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An Open Letter to the Real Estate Whistleblower

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, July 16th, 2015 - 375 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, class war, Economy, overseas investment - Tags: , ,

Thanks. I don’t know who you are. I don’t know your motivation. But I do know you have done New Zealanders a service by opening up the issue of offshore money distorting the Auckland housing market. You have exposed a clear threat to the public interest.

You woke up this morning unemployed. That’s a hell of a price to pay, but I guess you knew that was a likely outcome. However, I’m optimistic that there are kiwi bosses who will want to take on someone who has the courage of their convictions. Not every real estate firm has such close links to the National Party and there will be others out there who will place their trust in you. If you stay in the real estate industry, there are many buyers and sellers who will be keen to do business with an honest broker.

However, New Zealand, under this Government, can be a vindictive, petty minded place. It’s ironic that your dismissal takes place at the same time as journalist Nicky Hager is in court exposing how the NZ Police acted with obscene haste to ruin the sanctity of his home on the say so of a criminal with even closer links to the National Party than the Barfoot family. We’re not the egalitarian, Jack is as good as his master, country we once were. We now live under the golden rule; he who has the gold makes the rules. But I hope your bravery will shame the National Party government into finally acting to end this crisis.

I’m glad you approached the NZ Labour Party. They had the resources to use the information you supplied in the best interests of New Zealand. They’ve paid a price too and it’s sad to see some members quit. But the nastiest whining comes from the rich and powerful and their internet proxies.  I’m confident the trolling from the frightened right won’t have an affect on how New Zealanders see this issue. Kiwis can see the bitter truth at the heart of this issue. We are being priced out of our own country and reduced to the status of tenants on the land and serfs at work. Somebody had to stand up for us. I’m glad you had the moral strength and personal courage to do so.

So, good luck to you. You’ve done New Zealand a service. If first time house buyers here in New Zealand get a fair go in the future, it will be on the back of your sacrifice. That won’t be forgotten, even if we never know who you are.

Kia kaha, my friend.

Thank you.

375 comments on “An Open Letter to the Real Estate Whistleblower”

  1. Macro 1

    Well said TRP – I endorse everything you say here.
    My thoughts to the heroic person who had the gumption to make this information available too.

  2. ianmac 2

    Yes. Well done. Hope the whistler gets an even better job.

    • Gosman 2.1

      Perhaps the Labour party can offer him/her one considering no private sector business would likely touch him/her if they knew their background.

      • Tracey 2.1.1

        Doesn’t seem to have hurt Cameron Slater’s “business”… seems the dirtier he was the more “respectable” sons of former MPs and former MPs used his “services”.

        Jason Ede walked into a new job…

      • Paul 2.1.2

        You appear far more worried about this than the state of Auckland’s housing.
        I’m alright, Jack summarises your view on the world.
        As Adam Curtis’ seminal documentary series ‘The Century of Self’ showed how people were made to forget their roots in society.

      • So, Gosman, integrity plays no part in your ACT world? It’s a chilling place you live in…

  3. CnrJoe 3

    Yep. Thanks.
    Btw. Real Estate agents have this data. This is the data thats needed. Shouldn’t the agencies cough up these lists? Asking nicely. Harcourts?

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Auckland City Council has all this information. REINZ likely has too.

      • dukeofurl 3.1.1

        Council is very hard to even release existing owners of properties.

        Ive had to print of copies of the act to show where they are required to provide the owners details of an individual property on request.
        Getting them to release names of changes of ownership in bulk would be impossible .

  4. tinfoilhat 4

    Oh well I’m going to have to disagree.

    This person released private information naming individuals who had done nothing wrong I can not see how this is any different from the behaviour of Nat MPs who release social welfare recipients details.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Labour’s in the middle of running a very cynical political ploy. They truly think that they are going to get a big poll boost out of this over the next month or two. Let’s see if their throwing of this red meat out to Waitakere Man (and Woman) works for them.

      • ankerawshark 4.1.1

        CV you have been very vocal on this issue.

        Firstly I am really sorry for any problems you have due to your ethnicity and people being racist towards you.

        And a question. Do you think the whistle blower was being racist by leaking this information?

        If the information is correct and overseas buyers from China are buying a significant amount of property in Auckland for speculative purposes, at what point is it o.k. for us to talk about it? Does it need the highest standard of evidence before we can acknowledge it? If we did get very, very good evidence and it proves to be correct, then any problem you and NZ Chinese will face will be the same won’t it???? I.e. any backlash against local Chinese that this may create????

