have been around since the days of the Save the Manapouri campaign.

    As for your wider statement, I am not so sure I agree that something can be both racist and true. If something is true, it is true. Truth do not allow for race. That is like saying science is white male construct. People who don’t like the truth, or won’t face the truth, may seek distraction in accusations of racism. But really, they are not disputing the truth.

    Comment by Sanctuary — July 21, 2015 @ 3:22 pm

  17. “Journalists like it when they provoke emotional reactions from politicians” – were talking about gower yes?

    i would say theres you reason for little sounding angry right there – its what gower does – 1) invent accusation, 2) hammer person in the gun, 3) invent a conclusion that is only his opinion and ram those words into fore mentioned persons mouth

    kind of surprised a known shit stirrer with media clout isnt in the list of possible reasons – because it IS a factor

    for the record – i dont think their central point is racist or disengenious, but the method, delivery and desired outcome sort of are – labour are trying to pick up dissaffected nat voters and trying to get maximum media time

    Comment by framu — July 21, 2015 @ 3:22 pm

  18. I didn’t see any emotion, they real problem is Little is as convincing as Mr Potatohead as a romantic lead.

    Comment by rsmsingers — July 21, 2015 @ 3:44 pm

  19. No one is calling this racist except for a group of aging baby boomer liberals and decrepit cross-over early Gen-xers

    And, you know, like, actual New Zealanders of Chinese descent.

    Comment by Phil — July 21, 2015 @ 3:53 pm

  20. I think the last option – ‘inside-the-bunker’ is the most likely, you over-rate Labour’s strategic nous, remember to culminate ‘race-bait week’ they announced a discussion document on provisional tax at 7am in Upper Hutt on a Friday at the end of school holidays, that National had already announced three months prior.

    Comment by Mike — July 21, 2015 @ 3:54 pm

  21. If something is true, it is true. Truth do not allow for race. That is like saying science is white male construct.

    For a long time, science was a white male construct and served those ends (Phrenology? Eugenics? Female hysteria?).
    For a period, these were also all truths.

    But I digress.
    Things can most definitely be empirically both racist and true. This current imbroglio is a good example.

    As per PaulL’s comments, the implication of Little’s message is that a subset of foreigners with Chinese sounding names should have fewer property rights because they are, by virtue of being Chinese and having access to Chinese money, distorting the market and keeping ‘hard working Kiwis’ (broadly, political code for white people) out of the market. The first bit is racist and the second part is probably true.

    Comment by Gregor W — July 21, 2015 @ 4:18 pm

  22. Waitakere man smokes, isn’t keen on the Chinese and has a short temper. Not ure what he thinks over eating keruru.

    Comment by NeilM — July 21, 2015 @ 4:32 pm

  23. I don’t really see the argument that it’s not racist. If the analysis was about how “foreign” buyers were driving up prices, and the discussion about how “foreign buyers” might need controls, then that would be arguable. And then that would have been achieved by analysing sales data for “foreign sounding” names – which would be about as dumb as it sounds as I write that.

    Instead, the analysis was about how “Chinese” buyers were driving up prices, and how “Chinese” buyers maybe need controls applied, and the analysis was of “Chinese sounding” names, which is also about as dumb as it sounds, since you’re inferring citizenship from a name, and plenty of NZers or NZ residents have “Chinese sounding” names.

    Comment by PaulL — July 21, 2015 @ 4:51 pm

  24. You are relying on the bullshit reporting from TV3. Watch the (apparently edited) video and you will see Gower was just being a dork.

    Comment by Andrew R — July 21, 2015 @ 5:04 pm

  25. Once again, I find it deliciously ironic that Danyl supported restrictions on non-resident land ownership for years, and argued quite vociferously when people suggested their might be racial connotations to that policy.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — July 21, 2015 @ 5:18 pm

  26. You are relying on the bullshit reporting from TV3. Watch the (apparently edited) video and you will see Gower was just being a dork.

    Of course it’s bullshit. Gower is the definition of bullshit. But that’s the whole point.

    Little/Labour have realized that in medialand, Key the buffoon makes more headlines than Key the policy-maker. And Max Key now makes more headlines than either. It’s idiotic, but that’s what we’ve got.

    Labour are now getting headlines, something they’d never get from yet another sensible speech and earnest press release. Racist! Angry! Outrage! Two minute hate! Beats tax policy on page 25 any day.

    (Whether this new strategy will work long-term is another matter. I don’t think it will, but it’s obviously what they’ve decided on).

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — July 21, 2015 @ 5:36 pm

  27. Imagine firing torpedoes at the very forum you choose to use to voice your opinion, I am sure many readers sit back, analyse what’s being said and withhold comment unless they feel the topic is worthy. National must be pissing themselves with laughter as the opposition in the next election will be a three way split vote. Labours toast.

    Comment by Woz — July 21, 2015 @ 5:41 pm

  28. PaulL wrote: “Instead, the analysis was about how “Chinese” buyers were driving up prices, and how “Chinese” buyers maybe need controls applied, and the analysis was of “Chinese sounding” names, which is also about as dumb as it sounds, since you’re inferring citizenship from a name, and plenty of NZers or NZ residents have “Chinese sounding” names.”

    um, no. Phil Twyford actually subtracted the percentage of the New Zealand population who are of Chinese ethnicity from the percantage of buyers who had Chinese names, to get the number of foreign buyers who have Chinese names (from which you could presumably deduce that the number of foreign buyers was higher than that, because a lot of foreigners (particularly those from Europe) tend not to have Chinese names. This is a ludicrously simplistic and mathematically flawed way of calculating it, though he could presumably justify that by blaming the government for not collecting statistics that could enable him to have done it better. But despite the fact that he excluded New Zealand citizens and residents in a statistically dodgy way, he explicitly did exclude them. So you can’t say that he accused New Zealanders with Chinese surnames of not being New Zealanders (well, you can say that, and the Young Nats did say that, but they were lying).

    Arguably he shouldn’t have released this analysis, because it is likely to lead to a backlash that negatively affcets ethnic Chinese people who do live here. You might even suggest that he knew that when he released it, though cock-up is always more plausible than conspiracy when talking about today;s Labour Party. But that’s still a long way from saying he concluded that people with Chinese-sounding names were automatically not New Zealand residents.

    Comment by Can of Worms, Opened — July 21, 2015 @ 5:47 pm

  29. @Can of Worms: perhaps, and yes he claims to have excluded NZ resident Chinese, although pretty much everyone seems to think the way that was done was statistically dodgy. But that’s really not my point. Why Chinese? Why focus solely on one racial group, and that racial group? Why not look at Korean names?

    The short answers are that Salmond thought that Chinese buyers were the problem, and his analysis is focusing on Chinese buyers, not foreign buyers. They’re absolutely trying to throw to the people who are upset that there are too many Chinese buyers in Auckland driving up house prices.

