Migrants say Labour’s housing policy potentially racist

Stuff reports:

The president of a nation-wide organisation that represents Chinese migrant groups says David Shearer’s policy is “picking on” Asian people.

leader David Shearer says the party will restrict the ability of non-residents to purchase New Zealand houses as part of its package to help Kiwi first-home buyers.

Shearer says IRD records show more than 11,000 overseas investors own New Zealand properties they don’t live in.

That data would include people like Helen Clark. Actual sales data has shown that non-residents comprise only 3.2% of house purchasers (and make up 4.5% of sellers).

However, the president of the NZ Chinese Association Virginia Chong is concerned the policy is targeting Asian buyers.

Chong says there is a flawed perception that Chinese nationals are out-bidding Kiwis in the Auckland market.

The second generation New Zealander says people just see Asian faces in the auction rooms and assume that they are foreigners.

“It’s all very well saying it’s Asians who have pushed up the price but I don’t think it’s Asians, we are just a convenient fob-off,” the Epsom resident says.

Again the actual sales data shows only 0.4% of house purchasers are non-resident Chinese.

She says while the policy may be a Band-Aid on the problem, it will not have any long-term effect.

“From my perspective it’s potentially racist and it’s contrary to existing free trade agreements,” she says.

It is designed to make people think that Chinese New Zealanders are foreigners and stealing houses off “real” New Zealanders. And it does breach several free trade agreements we have signed, including those negotiated by Labour.

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