        I would be interested to hear your thoughts and I am sorry this has been so distressing for you. The issue is deeply distressing for me as well, but from a different perspective. Just like it was deeply distressing to me that State houses might be sold to an Australian Housing trust. Or when our assets were flogged off to “Mum and Dad investors (god only knows who owns them now). But I was and still am very angry about this. This has caused me a lot of hurt and anger and the overseas Chinese buyers from my point of view is no different.

        • Colonial Viper

          And a question. Do you think the whistle blower was being racist by leaking this information?

          If the information is correct and overseas buyers from China are buying a significant amount of property in Auckland for speculative purposes, at what point is it o.k. for us to talk about it?

          ankerawshark: cheers for your thoughtful comment 🙂

          I think this name list information was vital to be released into the public arena for discussion.

          I think Labour has used the information in a cynical and calculated way designed to get a big poll bump (they think).

          Many many local Kiwi Chinese (including myself) would be supportive of a ban on non PR non-citizenship purchase of NZ land.

          But the way Labour has gone about this has been utterly offensive and unnecessary. And as I mentioned, they have done it this way, in full discussion with Little and the Leaders Office, in order to get a big poll bump (they think).

          • te reo putake

            “And as I mentioned, they have done it this way, in full discussion with Little and the Leaders Office, in order to get a big poll bump (they think).”

            Actually, that’s just what you think. You’ve got no insight as to the actual thought processes involved. You weren’t there in the room at the time.

            • Tracey

              wre you trp? If you were, please outline the thought processes? Otherwise a cynical populist strategy cannot be discounted…

              Who was the strategy aimed at getting onside (voting for labour)?

              1. first home buyers?
              2. parents of first home buyers priced out of the market?
              3. zenohobes?

              • you’d go for all 3 I’d think – might be a bit of overlap between the groups 🙂

              • BM

                I’d say it was pitched at small town NZ.

                The keep NZ white crowd.

                • Tracey

                  there is a big keep it white crowd in Auckland BM. Small town lives in Auckland too.

                  • BM

                    True, lots of people especially those 55+ who can’t cope with the rapidly changing face of NZ.

                    Personally I prefer modern NZ to the insular mono culture of pre 1985 NZ.

                    Rugby, racing and beer, how unbelievably dull.

                    • Tracey

                      Actually I find that it is not restricted to age BM. Had a white guy, aged 28, with 2 children working on my house for months.

                      Nice enough guy in many respects, great work (builder) BUt very racist and a beneficiary basher… his mother was a single mother DPB

                    • Rugby, racing and beer, how unbelievably dull.

                      Yes, now we have non-stop professional rugby coming out of our ears (and eyes), casinos and lotto outlets on every corner (rather than racing) and a huge range of RTDs, wine … and beers … to allow us to get off our collective face.

                      So much less dull /sarc

                      The truth is that the explosion in the commodification and marketisation of New Zealand culture has simply amplified that basic cultural mix so that it is now spectacularly – and expensively – dull.

                    • Heather Grimwood

                      To BM: this input of yours is is incredibly subjectively stereotypical! I am on my 84th whirl around the sun and assure you none of your prejudiced statements apply to me!

                    • RedLogix

                      Sitting in Ak airport right now. Glad to be getting out of this expensive, corporatised, marketised, commodified, scam-ridden, debased shit-hole.

                      Yes it’s changed alright. You are welcome to flop about in it BM.

                    • half crown

                      “True, lots of people especially those 55+ who can’t cope with the rapidly changing face of NZ.”

                      Nah you are wrong there pal possibly, what they see is the return to the shit their parents lived under in 30’s

                    • Paul

                      NZ before Rogernomics at least was a society.
                      Now it’s a rat race.

                • Clashman

                  Oh of course, we’re all uneducated inbred rednecks out in the provinces.

                • Clemgeopin

                  “The keep NZ white crowd

                  That statement is so wrong and nasty! Twyford was NOT advocating for the ‘white crowd’, or for people of ANY ethnicity. He was advocating for ALL resident Aucklanders, including the resident Chinese, who have found their dream of owning a reasonably priced home becoming a mirage. He was statistically investigating if one of the possible causes of the skyrocketing prices was the effect of non resident overseas speculative property investors. In the absence of accurate data that this government refuses to keep, he used a buyers list. He found that there was a very high probability that it was the case in respect of the Chinese. Not the Chinese living here but those non residents living in China but investing here, as strongly indicated by the 9% Chinese population VS 40% of all purchases of 4,000 houses in 3 months.
                  The method used for the study by a very learned statistician is perfectly valid. If you understand the mathematics of statistics and if you have read the details provided for their methodology, you will concur.