    More annoying for me than the racism is that they’re ignoring most of the positions that might make sense, such as that foreign people buying housing isn’t actually a problem (they can’t live here without residency, so they’re presumably renting it to NZers or leaving it empty), that if you’re worried about price of housing the solution is supply not restricting demand, that Chinese people overpaying for NZ property is actually good for the economy not bad (particularly when the market goes bad and they have to sell it back to NZers at it’s real, lower price).

    We don’t think the “solution” to high milk prices is to tell people to drink less of it, we think the solution is to make it cheaper, or to increase supply, or any of a zillion other things. But I haven’t seen anyone suggesting that the right answer is that we have a demand side fix to prices in any other market. Supply-side is always where you look, particularly if you’re suspecting a bubble.

    Comment by PaulL — July 21, 2015 @ 6:16 pm

  30. David Parker in the Herald is providing some more informative figures.

    Apparently 1% of the Chinese population is OVER 10 MILLION PEOPLE!!

    It’s just more in a pattern of alarmist rhetoric targeting the Chinese that is harder and harder to write off as idiocy.

    This might have happened under Shane Jones but at least he wouldn’t have had “moi?” plastered all over his face.

    I’m not sure which is I find the most offensive – the repackaging of Little as a union bruiser or the pseudo-intellectual rationalisations of Parker and Twyford.

    Comment by NeilM — July 21, 2015 @ 6:23 pm

  31. What I’ve had a gutsful of is liberal, so-called leftists who mooch around enjoying the fruits of being winners from neo-liberalism and not really giving a shit about economic inequality or poverty who then piously sick the boot in if their delicate identity politics radar detects the slightest hint of PC crime.

    Ah. The echoes of a lost past …

    …. it is brought home to you, at least while you are watching, that it is only because miners sweat their guts out that superior persons can remain superior. You and I and the editor of the Times Litt. Supp., and the Nancy poets and the Archbishop of Canterbury and Comrade X, author of Marxism for Infants – all of us really owe the comparative decency of our lives to poor drudges underground, blackened to the eyes, with their throats full of coal dust, driving their shovels forward with arms and belly muscles of steel. – See more at: http://www.drb.ie/essays/the-romantic-englishman#sthash.YzDVxroG.dpuf

    Comment by tom hunter — July 21, 2015 @ 6:42 pm

  32. It’s notable at Parker feels obliged to defend Labour’s free trade agreement with China.

    If you set China up as the enemy other then that FTA is not going to sit well with the target audience.

    So Parker is on message with – we might have signed but unlike Key we didn’t open the floodgates to 10 million Chinese. 1% – it’s true, don’t blame us, it’s statistics.

    Comment by NeilM — July 21, 2015 @ 7:48 pm

  33. As per PaulL’s comments, the implication of Little’s message is that a subset of foreigners with Chinese sounding names should have fewer property rights because they are, by virtue of being Chinese and having access to Chinese money, distorting the market and keeping ‘hard working Kiwis’ (broadly, political code for white people) out of the market.

    Actually, the implication of Little’s message is that, despite the government’s staunch refusal to collect data, there is evidence that non-resident foreigners are significantly contributing to the Auckland property bubble. Any inference that Chinese people should have fewer property rights is purely yours (and PaulL’s).

    Comment by Psycho Milt — July 21, 2015 @ 8:05 pm

  34. “What I’ve had a gutsful of is liberal, so-called leftists who mooch around enjoying the fruits of being winners from neo-liberalism and not really giving a shit about economic inequality or poverty who then piously sick the boot in if their delicate “

    Anit that the fucking truth.

    In China main cities a good apartment goes for around 80 times the average wage of that city. That means a narrow sector of Chinese society are benefiting from the Chinese economic boom at the expense of the industrial workers (though narrow in China of 1.3 billion people is still a large number). If all value in an economy is derived from Labour (as the genuine left maintain) then the money pouring from China into Auckland housing is off the backs of hundreds of millions living in permanent criminal inequality for the benefit of a narrow elite.

    The very nature of the money arriving from China should be of concern to the left. But they of course are a fucking clueless joke.

    Comment by Simon — July 21, 2015 @ 8:25 pm

  35. For God’s sake that was no fake. He was prepared for flak from JK sycophant, Gower for sure, but he had no way of knowing Gower would sink to that level. The look on Little’s face and in his eyes said it all. He was angry. Gower’s claims were defamatory and Little and Labour should demand an apology. If it isn’t forthcoming take legal action against the creep.

    Comment by Anne — July 21, 2015 @ 9:08 pm

  36. Btw, i’m talking about the original video. This one: http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/video-andrew-little-snaps-over-chinese-buyer-data-questions-2015072112#disqus_thread

    I haven’t seen it, but I gather the one on the TV3 news was a watered down version.

    Comment by Anne — July 21, 2015 @ 9:16 pm

  37. Well done Danyl!
    You are to the greens what Farrar is to the nats.
    Real emotions, like caring, can involve anger. If you do not like anger you are probably in the wrong job.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — July 21, 2015 @ 9:41 pm

  38. If you’re going to say Little is racist, you are effectively saying Rob Salmond, Phil Twyford and David Parker and probably other Labour MPs are also racist.

    I suggest you read Brisn Easton’s latest column.

    (“When I first studied poverty in New Zealand – some forty years ago – I was able to show that Maori were more likely to be poor than non-Maori, and I brought together other features of their lives, such as poor outcomes in education, health, housing and unemployment which seemed associated. I was trying to use the Maori data base to help understand poverty more generally; As far as I know, nobody said I was racist.”)

    http://www.pundit.co.nz/content/bubble-bubble-boil-and-auckland-housing-trouble

    Comment by Ross — July 21, 2015 @ 10:06 pm

  39. Sanctuary thinks ‘everyone’ gives a shit about Auckland property prices and that people talking about racism are in the echo chamber. It’s great.

    Comment by xy — July 21, 2015 @ 10:30 pm

  40. @Ross: strictly speaking, according to a bad web definition I found in Google, racist would be “Racism is the belief that a particular race is superior or inferior to another, that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics.” On that basis most of what people on the web get excited about isn’t racism, including the infamous Orewa speech, in which Brash said that all NZers should be equal.

    In common usage in internet outrage chambers, racism appears to mean separating or dividing people based on their race, or treating people differently based on their race. That is definitely something Salmond did – he went and analysed sales data for people with “Chinese sounding” names, and the effect of that was to make NZers with Chinese heritage feel like they were being told they weren’t welcome.

    Comment by PaulL — July 22, 2015 @ 8:02 am

  41. @xy: Sanctuary has an insight into the views and thoughts of all right thinking New Zealanders that none of the rest of us can match. He’s earned the right to speak for 4 million people. I think he took a special class or something.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — July 22, 2015 @ 9:05 am

  42. (“When I first studied poverty in New Zealand – some forty years ago – I was able to show that Maori were more likely to be poor than non-Maori, and I brought together other features of their lives, such as poor outcomes in education, health, housing and unemployment which seemed associated. I was trying to use the Maori data base to help understand poverty more generally; As far as I know, nobody said I was racist.”)

