Crafty foreign tour groups

December 27th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Michael Dickison at NZ Herald reports:

leaders say they were not aware of foreign tour groups at their Christmas lunch and have called for any “irresponsible” operator who may have sent one to offer a donation.

About 2800 people gathered at the Viaduct Events Centre on Tuesday for the charity lunch, with most guests arriving with tickets. About 200 people without tickets were let in after them.

TVNZ reported on Christmas Day that “a smattering of Chinese tourists on organised tours” had arrived, and showed city missioner Diane Robertson saying: “If somebody’s turned up and is now looking at … how we care for people, I’m not worried about that.”

An outburst of concern followed online and on talkback radio. Several people said any such tour operators were taking advantage of Christmas charity.

You can just imagine them – “Oh there’s a free Xmas lunch at the Viaduct – we’ll include that in the tour!”.

It reminds me of when VUWSA started handing out free cash to students in the form of hardship grants. They were surprised when demand exceeded supply, and every year reported they needed more money to hand out to students, as more and more students found they had a need for free cash. This proved that more and more students were living in poverty it was claimed. i think it proved that more and more students are quite clever.

That’s not to take anything away from the great work done by the City Missions. they are wonderful institutions that I have collected for in the past. But it does show that there are always some people who will take advantage of generosity.

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29 Responses to “Crafty foreign tour groups”

  1. chris (558 comments) says:

    I always thought the City Mission Christmas Dinner was for those in need. I read the quotes from some of the people who attended in another NZ Herald article http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10856064 and it really didn’t sound like any of those are people in need (with the possible exception of one of them).

    “This is where you come to celebrate Christmas in the city”. Not it’s not. It’s where those in need come to celebrate Christmas.

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  2. jims_whare (398 comments) says:

    Perhaps they should have made it compulsory for all attendees to have a hair shave for delousing – might cut the numbers down some what.

    I have heard of stories of folk in nice BMWs showing up to food banks for a fortnightly handout.

    Also as a cop a few years ago a dealt with one moron who would drive from Levin to Palmy & back again to pick up a box of groceries from a food bank (On his way out one day he stole a plastic flower from the reception at the food bank – how I got involved)

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  3. Redbaiter (7,522 comments) says:

    Maybe its part of the tourist package-

    Y’know, get down (and out) with the locals and savour the real NZ socialist experience.

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  4. Pongo (371 comments) says:

    Brian Edwards tweeted he saw a Mum filming her kids opening their presents on her IPad, the mission uses record numbers as a marketing tool so they don’t care who turns up or why.

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  5. slightlyrighty (2,496 comments) says:

    Watching the chinese tourists turn up on the news disgusted both my wife and I. This is for people in need. Those who can fend for themselves should do so and not sponge of the generosity of others, and congratulate themselves on doing so. This christmas has not been easy financially, as my wife was made redundant 6 weeks before christmas, with no redundancy payment, given the short time she worked there. She has found work to start in the new year but this holiday season has been stressful. We have made do, lived within our means, and our 2 children have had a great christmas, and still found time to give to others by donations of toys for the needy.

    That our generosity, even in these difficult times, could have been enjoyed by those who do not need it at the expense of those who do, does rankle somewhat.

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  6. Dotcom (1,386 comments) says:

    I enchoyed it.

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  7. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    The city mission exists simply to massage the ego of those who run it. They get that “feel Good’ feeling from supposedly feeding the starving and the poverty strucken.

    Trouble is most who turn up are neither. They are simply freeloaders or those who waste their welfare.

    The city mission simply exists to make those who run it feel good. What would they do if they didnt have this to get their ‘Feel Good’ rocks off?

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  8. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Tempting though it is to let our more feral feelings rise as we indulge in some self-righteous slagging, it is worthwhile recalling that the aim of this exercise (The City Mission) is to help people in need.

    It would be a shame to discount this, and perhaps imply it is a waste of energy and food, because a minority of people choose to abuse the hospitality, wouldn’t it?

    Slightly righty ditto , I got laid off courtesy of a sixty second phone call after two years with my most recent employer commencing on the 21st December, I had holiday pay owed, thankfully otherwise, well – me and the kids might have been down at the Mission ourselves!

    Merry fucking Christmas indeed.

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  9. Archer (170 comments) says:

    It would seem easy enough for them to implement a rule that a Community Services Card be presented upon entry (only people under a certain income threshold can get one), and maybe the homeless who may not have one. I think Pongo’s comment above that having record numbers attending works in the City Missions favour as far as holding their cap out is probably spot on.