                  The results DO point to that. May or may not be absolutely correct, and we won’t know that for sure until we can see the exact figures from this obfuscating inept government. This silly government does not seem to have the interests of the people of this country upper most in their thoughts. They have promised to START collecting some data from OCTOBER but Joyce has refused to promise that it will be open to the public! In the meantime the house prices in Auckland will keep rising uncontrollably.

                  Once again, cut the crap that Twyford was ‘racial profiling’ the resident Chinese. He wasn’t. It wasn’t about that. It has nothing to do with that. Think about it and honestly.

              • Tracey, without breaching any confidences, I can say that I’m familiar with the discussion that took place. And anybody that knows Twyford knows he’s not a racist. Have a look at his previous jobs; bigots don’t get to head organisations like Oxfam.

                The risk of being portrayed as racist by a genuine minority from the left or even a wilfully disingenuous minority from the other side was outweighed by the good the information could do. The intent was to let NZ know what was going on, even if there was grief as a result. That’s their job and it’s great to see them doing it so effectively.

                • Tracey

                  and did they discuss the obvious framing of it… publishing chinese names of law abiding folk trp? give us a summary of how that went.

                  for the record ii like twyford and i have watched his attempts to get this addressed for a few years. I am not convinced that others didnt have to convince him of this framing tho.

                  are you saying this was wholly altruistic trp with no discussion about voter impacts and on which voters and the pros and cons of that?

                  and shouldnt you have added a statement to your post on this that you were privvy to the discussions around the data, the wilful breach of confidentiality etc?

                  • For a start, there was no framing. The data was presented in full, openly and honestly. Secondly, they’re politicians, so of course they’re aware of the political aspects, but as I just said, they released the info anyway. Thirdly, why on earth would I have to put up a disclaimer? I write opinion, for free. I try and get the best info I can for every post I put up here, so I do some fact checking. I’m not an MP, staffer or wonk of any kind. I don’t speak for the party. I’m just a gifted amateur, like all the authors here, yourself included. Sheeesh, get a grip!

                    • Tracey

                      Grow up TRP

                      You tried to shut CV down.

                      “Actually, that’s just what you think. You’ve got no insight as to the actual thought processes involved. You weren’t there in the room at the time.”

                      So i pressed your bravado

                      Then you wrote

                      “Tracey, without breaching any confidences, I can say that I’m familiar with the discussion that took place.”

                      Then back off giving any detail.

                      You and skinny do this shit. “Nod nod wink wink, i know people, hear things, so when I say you are speaking shit, I know it for sure.”

                      It is tiresome. and you “geesh get a grip” is patronising.

                    • North

                      Tracey, no reply button to your comment timed 5.18 pm. Accordingly (and I don’t know where this comment will end up) I use the one on TRP’s comment of 2.06 pm –

                      You say – “Grow up TRP. You tried to shut CV down.”

                      What the hell then is the “Racist !” mantra levelled (in varying pitch) against others ? Forgive me the observation that it looks very much like a shutting-down device. Dependent on pitch it shapes also as a device for brutal humiliation.

                      I have a mind’s eye list of the Morality-Day-Trippers at the top of which are BM and Fisiani obviously. Given their customary, boldly vaunted taste for any cruel ‘-ism’ one might identify, their credibility here is zero. I dismiss them. No apologies. Entirely meet. Their true home is WhaleOil.

                      I cannot dismiss as moral thugs and arseholes you and CV and numerous others deservedly holding space on my similarly held second list – a list of decent, caring, philosophically mature, unafraid, morally consistent and resilient people who figure there after months, years of expressions which suggest innate possession of those qualities.

                      Is my estimation of you and CV and others wrong ? Of course it’s not. That is exactly why, apart from my one angry excursion into ‘the feral’ in response to one commenter (that person whom when not invoking dismissive bullying against others I know to be) “decent, caring etc etc……” – that is why I have tried to be respectful. CV particularly comes to mind.

                      Please contemplate how atrocious is the charge “Racist !” to those on my third list – people who are not in true character unlike you and CV and the many others on my second list. For my sins I include Twyford in that third list. To paint him a machiavellian amoral schemer as some have purported is fanciful frankly.

                      For me the reflexive “Racist !” charge sits on a spectrum from careless indulgence to cheap disrespect to the feral. It is not OK to give over to any point on that spectrum the broad issue at hand, viz. the various but always linked facets of the exponential shutting out of stakeholders in this country.