    Maori make up 8% of Aucklanders. They make up 3% of house buyers.

    Pasifika make up 16% of Aucklanders. They make up 2% of house buyers.

    This debate is impacting on non-white NZrs, but not in the way that Aro Valley liberals advocating on behalf of rich offshore Chinese think it is.

    Comment by Fraud — July 22, 2015 @ 9:40 am

  43. The other thing that surprises me is how absolutely clueless many intelligent and numerate commentators are.

    When you have a market in which supply is essentially fixed (as housing is), then a small increase or decrease in demand will have disproportionate impacts on price.

    A 5% increase in buyers (who have access to cheaper credit markets by virtue of being from China) will see a much greater than 5% increase in prices. This is basic economics. Back to school for some, I think.

    Comment by Fraud — July 22, 2015 @ 9:47 am

  44. Karlvarnsen: It’s amazing he had time to study given how busy he is sipping champagne on yachts in the viaduct and shooting cats on his lifestyle block. You know, a real champion of the working class.

    Comment by @simonpnz — July 22, 2015 @ 10:04 am

  45. @Fraud: When you have a market in which supply is essentially fixed (as housing is [in Auckland – thanks Len]), then a small increase or decrease in demand will have disproportionate impacts on price.

    Only in Auckland.

    We’ve had years of high demand and it takes much less than that to build a house. Home supply is not fixed, what surprises me is how absolutely clueless many intelligent and numerate commentators are.

    We are having a property boom, we should be having a building boom. Those 24% of Aucklanders who can only afford a mere 5% of the housing should be having an earning boom as building firms compete for their labour.

    Unfortunately we are having a housing crisis, because the council’s habitually saying no to everything. The council politicians need convenient scapegoats to blame for their incompetence and here we are today.

    Comment by unaha-closp — July 22, 2015 @ 10:07 am

  46. I didn’t have time to watch the TV3 clip until this morning and I am astonished that anyone would think Andrew Little was anything but genuinely angry by Gower’s stupid and deliberately provocative questions. I can only imagine you have read the reports rather than watch the clip, Danyl. Personally, I would have been a lot angrier. I note also the clips have been selectively edited.

    I say this as someone who is appalled at Labour using this data in this way. I think it was a huge mistake by Labour, and I am very disappointed that they haven’t acknowledged the harm it has done to the Chinese community. But Andrew Little adopting faux rage in order to extend the story? Not at all. In fact, I suspect he just wants it to go away.

    Comment by Karen — July 22, 2015 @ 10:09 am

  47. Closp the right are just as much to blame – the councillors from the blue rinse suburbs were resolutely against intensification in their areas, and wanted to keep housing to new housing to Kumeu and Orewa. The Grey Lynn liberals conspired with them to keep their neighbourhoods as they were in 1990, and there you have it.

    Most Aucklanders don’t want to spend two to three hours of their day in a car, and so the prices in the inner burbs (where supply is fixed) have skyrocketed.

    Meanwhile, almost all construction is done by small outfits which take several years to respond to demand, and to train and get a builder up to speed takes years. The materials industry is monopolistic, and the consenting process (a mixture of Goverment failure) favours stand-alone houses on green fields, which in turn favours the construction of $600,000+ four bedroom houses and means there is nothing at the bottom end of the market to bring prices down.

    Plenty of blame to share. Every other city in the country is just as bad, they just don’t have sufficient demand to highlight their inadequacies.

    Comment by Fraud — July 22, 2015 @ 10:19 am

  48. Actually, the implication of Little’s message is that, despite the government’s staunch refusal to collect data, there is evidence that non-resident foreigners are significantly contributing to the Auckland property bubble.

    Really, PM? I didn’t notice Little et al. banging on about all the Smiths and Joneses as from the US, Canada, Australia and the UK buying property.
    I guess the obvious inference is that white non-residents aren’t interested in housing in NZ. Capital must operate differently in the Orient I guess.

    Comment by Gregor W — July 22, 2015 @ 11:27 am

  49. I guess the obvious inference is that white non-residents aren’t interested in housing in NZ.

    Yes, that’s true.

    Capital must operate differently in the Orient I guess.

    Yes, it does.

    Comment by Fraud — July 22, 2015 @ 11:33 am

  50. Capital must operate differently in the Orient I guess.

    To be fair, it kind of does. There is a huge sum of money currently leaving China that is looking for investment opportunities in nations with stable/secure government institutions and processes. The relative size of those capital flows is larger than anything we’ve seen in quite some time.

    New Zealand is perceived as a stable, trustworthy, nation that has favorable capital regulations and tax structures. It’s only logical that some of that money will land here.

    Comment by Phil — July 22, 2015 @ 11:42 am

  51. It’s only logical that some of that money will land here.

    Racist logic.

    Comment by Fraud — July 22, 2015 @ 11:59 am

  52. 47.Closp the right are just as much to blame…

    The left holds power of majority on Auckland council and the all important mayoralty is held by the left. Auckland Super City (as designed by renowned ballroom fandango R. Hide) concentrates power in the hands of the mayor. The right might indeed by utterly useless (see R. Hide), but they are blameless by way of not being in charge.

    …favours stand-alone houses on green fields, which in turn favours the construction of $600,000+ four bedroom houses and means there is nothing at the bottom end of the market to bring prices down.

    If many new attractive $600,000 plus houses get built (Whitford, Paerata, & Waitakare), then the price of currently $600,000 plus older slightly rundown houses falls (Botany, Browns Bay, Blockhouse). This puts downward pressure on all the pokey, unattractive, even older houses in Auckland.

    Additionally building provides well paid employment to young people.

    Every other city in the country is just as bad, they just don’t have sufficient demand to highlight their inadequacies.

    Pokeno is foggy, cold, damp hole, southward facing, backing on to a swamp. Thousands of houses are being built there.

    Comment by unaha-closp — July 22, 2015 @ 12:33 pm

  53. No, not at all.

    Observing that…
    1) Chinese investors are placing their money in other countries, and New Zealand is a recipient of some of that money, and
    2) our central and local government policy settings around things like taxation and land usage have led to a substantial demand-supply imbalance in the residential property market

    …we can conclude foreign investment (from China and elsewhere) is probably a factor (among MANY factors) in explaining why Auckland house prices are increasing rapidly.

    However, Labour didn’t make that case, at all. They said “People with Chinese sounding names are foreigners and they’re buying all your houses”. This is not a conclusion that can be legitimately made from the data Twyford & co. analysed.