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  10. rg (197 comments) says:

    I think you will find most people who ate at the Mission were taking advantage. I doubt many there were unable to afford a xmas dinner such as the one offered. Of course they would hav had to cook it themselves so why bother when someone else will do it for you?. Sums up the attitude to life of most of those at the Mission I suspect.

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  11. Camryn (550 comments) says:

    Worth noting that we probably shouldn’t be blaming the tourist group (i.e. the tourists) but rather the tour operator. I guess the tourists were probably on one of those bus packages that are popular with people who don’t speak the language and aren’t brave enough to travel without help. The operator probably has a daily food budget and saw the chance to spend $0 of it and pocket some extra cash. So, that’s the sneaky bugger we should all be getting worked up about. Given that the tourists probably paid for a free meal, they’re technically “victims” too.

    As for the Mission dinner itself… count me amongst the doubters. Welfare is plenty if you don’t waste it. It doesn’t need to exist but it’s fine that it does… not my business.

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  12. chris (558 comments) says:

    The city mission exists simply to massage the ego of those who run it.

    I know someone who worked there a few years back and she hated it. I think she went in with the attitude that “I’ll be helping those who are down and out” but didn’t even last 6 months. So yes, maybe she did go in with the intention of massaging her ego but it quickly turned out to be nothing of the sort.

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  13. Manolo (13,327 comments) says:

    Another do-gooder is born every second.

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  14. MT_Tinman (2,985 comments) says:

    What a miserable pack of pricks inhabit Kiwiblog.

    Xmas is not just about eating, it’s about sharing, about people coming together to enjoy each others company.

    If that means sharing a meal with other lonely people so be it, no one said the City Mission had to cater only for those economically bereft. The socially bereft also deserve help, no matter what their financial state.

    As for tourists eating Xmas dinner there, good on ‘em. Free food always tastes good and no doubt they’ll leave far richer than they arrived simply for this experience.

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  15. swan (659 comments) says:

    Once you start questioning one person who has turned up, you have to start questioning them all. I think this is another example of casual Chinese racism that is apparently acceptable in the MSM.

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  16. Rex Widerstrom (5,254 comments) says:

    MT_Tinman says:

    Xmas is not just about eating, it’s about sharing, about people coming together to enjoy each others company.

    If that means sharing a meal with other lonely people so be it, no one said the City Mission had to cater only for those economically bereft. The socially bereft also deserve help, no matter what their financial state.

    Thanks for pointing that out. You don’t always come across as the most sensitive of commenters, but clearly, like your namesake, there’s a heart in there somewhere :-)

    Loneliness and isolation, magnified a hundredfold at this time of year, are what leads many to deepening depression and some even to suicide. Putting on a Christmas lunch isn’t an “ego trip” for those who do it, and it’s not about whether those who turn up have “wasted their welfare”.

    So if the benefit had left them enough for a plate of beans, they ought to eat it alone – as most do the other 364 days of the year – and not sully the event with their lack of “real” poverty?

    The event, and others like it around the world, are about reaching out to some of the most isolated and vulnerable people in the community and offering them companionship and care first, and a hot meal second.

    For instance, the woman with the iPad. She may well be materially wealthy but bereft of friendship and companionship. Perhaps she’s recently divorced and moved to Auckland. It’s very hard, with the pace of life today, to make friends in a new city especially if you’re not particularly gregarious.

    Or perhaps she’s recently widowed – for all their kindness, people tend to find having someone carrying a great deal of sorrow around at times of celebration, so perhaps all her friends hoped and assumed that one of the others would invite her this year.

    If she’s as wealthy as she appeared she may well even have made a donation well in excess of the cost of the meal for herself and her children, then taken a ticket to attend so she and her children could be surrounded by joy and happiness. Who knows? And unless you know you cannot judge.

    As a regular frequenter of Kiwiblog I thought I was used to the heartlessness, judgmentalism and smugness that’s sometimes to be found here. But some of the above sets a new low.

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  17. chris (558 comments) says:

    MT_Tinman and Rex Widerstrom make some interesting points, and it certainly helps clarify what the City Mission Christmas Dinner is really about, and is in fact not necessarily to do with poverty (compared with the pressies and food baskets they do in the days leading up to Christmas).

    Given the City Mission Christmas Dinner is therefore not necessarily about those in need in a monetary sense, why are the media (and the City Mission itself) so unhappy about a Chinese tour party taking part?