                      That broad issue is what has jointly exercised for so long the people on my second and third lists – this commonality might actually suggest an all-inclusive list.

                      Surely, if we’re talking of essence, it’s highly improbable that a bunch of “Racists !” could have sat undetected for so long in the welcoming company of others on that all-inclusive list ?

                • Paul

                  ‘a wilfully disingenuous minority’

                  Great term to describe what you are having to deal with here trp

                • Anne

                  +100 trp @ 1:23pm.

                  I can attest to Phil’s excellent character. It would be hard to find someone who was less racist in his views and personal demeanour than Phil.

                  • Anne

                    I mean 1:43pm.

                  • Roflcopter

                    Except when he’s being racist.

                  • Tracey

                    Have been watching/listenig/reading him for some time (but not stalking) on this very issue and was surprised to see him involved which is why I am not surprised that TRP’s comment above suggest there was a much broader group behind this decision than Twyford alone.”

                    I respect Twyford for his perserverenace on Auckland issues and housing. I note Mr Auckland Issues soon to be mayoral candidate is very very quiet. I have NO respect for Goff (just so we are clear).

              • Ross


                You’re (mistakenly) focusing on just home buyers in Auckland. This issue has far more wide-reaching effects.

                As Bernard Hickey has opined:

                “…rent inflation is rapidly becoming a fiscal issue for the Government, given it spends more than NZ$2 billion a year handing out accommodation supplements to private landlords and Income Related Rents to Housing NZ. Taxpayers throughout New Zealand already provide subsidies for more than half the rental market, and that proportion is higher in Auckland. Taxpayers in Gore will be subsidising landlords in Mt Albert at an even greater rate and (sic) rents and prices surge.”


                This is just one effect of the Auckland property market bubble. Why should taxpayers outside of Auckland subsidise landlords (including foreign landlords) who own property in Auckland?

                • Tracey

                  Actually i am not. i posted earlier in the week that we are now seeing northland and waikato homes selling above valuation as auckland investors look sewhere. today i mentioned the impact on gdp is auckland bubble bursts.

                  this is everyones problem in nz.and its impacts are spreading.

                  i dont subscribe to the end justifies the means…

                  • Ross

                    You asked: “Who was the strategy aimed at getting onside (voting for labour)?

                    1. first home buyers?
                    2. parents of first home buyers priced out of the market?
                    3. zenohobes?”

                    There was no mention of renters or taxpayers. Since you’ve now acknowledged that this issue essentially affects everyone, the issue is clearly much wider than 1, 2 or 3. And seeing as an election is more than 2 years away, I am not sure that vote gathering was the primary motivation behind this release.

                    • Tracey

                      when do you think that vote gathering begins?

                    • Tracey

                      Sorry for not having time or inclination to post every possible thought, feel free to add to the list.

                      If you want to add

                      4. altruism

                      feel free.

              • Anne

                Has trp claimed he knows what their thought processes were Tracey?

                • Tracey

                  yes Anne he has. as good as. In his attempt to shut down CV, with his skinny-esque nod nod wink wink BS.

              • Stephen

                My God, the Labour Pary playing politics, how dare they not be ideologically pure. And in opposition for ever.

              • no label

                Actually, if anybody had been paying attention during the last election campaign, they would have noticed that banning non resident ownership was a LP election platform. Twyford is just continuing with the subject. The analysis of the data, as unscientific as it may be, in the main is just a big question, a hypothesis. But sadly, to date, it is about all we have to go on. Everybody with half an ear to the ground knows that many other Nationalities are involved in this saga as well. That the Chinese have been singled out as possible candidates is for no other reason than that there are a lot of them, and that their Govt. is encouraging foreign land purchases through 0% loans.

          • Saarbo

            I can empathise with you CV, but its time to move on, Im convinced on balance Labour have done the right thing here. Auckland house price inflation is rampant and out of control and something needed to be done. Clearly 9% of our population cant be buying 40% of the houses. This house price inflation has increased Auckland rents 10% in the last year, affecting our most vulnerable and poor. This is the main issue from labour’s perspective…and I support them 100%.

            • Colonial Viper

              well, if Auckland house prices or rents (or their rate of growth) drop one whit because of this saga I will be very surprised.

      • Ron 4.1.2

        Oh come on CV maybe you have been too close to people in the party that do behave like that, but Phil Twyford is hardly in that camp.
        He has worked assiduously on the housing problem and I would put him in one of the more honest people in the party. I think it’s time you left the deep south and moved up this end of the world we have plenty of work for a good activist.