    Comment by Phil — July 22, 2015 @ 12:33 pm

  54. They said “People with Chinese sounding names are foreigners and they’re buying all your houses”.

    Pretty sure Keith Ng actually said that.

    Comment by Fraud — July 22, 2015 @ 12:47 pm

  55. The left holds power of majority on Auckland council and the all important mayoralty is held by the left. Auckland Super City (as designed by renowned ballroom fandango R. Hide) concentrates power in the hands of the mayor. The right might indeed by utterly useless (see R. Hide), but they are blameless by way of not being in charge.

    That’s not how the Auckland Plan process works.

    If many new attractive $600,000 plus houses get built (Whitford, Paerata, & Waitakare), then the price of currently $600,000 plus older slightly rundown houses falls (Botany, Browns Bay, Blockhouse). This puts downward pressure on all the pokey, unattractive, even older houses in Auckland.

    That’s not how an inflated housing market works.

    Pokeno is foggy, cold, damp hole, southward facing, backing on to a swamp. Thousands of houses are being built there.

    Good for them. Aucklanders who don’t want to spend three hours per day commuting and 10 hours per day catching pneumonia will still try to buy houses in Mt Albert.

    Comment by Fraud — July 22, 2015 @ 12:55 pm

  56. They said “People with Chinese sounding names are foreigners and they’re buying all your houses”.

    Pretty sure Keith Ng actually said that.

    That’s the thing with reading comprehension – I can read what Labour said and process it to understand the meaning, within the context and environment it was presented.

    Or, to put it another way;
    Old Disney cartoons are shockingly racist. As viewers, we’re able to identify that racism without needing a voice-over from Walt saying “look at this nasty, evil, Jew with his big ugly nose and lust for money” to understand that racism.

    Comment by Phil — July 22, 2015 @ 1:46 pm

  57. Edit – sentence should have ended after … money”.

    Comment by Phil — July 22, 2015 @ 1:47 pm

  58. the effect of that was to make NZers with Chinese heritage feel like they were being told they weren’t welcome [here].

    Well, as I have said previously, if you criticise Israel there is a good chance you will be labelled anti-Semitic. For some, the truth hurts.

    Comment by Ross — July 22, 2015 @ 1:52 pm

  59. That’s the thing with reading comprehension – I can read what Labour said and process it to understand the meaning, within the context and environment it was presented.

    Reading comprehension doesn’t involve putting words into people’s mouth. Somehow, Labour’s claim of “the issue is very unlikely to be Chinese who live here” became “the issue is Chinese who live here”. I don’t know how that happened, but once that claim about intent and meaning existed it was gospel.

    Unless you actually think that Phil Twyford wants to start a race-war against Chinese.

    Comment by Fraud — July 22, 2015 @ 1:56 pm

  60. Phil – I realise that there is a lot of money sloshing around in China. I meant more from a philosophy of capital point of view, in that it will flow to wherever there are safe havens / easy returns. Money after all, isn’t racist.

    Comment by Gregor W — July 22, 2015 @ 2:44 pm

  61. That’s not how the Auckland Plan process works.

    Auckland is governed by a divided council that struggles to pass a budget – that is how the Auckland plan process delivers. Rodney Hide designed an Auckland Plan process to be conciliatory and consultative, but Rodney Hide was a fool and anyone who believes him is a greater fool.

    That’s not how an inflated housing market works.

    Finally we agree on something.

    Building plentiful new homes that are better will decrease the value of older inferior housing in a functioning housing market.

    If you need an example of how an inflated housing market works, look out the window.

    Comment by unaha-closp — July 22, 2015 @ 2:44 pm

  62. Fraud,

    Somehow, Labour’s claim of “the issue is very unlikely to be Chinese who live here” became “the issue is Chinese who live here”. I don’t know how that happened,

    Labour opened themselves up to ‘the issue is Chinese people, fullstop” when they presented the world with terrible data analysis that did not have any relevant evidence to support their position of a “tsunami of Chinese investment” coming into the country.

    Unless you actually think that Phil Twyford wants to start a race-war against Chinese.

    That’s just absurd.

    Comment by Phil — July 22, 2015 @ 3:40 pm

  63. Really, PM? I didn’t notice Little et al. banging on about all the Smiths and Joneses as from the US, Canada, Australia and the UK buying property.

    It would have been foolish of them to do so, given that they had zero data on which to base such banging on. And no way of getting data on it (picture the quality of result you’d get repeating that exercise with “English” names). For which the government is to blame, not Labour.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — July 22, 2015 @ 3:55 pm

  64. “No one is calling this racist except for a group of aging baby boomer liberals and decrepit cross-over early Gen-xers”

    Well, I and quite a few of my friends are calling this racist, and we’re all late Gen-Xers and early Gen-Yers – including several people who live in Auckland and can’t afford to buy a house. So there goes that part of your argument.

    For what it’s worth, preventing people who aren’t residents or citizens from buying existing homes seems like a reasonable thing to do – I don’t know how much it would actually affect the housing market, but it might help and it wouldn’t be racist. What’s racist is focussing exclusively on people with Chinese names, regardless of whether they’ve overseas or 10th generation NZers or what. So what Labour has done is contaminate a legitimate issue with bigotry and allowed the right to claim the moral high ground.

    *awaits barrage of ad-hominem abuse and incoherent ranting from Sanctuary*

    Comment by helenalex — July 22, 2015 @ 3:59 pm

  65. Virtues and vices aside, I’d rather have a leader who calls a spade a fucking shovel, than a leader who tries to Stepford smile his way out of trouble.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — July 22, 2015 @ 5:10 pm

  66. spade

    Racist!!!

    Comment by Phil — July 22, 2015 @ 5:25 pm

  67. Wow, finally looked at the clip and was shocked to discover the loss of temper was the equivalent of a mildly exasperated teacher confronted with the leading candidate for the dumbest and most irritating year 10 student of the week. That’s not anger and certainly not something the mythical Waitakere Man would regard as anger. As a signal it is something only the most sensitive dogs would pick up. If he was acting on Matt McCarten’s instructions he would surely have done it properly. But if it was premeditated then he’s a bloody unconvincing actor or ashamed to be doing what he is doing and can’t quite bring himself to play the part.

    Comment by Tinakori — July 22, 2015 @ 5:45 pm

  68. @ Fraud #47: “Meanwhile, almost all construction is done by small outfits which take several years to respond to demand, and to train and get a builder up to speed takes years. The materials industry is monopolistic, and the consenting process (a mixture of Goverment failure) favours stand-alone houses on green fields, which in turn favours the construction of $600,000+ four bedroom houses and means there is nothing at the bottom end of the market to bring prices down.”