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  18. Rex Widerstrom (5,254 comments) says:

    @chris

    I’m guessing it’s because of the organised, predatory aspect of it. I’m sure it’s possible some individual, non-Chinese attendees turned up and ripped off the event when they had no need to be there (but how greedy would you need to be to sacrifice family and friends, if you had them, for the sake of a free bit of mediocre turkey and veges?).

    But to calculatedly figure, as the tour operator has done, that profit can be made by dumping his charges onto a charity, is a step too far. Possibly the attendees didn’t really understand the event (my Chinese friends don’t celebrate Christmas and, though the mother of one swapped presents with people in her office for fun, didn’t even know she was supposed to open them on Christmas Day). But the tour operator certainly did, and was looking to take from a charity to boost his profits.

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  19. chris (558 comments) says:

    Good answer Rex :)

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  20. MT_Tinman (2,985 comments) says:

    Rex Widerstrom (4,751) Says:
    December 27th, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Thanks for pointing that out. You don’t always come across as the most sensitive of commenters, but clearly, like your namesake, there’s a heart in there somewhere

    No. There isn’t.

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  21. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,810 comments) says:

    swan says on December 27th, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    I think this is another example of casual Chinese racism that is apparently acceptable in the MSM.

    The Labour Party and its supporters find casual Chinese racism acceptable.

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  22. scrubone (3,044 comments) says:

    I think this is another example of casual Chinese racism that is apparently acceptable in the MSM.

    If an american group did the same thing…?

    But even that woudn’t be quite the same as Americans celebrate christmas.

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  23. scrubone (3,044 comments) says:

    As a regular frequenter of Kiwiblog I thought I was used to the heartlessness, judgmentalism and smugness that’s sometimes to be found here. But some of the above sets a new low.

    Hear hear.

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  24. BeaB (2,056 comments) says:

    Perhaps the Mission don’t like Chinese and don’t want to feed them.
    Not my idea of Christian charity and I just hope those Chinese people don’t read the nasty comments about them in the Herald.

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  25. Left Right and Centre (2,819 comments) says:

    Some comments I like and some that I really don’t…. par for the course….

    First off… ACM is clearly about helping the worst off in Auckland… bottomline. It’s safe to assume that a hell of a lot there don’t need to be there and are there for a free feed. And didn’t donate shit. The socially bereft, but have enough money folks, should be paying.

    Chris- agree 100%. jims_whare… enjoyed your comment- informative. Redbaiter- strikes gold again. Pongo- you’re so right. Dotcom- witty. barry- I’d say that’s about right. Archer- most have tickets, so are ‘pre-vetted’ as ‘needy’? rg- commonsense sprinkled with salty cynicism.. an acquired taste. Camryn- sensible thoughts. Chris again- easy now, one example makes not a sample. swan- no-one would like their answers.

    chris also says it’s not necessarily to do with poverty. Really? Looking at the ACM website I’d have thought it was all about poverty, or poverty as it relates to Auckland. The roots of the charity are Christian, so they’re right into xmas and want poor folks to *have a xmas* of some kind. I mean… you could start asking all sorts of curly questions about whether the donations they receive to put that day on wouldn’t actually help more people and more deserving people if they were used to target the truly needy in a different more efficient and strategic way…. as they do with the rest of their funding across the year. They’ve got limited resources so make them count. But they want to put on the xmas bash so good for them. Which to me is the charity equivalent of paying for a big party for one afternoon instead of having enough money to heat your house in winter.

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  26. Left Right and Centre (2,819 comments) says:

    The idea is right. Nothing wrong with the concept. Feel good factor is fantastic. But….

    Ah yeah.. the topic. It’s up to the organizers to run their event and decide who they want there. And check their guests. The legality of it all would be interesting. Why tourists would end up there… that’s weird. They must’ve wondered what the bloody hell was going on. Feel for them.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/8109106/Hundreds-queue-for-food

    All the photos show things like… and who knows what’s really going on but by the looks but… fat brown people shoving their food parcels into a not that old gas guzzling (looks like) Commodore. Correct me if I’m wrong please.

    Next photo: An entire queue of fat brown people waiting to get in. We’re talking morbidly obese.

    What about this person:

    June Phillips, Takanini
    “We started the day early at 9 o’clock to get the bus. This is our third year and the reason we come is we have a variety of food that we never have at home. It’s not easy with the financial side of things. I have seven kids. The other four preferred to stay with their dad. I have always enjoyed it here and I always will come.” source: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10856064

    It’s not easy with *seven* kids? I’ll bet it’s not. Is it safe to assume that these people were never in a financial position to properly bring seven kids into the world? It’s no small wonder they’ve ended up at the xmas dinner. Maybe just have two kids and then they wouldn’t need to accept charity perhaps?