        Labour’s in the middle of running a very cynical political ploy.

        • Colonial Viper

          Well, I do respect your faith in the party as it exists now.

          However, IMO Twyford is no doubt totally thrilled that he has so much media attention for the first time in years.

          By the way, despite his ‘working assiduously’ where are Labour’s policies for making Auckland housing affordable to the average kiwi worker on $50K pa?

          • Ron

            Labour’s Policy document is up on website and their policies for last election were well known. If you want stronger policies you should stand for the policy council. We have just had a chance to nominate people for these roles.

            By the way, despite his ‘working assiduously’ where are Labour’s policies for making Auckland housing affordable to the average kiwi worker on $50K pa?

            • Colonial Viper

              No sorry, I’m not wasting more time on the Labour Party hierarchy.

              • Ron

                let me guess you are joining NACT!

                • Clemgeopin

                  More likely, 法轮功

                • Colonial Viper

                  Ron, being unwilling to donate more time and energy to a party proven willing to crap on you with a smile, is really common sense don’t you think.

                  • Clemgeopin

                    ‘a party proven willing to crap on you with a smile’

                    어떤 똥 소리 야?

              • Clemgeopin

                “I’m not wasting more time on the Labour Party hierarchy”

                But you do have plenty of time to keep putting the boot into Labour, along with the RW rogues and the ‘friendly’ Green brigade engaged in the false narrow framing of the housing issue for the last few days. Boots are cheap enough, but don’t wear them too soon. You will need them for more buncoing for another two long years at least.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Hey Clemgeopin, yes you are correct, currently I have found a shitload of time to put the boot into Labour, and I am getting ready to free more up if need be. Let’s see how it goes over the next couple of months.

                • Tracey

                  opinions are like arseholes clem, everyone has them, including you. They don’t magically change to facts or “the right view” , not matter how hard you squeeze.

                • leftie



          • Tracey

            As an Aucklander i have taken particular note of his effort over recent years on the housing problem. I think it unfair to dismiss his efforts against a disintereste dmedia backed by Nat party donors and interests.

            • Sabine

              actually I think this is what this whole screaming of racism is about.

              Phil Twyford has been at the forefront of the housing crisis. In more then one instance on Q&A he has given Nick Smith and the National Party a roasting. On more then one occasion, he has raised the issue of rumors in AKL about foreign money coming in and pricing out Aucklanders, currently this money is coming from Mainland China carried by Chinese.
              On more then one occasion he has asked people to come forward with any information they have that could help shine a light on who buys what in NZ, as National has steadfastly refused to even just talk about it.

              As for racism, there was a fair bit of verbal racism going on here on the Standard in regards to the crisis in Greece, both the Greek and the Germans got their fair share. But I guess that’s acceptable, because…..fill in the blanks.

              • Tracey

                I agree

                Until it was framed in a potentially (or actually) racist way it didn’t get this kind of traction… that is a sad commentary on some in LP and some MSM and kiwis. Its very National-esque. Some will be happy cos they think LP should do whatever it takes to win.

                the racism in the context of Germany and Greece has been challenged and addressed by some in those threads Sabine. Any suggestion it hasn’t can be refuted by a simple search.

              • Colonial Viper

                . On more then one occasion, he has raised the issue of rumors in AKL about foreign money coming in and pricing out Aucklanders, currently this money is coming from Mainland China carried by Chinese.

                i’m doing my broken record routine I know, but which class of Aucklanders exactly are being priced out of the market by foreign money coming in?

                The average Kiwi worker on $50K pa? Or the average Maori or Pasifika worker on $40K pa? Or the comfortable middle classes tired of being out bid by Chinese on the $800K Onehunga villa?

                Of course, the answer is the latter, and that is who Labour is standing up so courageously for.

                • That’s an interesting point.

                  I’m not an expert on housing markets but one possibility is that prices at the top of the range have a knock-on effect all the way down the price range. In that case, house price increases (and rentals) at the bottom would be connected to those at the top.

                  Then again, I’ve heard some comment to the effect that the ‘top end’ is a market unto itself and tends not to follow the broader market (e.g., often being quite insulated from it during economic downturns).

                  • RedLogix

                    It is true that the top of the market is always more volatile, for the simple reason that the volumes are so much lower. But it isn’t entirely disconnected from the rest of the market either.

                    If that were completely true we would not be having this discussion – there would still be houses ordinary people could buy for 3-5 times a median income – ie in the $200 – 400k range. And that isn’t the case.