    So very true. We are aware of German people who built a house here; they imported a container load of window hardware from Germany, which was, despite shipping costs etc, still much cheaper than buying them here. Plus, they could get the type they wanted; no chance of that here, unless they went for bespoke. And you can imagine how much that would cost… The link below is worth a listen: among the interviewees is Oliver Hartwich, director of the New Zealand Initiative. He observes that, in Germany, the price of houses has changed scarcely at all in 40-odd years; one can buy a house there now for much the same price as in the 1970s. That sort of price stability means the nation’s wealth goes into different aspects of the economy. This is no doubt why Germany is so wealthy; and house price stability may help explain why building materials there are so much cheaper than here. And other countries… It’s a culture thing in Germany; people expect to rent long term, and the market reflects that. In any event, the RNZ link is well worth a listen.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/insight/audio/201761887/insight-for-12-july-2015-future-financial-stability

    @ Fraud 59: “Reading comprehension doesn’t involve putting words into people’s mouth. Somehow, Labour’s claim of “the issue is very unlikely to be Chinese who live here” became “the issue is Chinese who live here”. I don’t know how that happened, but once that claim about intent and meaning existed it was gospel.”

    Quite so! That really was a very pompous comment on Phil’s part, wasn’t it. There’s been a helluva lot of putting words into people’s mouths as this story’s run; mostly to do with making the facts conform to commenters’ biases, it seems.

    “Andrew Little has lashed out at TV3’s political editor Patrick Gower….”

    Well, no surprises there. Anybody would, having a mic shoved up their nose and being asked damfool questions by that Gower fellow, who always looks as if someone’s put a very dead rat under his nose.

    @ Unaha-Closp 60: “Building plentiful new homes that are better will decrease the value of older inferior housing in a functioning housing market.”

    Brian Easton doesn’t agree with you; see the Pundit link posted above. He thinks the Auckland market is a bubble, and attempting supply-side stuff won’t be effective.

    I’ve noticed that much of the commentary centres on the effects of Twyford’s revelations on trade with China. So: just instrumental reasons for objecting, then….

    Comment by D'Esterre — July 23, 2015 @ 12:24 am

  69. unaha-closp: when the Unitary Plan proposed relaxing height limits in certain areas, blue-rinsers like Denise Krum suddenly became more statist than any red-green type could ever get. It likely indicates bare-faced snobbery, vested interests in the Auckland housing bubble, or both.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — July 23, 2015 @ 12:53 am

  70. what Labour has done is contaminate a legitimate issue with bigotry and allowed the right to claim the moral high ground.

    Contaminate? Interesting choice of words. Those throwing around the racist label are alas unable to show any evidence how releasing figures around home-ownership is racist. As a Brian Easton says, nobody ever accused him of being racist when he studied poverty among Maori. Of course he wasn’t working for the Labour Party….

    Comment by Ross — July 23, 2015 @ 8:31 am

  71. There has been an awful lot of discussion about Kereru recently and how some Maori apparently like to eat the bird, even though it is illegal. Strangely, nobody has accused the media of being racist on this issue. Where’s the faux outrage?

    Comment by Ross — July 23, 2015 @ 8:35 am

  72. Brian Easton doesn’t agree with you; see the Pundit link posted above. He thinks the Auckland market is a bubble, and attempting supply-side stuff won’t be effective.

    And at the end of the boom Brian Easton’s desired outcome is what? A sh#tload of debt and really high rental costs.

    We need to take advantage of the demand side “bubble” to enhance supply, that way at the end of all this the rent will be lower and less families will be living 3 to a house in Manurewa.

    Comment by unaha-closp — July 23, 2015 @ 9:03 am

  73. Strangely, nobody has accused the media of being racist on this issue. Where’s the faux outrage?

    Probably because it’s not being reported as ‘Maori are eating hard working New Zealander’s Kereru. We’ve got the stats that prove it. Look at all these Maori names here from DOCs records that show Maori people are disproportionately receiving dead Kereru.’

    Comment by Gregor W — July 23, 2015 @ 9:26 am

  74. @64 – spades and shovels, f***ing or otherwise, are quite different things and any leader who doesn’t know this knows nothing about either implement.

    Comment by MeToo — July 23, 2015 @ 11:09 am

  75. Probably because it’s not being reported as ‘Maori are eating hard working New Zealander’s Kereru. We’ve got the stats that prove it.

    “Every year, between March and May, Department of Conservation rangers wage a quiet war below the radar against mostly Maori poachers who shoot kereru for food or cultural reasons and believe they have a customary right to do so.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/3546577/Hunting-row-Keruru-in-Kiwis-sights-too

    I must have missed the cries of racism following publication of this piece.

    Comment by Ross — July 23, 2015 @ 12:05 pm

  76. Ross – if you read that sentence as equivalent to a politician saying “Maori are eating hard working New Zealander’s Kereru. We’ve got the stats that prove it.”, I have nothing to tell you.

    Comment by Gregor W — July 23, 2015 @ 1:09 pm

  77. @Ross: This is the Green position – that Labour’s policy isn’t racist, but their analysis is racist. But there’s another totally non-racist analysis that nonetheless leads to the same policy.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — July 23, 2015 @ 4:49 pm

  78. a politician saying “Maori are eating hard working New Zealander’s Kereru. We’ve got the stats that prove it.”

    Which politician has said that? None that I’m aware of.

    Comment by Ross — July 24, 2015 @ 7:45 am

  79. Which politician has said that? None that I’m aware of.

    From The Herald:

    “But Mr Twyford said the data strongly suggested overseas Chinese buyers were having a major impact on Auckland’s overheated property market and proved New Zealand was out of step internationally with Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore, all of which had restrictions on foreign buyers.

    “Speculators, both foreign and domestic, account for 41 per cent of all property sales in Auckland and are undoubtedly driving up house prices beyond the reach of hard-working Kiwi first home buyers.”

    He said Labour had considered the possibility that Chinese residents were richer than most Aucklanders and were buying property out of proportion to their numbers but Statistics NZ data suggested the opposite. Only 5 per cent of Aucklanders earning more than $50,000 (the top income bracket) were Chinese. That suggested many of the buyers were not New Zealand citizens, but investors based in mainland China.”

    Comment by Gregor W — July 24, 2015 @ 12:33 pm

  80. Speculators, both foreign and domestic, account for 41 per cent of all property sales in Auckland

    I hadn’t noticed this until now; Twyford is also saying that anyone who purchases a second property is a ‘speculator’, with all the obvious dog whistling baggage that term entails.

    Comment by Phil — July 24, 2015 @ 1:04 pm

  81. So, Gregor, Twyford didn’t say, and has never said, “We’ve got the stats to prove it”. Moreover, he referred to “both foreign and domestic” speculators. No mention of the Chinese bogeyman and clearly quite different from what you and others claim Labour has said.

    Comment by Ross — July 24, 2015 @ 1:39 pm

  82. It’s worth noting that the situation in Auckland is not unique to NZ.

    “In a 45-minute conference call on the topic of Vancouver housing, [senior economist Robin] Wiebe advanced a not-unfamiliar theory, that housing prices here are tied inextricably to purchase activity by foreign buyers.

