Labour’s favourite restaurant owner slam Little and Ardern

Yael Shochat writes at The Spinoff:

Two years ago, after 17 years living here, I received my New Zealand citizenship. Now I can say that I am proud to be both a New Zealander and a first generation immigrant from Israel. …

I was determined to make something of my passion for food. In the 14 years since I started running restaurants and cafes specialising in Middle Eastern and Jewish cuisine, I have not only employed hundreds of Kiwis and immigrants alike, but I’d like to think I’ve had a hand in contributing to the new culinary renaissance in this city and left it a more exciting place than how I found it.

To Mr Andrew Little, and to dear Jacinda, whom I consider a friend: you’ve been to my restaurant, Ima Cuisine, many times. You’ve shared my company and enjoyed my most beloved dishes – immigrant food from all over the Jewish diaspora, and Palestinian food, the indigenous cuisine of my country.

So the author considers Jacinda a dear friend. Which makes her next works more compelling:

What are we going to say to each other next time you come in? Are you going to give “compliments to the chefs”, half of whom are not welcome here under your immigration policy? Am I welcome here? I certainly don’t feel welcome now that you’ve promised to cut “tens of thousands” of immigrants.

And worse:

Right now I, my friends and peers in the restaurant industry are all crying out for kitchen and wait staff. Stopping immigration – while refusing to actually address the underlying causes of problems in the job and housing market – will mean I won’t be able to hire anyone. I won’t be able to cook for you anymore. Many other industries will also suffer.

So Labour’s policy will see many businesses close.

Now we come to the elephant in the room. Mr Little, Jacinda – you know my background, so you know I am descended from people who suffered greatly from similar policies. As has happened before, when times get tough economically, the first people to be scapegoated and to blamed are immigrants and diaspora. This happened in the early 20th century in Europe and we all know how ugly that got. Stopping immigration won’t solve our problems but it will create more. Stopping immigration will divide our country and make it less safe.

Policies such as yours are dog whistles, mostly inaudible messages of demonisation and othering used for political gain.

Again this is from someone who is a dear friend of Jacinda’s.

I understand that you are desperate for more votes this election, and sure, blaming immigrants for the ills of society is an easy way of getting them. So shift the blame on us as many have done before you. I just hope you’re ready to face the consequences.

They are desperate indeed, unable to get above 30% in the polls.

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