                  • Brendon Harre

                    Puddlegum there is some evidence the bottom 25% median multiple figure has moved up more than even the median -50% figure. Intuitively this makes sense. In Auckland 60% of the value of a house is in the land. So what used to be an old clapped out fixer uppers are now $1million villas well out of the league of the young and/or below averagely paid.

                • sabine

                  you know what CV i am so very fucking over you.

                  Onehunga, i lived there…for many many fucking years. And you know what, most of the villas there did not cost 800.000 a few years ago. In fact, Onehunga was considered a slum until recently where people could rent a three bedroom for 350 a fucking week.

                  so get of yer horse mate, cause you are no more offended then I am everytime someone asks me about the stuff my grandfathers did in the second world war in Germany.

                  As a matter of fact, we are all being outpriced. Full stop. you can sell your house in AKL and not be able to buy another the next day cause prices go up by a grand a fucking day!

                  So shove your fake concern for the earners under 50.000 grand, because we have given up buying a house for a while now. Thanks to the new lending rules of National.

                  go support the greens. but you know what, they have done shit in the last year. The only thing they have to show for is a fucking cycleway that those that earn less then your precious 50.000 pa. will never use for lack of vacation and money.

                  By all that is holy, how can you be okai with having your country sold to the highest bidder (fregardless of where they come from, cause frankly they could come from Timbuktu and it would still not be rigth), while we are having more and more people living rough, have people die of diseases that are cold and damp related, why we have children that move houses before they even have memorised their effn address and we are supporting People with an Accomodation supplement because they can’t afford to fucking rent a dump that will kill them in the end.

                  So go scream racist, and rubbish Labour and fucking realise that you are part of the fucking problem.

                  • Chooky

                    +100 Sabine

                  • Ron

                    +1000 Sabine.

                  • Red Blooded

                    Well said Sabine. Two thumbs up.

                  • Tracey

                    when did CV say he is happy to have unrestricted foreign ownership of property in NZ? I read him as saying the opposite.

                    I agree with you that the Auckland issue is spreading fast and is not just a problem of the wealthy….

                    the growth of million dollar subribs in Auckland is frightening… and it’s spreading, fast… incluidng beginning into Northland and Waikato…

                    • Naki man

                      “the growth of million dollar subribs in Auckland is frightening… and it’s spreading, fast… incluidng beginning into Northland and Waikato…”

                      Were are the million dollar suburbs in Waikato?

                    • Thom Pietersen

                      No he hasn’t – just obfuscating the debate for his own agenda.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Well Sabine, scapegoat foreigners all you want if it makes you feel better, but banning foreign ownership is not going to bring that Onehunga villa back under $800K, and the Auckland housing bubble has been blowing up since 2001/2002 and Labour was absolutely fine with it.

                    We here on the Standard have far more radical and necessary ideas for affordable healthy housing in NZ than Labour could ever accept in its neoliberal pro-capitalist core, so tinkering around the edges is all they will ever do. Labour will never confront the banks and will never confront the big property speculators. They couldn’t even hold firm by their CGT for godssakes.

                    But you know what, I live in a city where the average house price is just $290,000, and I get to drive from work to home in 9 minutes, so maybe I will take your advice and leave you Aucklanders to go look after your own mess.

                  • Weepus beard

                    Nice rant Sabine. I enjoyed that!

                  • leftie



                  • Saarbo

                    Hear fuckin Hear Sabine.

                  • RedLogix


                    Too far. CV is making a fair point. It’s not one I wholly agree with, but I can see why it is important to him.

                    This is one tough debate and we’d do better if we did our best not to make it more personal than it already is.

                    If I had seen this earlier I may well have moderated your comment – not to delete or ban – but to suggest you have a think about where your tone takes us.

                    Yup – lots of exasperation on all sides, but it’s still something we can all learn from.

                    • Good comment. I’m sorry for my personal attacks red.

                      I’ve appreciated CV’s posts on this tough subject.

                    • Brendon Harre

                      We all hear that CV feels offended and I am sure none of us want him to suffer any misery from racist abuse as a consequence of Labour reporting there is evidence that Chinese people are buying 40% of Auckland houses yet are only 9% of the community.

                      But surely Sabine is right. The greater harm is we are being priced out of our country. The whole housing price/rent curve has made a dramatic leap in unaffordability.

                      FHB who when house prices were lower in relation in income could have bought a home now cannot. Renters who would have comfortably rented their own place are now sharing accommodation, maybe living in over crowded cold damp illness causing living arrangements. Some now have been priced out of the formal housing market completely. Now they are living in caravans, sheds, garages or even under bridges….