    Wiebe researched the offshore influence on Vancouver’s housing market between 1991 and 2013, finding “periods of faster growth in China coincide with growth in Vancouver’s house prices.”

    Further, the volume of house sales and housing starts were also found to have a statistically significant relationship to GDP growth in China.

    Wiebe’s research corroborates that of University of B.C. geography professor David Ley, author of the 2010 book Millionaire Migrants, which contained research demonstrating an exceptional correlation, from 1977-2002, between international immigration to Vancouver and the city’s property prices.

    Ley also found domestic variables, such as interest rates, employment, provincial migration and rental vacancy rates were not similarly influential.”

    http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Barbara+Yaffe+Vancouver+housing+prices+tied+China+economic+growth+with+video/10399964/story.html

    Comment by Ross — July 24, 2015 @ 1:47 pm

  83. Wow…Ross, c’mon.

    “But Mr Twyford said the data strongly suggested overseas Chinese buyers were having a major impact on Auckland’s overheated property market”

    “Speculators, both foreign and domestic, account for 41 per cent of all property sales in Auckland and are undoubtedly driving up house prices beyond the reach of hard-working Kiwi first home buyers.”

    “Only 5 per cent of Aucklanders earning more than $50,000 (the top income bracket) were Chinese. That suggested many of the buyers were not New Zealand citizens, but investors based in mainland China.”

    What do I need to do, paint you a picture?

    Comment by Gregor W — July 24, 2015 @ 1:53 pm

  84. @ Gregor W: “But Mr Twyford said the data strongly suggested overseas Chinese buyers were having a major impact on Auckland’s overheated property market and proved New Zealand was out of step internationally with Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore, all of which had restrictions on foreign buyers.

    “Speculators, both foreign and domestic, account for 41 per cent of all property sales in Auckland and are undoubtedly driving up house prices beyond the reach of hard-working Kiwi first home buyers.”

    He said Labour had considered the possibility that Chinese residents were richer than most Aucklanders and were buying property out of proportion to their numbers but Statistics NZ data suggested the opposite. Only 5 per cent of Aucklanders earning more than $50,000 (the top income bracket) were Chinese. That suggested many of the buyers were not New Zealand citizens, but investors based in mainland China.”

    So: what is it exactly that is racist about this statement?

    Do you know what racism is?

    Comment by D'Esterre — July 24, 2015 @ 2:10 pm

  85. @ Unaha-Closp: “We need to take advantage of the demand side “bubble” to enhance supply, that way at the end of all this the rent will be lower and less families will be living 3 to a house in Manurewa.”

    Easton’s an economist, and this stuff”s his bread and butter. He says the demand side needs to be dealt with; building more houses is supply-side and won’t be effective. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but there you have it. Go argue the toss with him if you like; I defer to his expertise.

    Comment by D'Esterre — July 24, 2015 @ 2:16 pm

  86. Gregor,

    I am not sure what your problem is regarding what Twyford has said. The data “strongly suggested” (not proved!) that Chinese buyers were influencing the Auckland property market. It’s very similar commentary to what is coming out of Vancouver (see above). Maybe Canadian real estate commentators are racist, but I strongly suspect another explanation – they are simply drawing the same conclusions as some here based on the information available.

    Comment by Ross — July 24, 2015 @ 2:32 pm

  87. In fact, it seems some Canadian real estate commentators have been labelled racist, but according to one ethnic Chinese immigrant to Canada, that’s bollocks.

    http://www.scmp.com/comment/blogs/article/1525043/vancouver-real-estate-cheerleader-crying-racist-dont-bother-kow-towing

    And what Labour did re property data of mainland Chinese names had already been done in Canada, in 2011.

    http://store.landcor.com/market/reports/Q1_2011_Residential_Sales_Summary_Final.pdf

    Comment by Ross — July 24, 2015 @ 3:01 pm

  88. Do you know what racism is?

    Yep.

    Racism in this instance – as has been pointed out numerous times – is using the term “Chinese” to whip up public sentiment and pointing out a bunch of Chinese names when cribbing stats, rather than saying “non-residents”.
    As Sammy 2.0 pointed out above, politicians rarely say overtly racist things but their target audience knows what they mean.

    I am not sure what your problem is regarding what Twyford has said

    Ross – proved vs. “strongly suggested” is dancing on the head of a pin in terms of public perception. Otherwise, why would Labour have produced a snazzy infographic labouring the point (excuse the pun) and having Twyford point out that they’d looked at alternate possibilities but then concluded what they had? Basically, if he’d said “proven” he would have been smashed, simply because no actual stats exist. Therefore it’s an inference based on incomplete data. But Twyford didn’t say that.

    You’ll also note in the Canadian piece two significant differences.

    Firstly, Wiebe is not a politician, she’s an academic. So she gets a pass because presumably (i) her comments are based on some kind of actual statistical analysis and (ii) she seeks no benefit from soft race-baiting.

    Secondly, the article couches their statements in statistical terms: “coincide with”… “statistically significant”…”exceptional correlation”.
    While Twyford does use “data strongly suggested” (notwithstanding the accuracy of that statement) he follows it up with definitive statements like “undoubtedly driving up house prices beyond the reach of hard-working Kiwi first home buyers”.

    Comment by Gregor W — July 24, 2015 @ 3:02 pm

  89. Too quick on the submit button.

    So I return to a previous point that something can be racist and true.
    Twyford and the NZLP may be dead on the money. In fact they probably are. But it doesn’t change the fact that the delivery was an obvious race-bait.

    Comment by Gregor W — July 24, 2015 @ 3:07 pm

  90. All I know is my Chinese Canadian friend Donna can’t buy a house in Vancouver with her immigrant husband Tom.

    Tired of all the hyperventilation. You know who struggles to buy housing? Poor immigrants. Those standing up for Shanghai-based millionaires are hurting Auckland-based Samoans and Pakistanis.

    Comment by Sneeze — July 24, 2015 @ 3:28 pm

  91. Kelvin Davis has just given Little and Twyford a crash course on how to be an opposition.

    I’m little skeptical of some the prison rumours but Serco does appear to deserve closer scrutiny and perhaps to lose their contract.

    It’s the sort of political attack that makes democracy work – it’s focused on a genuine issue that might not have a lot of traction with focus groups but results (unless it winds up all being embellished prison yarns) in uncovering an injustice.

    It might not win Labour votes but Davis might get some respect.

    Comment by NeilM — July 24, 2015 @ 7:37 pm

  92. I’m not a fan of Serco and where the State has to deprive people of liberty then I think direct control by the State should be the default position.

    But I’m not against the State contracting out to the private sector. It already happens now and works mostly. Counselling services are contracted out to NGOs. It’s not like mental health is completely run by the State. I don’t see any reason why prison rehab services couldn’t be run by the private sector.