    All very well blaming the economy.. the recession… unemployment. What drives what though? Useless parents that have useless kids creates what? You can’t use them in the economy and it’s tough to provide endless low skill jobs for an ever increasing unskilled unqualified uneducated working age population.

    This is the result of previous govts regimes and laws.

    I’ll say this… you don’t see too many bloody Asians there. Agree? They must be doing ok. It’s all the cheap slave labour the country doesn’t need anymore turning up in droves. No? Twofold effect… low skill jobs have gone and they breed young and plenty. Oh dear… that’s not very PC now is it?

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  27. mikenmild (10,618 comments) says:

    Lots of daft comments on this thread. The bottom line is that the ACM does a great job helping a lot of people who are not exactly a fashionable cause. ACM is a charity, and there will always be a range of people using what services the mission provides. The Xmas dinner does several things, both for the mission’s clients and for the mission itself. It provides a Xmas meal for anyone who wants to enjoy a good meal and some companionship. It is also a good opportunity for the mission to promote itself and its cause.
    ACM is a charity and cannot be expected to run some kind of targeted service aimed at the ‘deserving poor’. There will always be some people who take advantage of a charity without really needing the assistance provided. That’s a pretty small issue compared with the day-to-day job that the mission does in looking after people who are generally overlooked by everyone else.
    There are quite a few vicious comments here attacking the mission’s clients that are along the lines of “if they are fat they must be able to afford food for themselves”, or making the spurious claim that people in NZ aren’t really poor because they aren’t starving to death.
    People who turn up at ACM do so for a wide range of reasons. There is quite a large group of people who are very much on the margins of a decent life, and they are in that place for a whole lot of different reasons. ACM helps a lot of people who get very little from anywhere else. It doesn’t help when the self-satisfied add abuse to the other problems the ACM clients face.

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  28. hj (6,341 comments) says:

    Individual Chinese drivers cart their charges off to events and they sit around in their motel rooms bragging about how they “ripped those people off” (I’m told from an insider).

    Chinese are as racist as anyone else, especially given that China is on the up. A typical speel about Arrowtown goes like this: “When the European came to Arrowtown they found gold [but] the work was very hard and it was cold and the European didn’t want to do the hard work, so they brought in Chinese miners”. Another example: the Chinese miners weren’t allowed to mine except where a European had been. But people were surprised at how much gold they found so they introduced a poll tax… Lazy European; hard working Chinese: the best thing that (is happening) to this country.

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  29. Left Right and Centre (2,819 comments) says:

    hey mikey… good to see ya mate…

    Interesting comment you make…

    Let’s think about the ‘vicious comment’… *if they are fat they must be able to afford food for themselves*…..

    If you are morbidy obese with 40-70%+ bodyfat…. you are clearly not so poor that you are not eating. You are eating something somewhere. You are eating **W-A-A-A-A-A-Y** too many calories **somehow**. You are not missing out. Fact.

    Ok, moving onto individual context and possible scenarios: Person is fat, has recently lost job, can’t afford food. Fair enough in that case. I’m sure that story would cover an entire queue of size 10XL folks eh?

    A person does not reach the point where they require forklift assistance should they fall over, without spending more money on food. If they’re that poor… that’s one thing you’d tighten up on. And you’d lose weight as a result.

    We’re talking relative poverty. Relative to NZ. If a person is morbidly obese and then some… as one indicator of true hardship it’s perverse to think of someone, from a global persepctive, with a ‘three bedroom open with plan living and deck’ figure as ‘living in poverty’. I mean come on.. commonsense dictates surely… and how can that be construed as ‘vicious’?

    In all honesty? The xmas food portion sizes would be a comedown for some of them. Probably like how I’d feel pre-dieting days if you gave me a Happy Meal instead of two Big Macs fries and a shake (which is a day’s worth of calories right there just quietly).

    That’s dead right mikey… you’ve got it… nzders aren’t really that poor if they’re not starving to death.

    I’m on the fucking dole mate… I’ve got food, shelter, electricity, clean water, clothing, roads, well-stocked shops, petrol, access to health services. And even the luxury of the internet so I can visit awesome blogs and hang out with good people such as yourself. I’m a fucking *rich man* with all of that shit. Poor people don’t have fucking food… bottomline. That’s poor.

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