                      In a hierarchy of needs -shelter is right near the top.

                      CV thinks putting a stop to foreigner buyers will not cure this problem. I think it would help. Sure other reforms are needed too. But not to address the foreign buyer factor would make reforming the housing market even harder.

                • Tracey

                  I take your point CV BUT it is spreading VERY quickly

                  When Mt Wellington properties, Royal Oak and the like are going for over 1m the average kiwi is being priced out of the market CV,

                  “Auckland now has 36 suburbs with an average house price of more than $1 million – that’s 22 per cent of the city’s 157 suburbs…13 other suburbs have an average house price of $900,00 or more and are poised to enter the club” March 2015 Herald

                  and it is spreading VERY quickly

                  “The number of million-dollar Auckland suburbs has jumped to 31” Dec 2014 Herald

                  “Herne bay first hit the million-dollar mark in 2003 and is tipped to make it to $2m next year. Nearby St Marys Bay followed in December 2004, then Parnell in April 2005. The number increased throughout the property boom, reaching 10 suburbs by February 2008”

                  17 suburbs hit the average million mark by May 2013…

                  “”Even some of the traditionally more affordable suburbs such as Otahuhu, Mangere, Manurewa, Glen Eden, Ranui and Helensville have average values over $400,000 now,” she said.” Dec 2014

                  so, that is some proof to support TRP’s claim the boom started in 2013.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    we’ve been disempowering labour and wages, and empowering financial capital and speculation, for decades now. And when massive amounts of financial capital decide to treat houses as a financial asset to maximise investment returns from, and NZ has structured its taxation system for years to encourage this, this is what you get.

                • “i’m doing my broken record routine I know, but which class of Aucklanders exactly are being priced out of the market by foreign money coming in?

                  The average Kiwi worker on $50K pa? Or the average Maori or Pasifika worker on $40K pa? Or the comfortable middle classes tired of being out bid by Chinese on the $800K Onehunga villa?

                  Of course, the answer is the latter, and that is who Labour is standing up so courageously for.”

                  Mate, you are so completely wrong. Workers on $50k or less have no chance whatsoever. So, to answer your question, they are the class that is being priced out. Some of the middle class can still compete, but the working class are completely shut out. Think it through, man. There just aren’t any houses for people in that income bracket at all.

                  Do a bit of research on Realestate.co.nz. It’s frightening how few houses there are under $500k. This in a city of a million plus people.

                  There needs to be a two pronged approach; cool the market, build more houses. Nothing else will work.

                  • Weepus beard

                    Yep. Frighteningly stupid from CV but then he’s on an anti-Labour crusade, so it looks like nothing will stop him. Even facts.

          • te reo putake

            I not sure why you persist in this strawman argument, CV. They are two related but separate issues. You know full well that Labour are committed to a house building program geared to the lower end of the market. But that is still not going to be ‘affordable’, not least because you’re out of touch on what most Kiwi workers earn. Clue, it ain’t $50 k pa. The median wage is way lower than that.

            So there are two problems; the rise in the prices of existing housing stock and the separate issue of building new houses. A significant problem in Ak is geography. There just isn’t the land available in a narrow isthmus. It’s got to the point where Wellsford at one end and Waikato at the other are now regarded as part of the commuter belt. The new housing supply issues are not easy to solve when there is little land available to build on and a section costs as much as the house.

            However, the ridiculous, speculative rises in the cost of existing stock can be moderated. An instant stop on the flow of overseas money is the simple answer. That won’t bring prices down, but it will put a brake on the current acceleration. And if we can steady the market in Auckland then that opens up the opportunity to focus on building.

            The other part of the equation is this; why Auckland? We need to build in the provinces, not in the urban centres. That’s where we can build genuinely affordable housing. But that needs a focus on jobs too.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              That won’t bring prices down

              A genuine bubble will burst of its own accord, and rightly so. Are Auckland house/land values a bubble at all?

              • Tracey

                auckland central has been in a bubble since I entered the market in 1991 (not sayi git is down to me, just that is when I bought my first property)… and hasn’t seen a house value drop in that time.

                Auckland central includes areas like

                Remuera, Parnell, Herne Bay, Ponsonby, Mt Eden, Epsom, Mt Albert

                • lprent

                  Yep. In 56 years mostly living here. I have never seen them fall after the 1960s move out into the North Shore suburbia.