    The private sector has its down sides but do does the public sector. They both require oversight but the number of people who can provide good oversight is limited and neither sector has a monopoly.

    Comment by NeilM — July 24, 2015 @ 8:53 pm

  93. @ Gregor W: “Racism in this instance – as has been pointed out numerous times – is using the term “Chinese” to whip up public sentiment and pointing out a bunch of Chinese names when cribbing stats, rather than saying “non-residents”.
    As Sammy 2.0 pointed out above, politicians rarely say overtly racist things but their target audience knows what they mean.”

    Thought as much: you don’t know what racism is. Where racism is concerned, there is no “in this instance”. Racism is the belief that another ethnic group or groups are inferior, along with all the systems of government that spring from that belief. The term got traction after WW2, as a consequence of the horrors perpetrated on European Jews and gypsies by the German regime. The definition you’re relying on strays into what Lee Churchman over on Pundit refers to as “Humpty Dumpty” thinking: the word means what I say it means, neither more nor less.

    Phil Twyford didn’t do what you describe above; no amount of assertion to the contrary by you and others will make it so.

    In my longish experience of the NZ political circus, I’ve never heard any politician say racist things, or make racist implications. I’ve heard plenty of prejudice, and occasionally, xenophobia, but that stuff isn’t racism.

    No polity can legislate against what people think, and I don’t doubt that there are people in the dark corners of our society who think of other ethnic groups as being inferior intellectually and in other ways. But they don’t have any influence on the political process, for all that they might wish to.

    The Auckland housing market is a bubble; Twyford’s information suggests that there is substance to what home-buyers there report: offshore Chinese buyers are disproportionately active in the market, and driving up prices. Kathryn Ryan on RNZ recently interviewed a Chinese real estate agent who guilelessly admitted as much. You can listen to the interview if you want.

    There is a problem, and we need to debate that problem. Accusing other people of racism just shuts that debate down, as we’ve seen. And that’s to nobody’s advantage, including Chinese residents.

    Comment by D'Esterre — July 25, 2015 @ 10:04 am

  94. Firstly, Wiebe is not a politician, she’s an academic.

    So, an academic produces figures and apparently cannot be racist, but if a politician produces the same figures, they are racist? That pin head must be large! (Your argument isn’t even internally consistent as Twyford didn’t produce the figures.)

    Comment by Ross — July 26, 2015 @ 8:35 am

  95. Accusing other people of racism just shuts that debate down

    It certainly does, and raises the question of the motivation of those merrily throwing around that moniker. A recent article in the DomPost claimed there was no evidence that alcohol causes cancer. At the very end of the article it was revealed that the writer holds a senior position in the liquor industry.

    Comment by Ross — July 26, 2015 @ 8:41 am

  96. At the very end of the article it was revealed that the writer holds a senior position in the liquor industry.

    A fact which doesn’t alter the accuracy of his rebuttal of the “alcohol causes cancer” scam being peddled by academic activists. If peer review counted for anything in the field of public health, that claim would have been career-ending for the participants.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — July 26, 2015 @ 12:00 pm

  97. “alcohol causes cancer” scam being peddled by academic activists.

    Whoa, steady on Psycho. There is very strong and well established evidence of alcohol being a risk factor for a number of cancers, with most of the risk associated with excessive drinking. These are not claims from “public health”, as you so disparage, but from the reviewed medical literature – which is robust.

    Comment by Sneeze — July 26, 2015 @ 5:13 pm

  98. At work this morning there was a conversation about property. Present were a range of ethnicities including Chinese.

    I found myself having to argue along the lines of – not everyone holds Labour’s view.

    I have never before been quite do embarrassed about NZ politics.

    Comment by NeilM — July 26, 2015 @ 7:18 pm

  99. you should get out more Neil.

    Comment by Lee Clark — July 26, 2015 @ 7:30 pm

  100. I found myself having to argue along the lines of – not everyone holds Labour’s view.

    Do enlighten us as to what hideous replica (with thanks to Mark E. Smith) you were presenting as “Labour’s view” in this conversation.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — July 26, 2015 @ 8:57 pm

  101. @ NeilM: “I found myself having to argue along the lines of – not everyone holds Labour’s view.”

    In the last few days, I got into a similar conversation with a group of people. I did what it sounds as if you should have done: I corrected their distorted view of Twyford’s information, a view they’d acquired from watching too much TV. I didn’t apologise to them for my sharing Labour’s concerns about what’s happening in Auckland in particular. And I pointed out to them that it isn’t in any way racist to confront the issue head-on, even if the offshore buyers/speculators are disproportionately Chinese. There is nothing at all to be embarrassed about.

    @ Ross: “Well, as I have said previously, if you criticise Israel there is a good chance you will be labelled anti-Semitic. For some, the truth hurts.”

    Yes indeed. In the past, I’ve been accused of anti-Semitism for critique of Israel; and this from people who aren’t themselves Jewish. It’s an illustration of how successfully that meme has been inculcated, even among non-Jews. And of course, the label anti-Semite is designed to shut down criticism, and for many people, it’s very effective.

    Given the strong negative reaction from some Chinese, it’s clear that Twyford’s information has the ring of plausibility, about which many people are feeling uncomfortable. But that doesn’t mean we should keep quiet about it.

    Harking back to Don Brash’s Orewa speech, that wasn’t racist, either. It was a dog whistle, right enough, but one of the Maori-are-getting-more-than-pakeha variety. It came in the context of some significant Treaty settlements, which were causing a bit of pakeha unease. I wrote to Dr Brash about that speech: much of what he said in it was wrong, and some assertions were cringingly embarrassing in their lack of knowledge of European history, and of the history of the colonisation of NZ. (And, yes, I’m aware of who helped write it – which makes the inaccuracies all the more surprising) And it was a bloody uncomfortable time for Maori. AND, it gave the Nats a big bump in the polls, so I’ll bet a penny to a five-pound note that some of those commenting here agreed with what Brash said, even though some of their fellow citizens were calling it racist.

    Comment by D'Esterre — July 26, 2015 @ 10:23 pm

  102. Oh I see, now I get it. Please convey my heartfelt apology to all concerned for any hurt caused. I guess I just didn’t understand.what was going on. I blame television.

    Comment by Lee Clark — July 27, 2015 @ 7:46 am

  103. Racism is the belief that another ethnic group or groups are inferior, along with all the systems of government that spring from that belief.

    D’Esterre – With respect, that’s a definition that describes racism as ideology not as everyday occurrence.
    It also gives a pass to people – particularly politicians – who whip up sentiment against “the other” based on their perceived inferiority, or in this case, their perceived advantages.

    So, an academic produces figures and apparently cannot be racist, but if a politician produces the same figures, they are racist?

    Ross – you both miss my point and put words into my mouth.
    The simple test is qui bono?

