Rutherford on Labour’s surname policy

writes at Stuff:

What do ’s figures about the number of Chinese names appearing on property transactions in Auckland prove?

Nothing concrete about the state of foreign ownership in New Zealand’s largest city. In terms of evidence, it is seductive, yet shaky at best.

There is every chance that a Wang appearing on a property record can claim a century of proud Kiwi ancestry, while the Smith who bought the house next door is the foreign investor. …

So what the release has done is made everyone with a Chinese sounding surname seem second class.

The research has concerning limitations. Labour will not say who gave it the data, beyond saying it is from one of Auckland’s largest real estate companies. If the figures were not nakedly political – if they had been presented by an economist – they would almost certainly be dismissed completely for the lack of rigour.

I really wonder what Labour were thinking with this. They’ve alienated a lot of their own supporters, and opened themselves up to a lot of ridicule.

Eventually new rules will force the disclosure of where buyers are based for tax purposes, a better measure of foreign investors than Labour’s name game.

This should come close to settling the argument about the extent of offshore investment in New Zealand real estate. There is every chance it will prove Twyford correct, that thousands of investors are seeking a way to get their money out of China and into a stable investment.

Alternatively it may mark Twyford as the man, and Labour as the party, who squarely pointed the finger of blame a substantial portion of New Zealand for no other reason than that they sound like they might be Chinese.

On that note  (a Young Nat) writes:

I’m not sure if you saw Andrew Little, Phil Twyford and the New Zealand Labour Party hit a disappointing and desperate new low yesterday.

They blamed the challenge of housing affordability on whether your name sounds Chinese or not. 

I was born here, I study here, I work here and I’m a New Zealand citizen but because my last name sounds Chinese I’m apparently a big part of the housing affordability problem – (I’m actually of Mongolian descent but would Labour care about that?)

Melissa continues:

I’ve lived here all my life, and I’m proud to call myself Kiwi. Young New Zealanders like me are ambitious, excited and open about New Zealand’s future. I don’t think my last name, or yours, has anything to do with trying to buy a house.

We need to be encouraging all Kiwis – young, old, European, Maori, Chinese, whatever – to aim high, work hard, create wealth and continue to raise our living standards. We also need the Government to keep taking common sense steps with councils to make more land available for housing. That’s why I support National- they know there’s a problem and they have a real plan to fix it.

We don’t need to start a “pick on the Chinese” attitude which could create more problems than it solves. Auckland’s housing problem is a supply issue – not a Chinese issue. We’re a multicultural, ambitious and prosperous country – I hope we stay that way.

Well said.

The Herald reports:

Labour leader Andrew Little has stood by the decision to release figures showing a high proportion of Auckland house sales to people with Chinese names, saying it is time to blow the whistle on what is happening in the city.

The use of the data has been criticised by many as racist and “shonky” and Mr Little admitted there had been some backlash.

I understand a number of Labour MPs are very unhappy about this and see it as a test of of Little’s leadership, if he keeps defending this. They’re not so unhappy with the data as Phil Twyford’s comments which implied Chinese NZers are now hard working Kiwis. John Key demoted Lockwood Smith for his comments on Asians. Will Little continue to defend Twyford?

Imagine if for example a Don Brash led National Party had come out with a shonky analysis like this, and used the language Twyford did? Every Labour and Green MP in Parliament would have been calling Brash racist. Instead, we have silence.

Finally, if you want to work for yourself if you’re Kiwi enough to buy a house under Labour, try out this new Kiwi-O-Meter. Well done to the Young Nats for this humourous response to Labour’s dog whistles.