    Comment by Gregor W — July 27, 2015 @ 9:59 am

  104. “The simple test is qui bono?”

    Sonny or Cher?

    Comment by Tinakori — July 27, 2015 @ 4:22 pm

  105. Nope, Chastity.

    Comment by Lee Clark — July 27, 2015 @ 5:14 pm

  106. @ Gregor W: “With respect, that’s a definition that describes racism as ideology not as everyday occurrence.
    It also gives a pass to people – particularly politicians – who whip up sentiment against “the other” based on their perceived inferiority, or in this case, their perceived advantages.”

    Ha! When an interlocutor prefaces a statement “with respect’, you can be sure the opposite is intended. Of course racism is an ideology. Which doesn’t preclude it from being a quotidian experience, where racist laws and regulations have been enacted. This is what the Jews of Europe endured in the 1930s and 40s; as did black South Africans under apartheid,and the blacks of the US in its segregated political and social systems.

    The whipping up of sentiment against particular ethnic groups? The Labour party hasn’t done this. But where it does happen, it’s properly characterised as prejudice or xenophobia; it certainly isn’t racism. Saying nasty things about people who aren’t like us (or even those who are) isn’t a hanging offence – even for politicians. It is part of our rights to freedom of speech. We need to protect those rights against attempts to curtail them by those who claim that we can’t say what we think because it’ll cause offence or is racist. Many of us have been on the receiving end of prejudice and xenophobia, and I can certainly attest that it’s an uncomfortable experience. But it’s part of living in a free and open society, where we can raise issues of concern without well-meaning but wrongheaded attempts to shut us up.

    “The simple test is qui bono?”

    Most emphatically not! Racism isn’t amenable to division in that way. In Ross’s scenario, neither the academic nor the politician is racist. At the risk of endless repetition, racism entails a) belief in the inferiority of other ethnic groups (the “untermensch” of Nazi ideology, for instance) and b) the power to enact laws and implement regulations based on such beliefs. The Nazi regime, the South African apartheid system, and the segregation of the US, all qualify as racist. Worrying about offshore Chinese – or German, or French or whoever – investment driving up property prices in Auckland, and talking about it, isn’t racist.

    Comment by D'Esterre — July 27, 2015 @ 10:19 pm

  107. Ross – you both miss my point and put words into my mouth.

    Well, you did say that “Wiebe is not a politician…[s]o she gets a pass”. Any reader could be forgiven for thinking that if she’d carried out the same analysis as Salmond – and I have noted that an apparently identical analysis was carried out in Canada in 2011 – she would have gotten a pass.

    Comment by Ross — July 28, 2015 @ 7:12 am

  108. “Mainland Chinese money snapped up at least 80 per cent of residential sales in parts of Auckland in March but were nearer 90 per cent in May, a whistle blower from the industry says.

    The Herald reported at the weekend Labour data that showed people of Chinese descent accounted for 39.5 per cent of the almost 4000 Auckland transactions between February and April.

    Yet Census 2013 data showed ethnic Chinese who are New Zealand residents or citizens account for only 9 per cent of Auckland’s population.

    The property insider – who wanted to protect their identity because they feared for their job – said the situation was much more serious than the Labour data suggested.

    The numbers should be more than doubled due to the weight of capital coming out of Mainland China, the whistle blower said.”

    http://m.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11480138

    I presume this “whistle blower” also gets a pass?

    Comment by Ross — July 28, 2015 @ 7:22 am

  109. @ Ross: “Mainland Chinese money snapped up at least 80 per cent of residential sales in parts of Auckland in March but were nearer 90 per cent in May, a whistle blower from the industry says.”

    Interesting piece from the Herald. It appeared the week after Twyford’s story, but hasn’t had anything like the coverage, from what I’ve seen. Assuming that the whistleblower’s information is credible, what’s happening to the vendors of these properties? Are they Aucklanders cashing up and moving out of the city? Or are they buying something more expensive in Auckland? And if the latter, I wonder if they’re then finding themselves in a bidding war with compatriots of the people to whom they sold the last house. Or maybe they’re Chinese selling to Chinese.Wouldn’t surprise me.

    This from the Herald article:
    “….the higher the bidding at auctions went, the happier they were.

    “They simply don’t care how much they pay. It’s not related to the CV. If they pay another $400,000 more, that’s $400,000 they’re better off as it’s $400,000 they have shifted out of Mainland China……The Chinese will outbid everyone at the auction.”

    This echoes the account of the Chinese real estate agent Kathryn Ryan interviewed on RNZ recently. Said agent clearly didn’t see anything wrong with what her clients were doing.

    It’s a bloody mess, right enough,brought upon the unfortunate would-be home buyers of Auckland by successive governments, going right back to the late 1980s, who, it seems, have been unable to take the long view and institute some pre-emptive controls on the situation. I have no expectations that the current government will do anything at all.

    Comment by D'Esterre — July 28, 2015 @ 10:37 pm

  110. Perhaps the present Government can ‘open the debate’ by rigging data to highlight any Auckland property-buyer with a Chinese sounding name, and resulting in any NZ children ‘look’ Asian to wonder out loud why ‘kiwis’ don’t like them.

    Comment by Lee Clark — July 29, 2015 @ 8:06 am

  111. Any reader could be forgiven for thinking that if she’d carried out the same analysis as Salmond…

    Sure. Any reader that ignored all the caveats stated.
    If Salmond was a non-political actor or Weibe was a political mouthpiece, then their motives and analysis would be comparable.

    Comment by Gregor W — July 31, 2015 @ 9:44 am

  112. @D’Esterre #106 – You shouldn’t be so thin skinned. I can be respectful of your argument and POV without agreeing with it.
    The main issue I have with your analysis is that racism requires a legal construct to exist (cf. Nazi Germany, Apartheid SA).

    Let’s take the US as an example. They have a strong legalistic and constitutional framework that guarantees universal rights to citizens. Jim Crow laws were abolished via popular mobilisation. The most powerful person in the country is a blank man.
    Yet, on a daily basis, black people are killed by agents of the state for the crime of being “the other” with, until recently, very little scrutiny. Would your suggestion be that racism does not exist in the US?

    Or take Ross’ example of Israel. While, like NZ and Britain, their constitutional arrangements are unusual, Israel has plenty of civil rights law guaranteeing the political and human rights of it citizens, including Israeli Arabs. It’s generally recognised though that there is significant societal and institutional discrimination against Israeli Arabs that can’t be explained than otherwise as being predicated on race. This is not even going into Israel’s behaviour in the Occupied Territories which doesn’t require much imagination to describe as racist.

    Comment by Gregor W — July 31, 2015 @ 10:04 am

  113. “The most powerful person in the country is a blank man.”
    He truly is a blank man. And at the next election, Mercins may be shooting blanks again: Clinton v Trump. Oh the humanity.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 10, 2015 @ 1:23 pm


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