                  However the prices usually flatten out for 4-5 years after a 1-3 year burst in prices (when you look at it without inflation). That is a true shortage issue. People prefer to not have to commute too far, and they prefer to have the reliable public transport (from buses to taxis) that happens in the inner suburbs. They are willing to pay for that.

                  That is why those are the areas with lots of in-fill housing where possible (Mt Albert nearly doubled the bedrooms in the 1990s and early 2000s). And why the apartment blocks are springing up all the way through there that conform to the planning limits (ie 7 stories in the CBD – not 7 stories in Kingsland).

                  I can’t see that changing any time soon.

              • cricklewood

                It’s very debatable, the owner of a large agency whom I did a little work for told me a couple of years ago that I should go into property as Auckland was well undervalued when compared with major cities around the world. He also said that due to the geographical nature of Auckland the prices in the most central suburbs would explode due to the transport issues which would in turn drive prices in suburbs near the city etc.
                His other argument was that Auckland had reached a point where it was such an economic hub that it would continue to grow and attract migrants effectively exponentially.
                I believe his parting words on the subject were along the lines of… it isn’t a matter of how much prices rise but how fast….

            • Sabine

              that last paragraph,

              why not need to build up the provinces.

              Gosh, I wish that that would be happening.

              I know quite a few people that would not live in AKL if they could find jobs elsewhere. And I am sure, a few people would not migrate into AKL if they could find jobs where they live.

            • Sabine

              I just hope that all those that are so offended by the releasing of the list and Labours Action, will write a letter to the editor, the National Party, Barfoot & Thompson and ask nicely and politly that someone please make available the information as to who buys what in NZ and for how much money.

              Because the rumors / hush hush comments about Chinese buying up Auckland have been there now for over two years.
              So I guess that was racist then too, because of course all those that lost a bidding to a chinese – be it in meatspace or on the telephone – could have been a NZ Chinese.

              Little anecdote about the house that sold three times in one year.

              The first owner a NZ Chinese Family who moved away to down size now that the kids are gone.
              The next owner ….who knows, they never moved in.
              The next owner, who knows, they tenanted the house out – but these moved after 4 month of living there, because the house went up for sale again.

              The viewers of the property? Chinese. The real estate agents showing the property? Chinese.
              One indian family that came to look at the house, laughed at the price, had a coffee and left.
              No Pakeha Families came and no Maori or Pacific Islander came for house viewing.

              Now you see I can’t say that the chinese were all NZ Chinese or mainland Chinese. I can however state a few of them came with translators, smoked like chimneys and spoke no english what so ever, and I would strongly assume that they were Not NZ Kiwis, maybe newly migrated Permanent Residence Holders, but maybe just Mainland / Hong Kong Chinese looking to invest their money in a market that allows them to do so without any difficulty.

              Oh, btw. The house sold again.

              This has happened many many times in my neighborhood. And resentment is growing. People are getting pissed of, that they can’t get housing in the city they and their families have lived since 4-5 generations. The issue needed to be raised. And national was not helping, and the Greens were not helping, and the only other one who raised the Issue was Winston Peters and he got the racist card too.
              So all those that are worried, and anxious about the happenings are racists. Great.
              Lets just shut down the debate, and watch houses sell for prices that no Kiwi will ever be able to afford.

              So personally I am very very happy that the information leaked was made public. Maybe now, we can go past the….Just move out of Auckland if ya can’t afford it, and the Fuckn Try harder if ya can’t afford it, or the its not a human right to get housing and so on and so on. Maybe we can just get on with it now, and look at solutions to the problem, before it really explodes.

              • Tracey

                you know labour, or anyone could purchase the database real estate agents use to get that information OR got it from an agent happy to share the info (not in breach of any contract, say, their own agency)…

              • Jenny Kirk

                +1000% Sabine

            • Colonial Viper

              The other part of the equation is this; why Auckland? We need to build in the provinces, not in the urban centres. That’s where we can build genuinely affordable housing. But that needs a focus on jobs too.

              100% agree, TRP

      • Anno1701 4.1.3

        because were all racist out west are we ?

      • mickysavage 4.1.4

        Let’s see if their throwing of this red meat out to Waitakere Man (and Woman) works for them

        Gross generalisation of westies 😀

    • Roflcopter 4.2

      Looks like it’s open season on business data being acquired through nefarious means, as long as someone thinks it’s in the people’s interest.

      [lprent: Oh righteous and hypocritical defender of data – I didn’t see you doing anything apart from chuckling when it was revealed that Cameron Slater and others had illegally extracted data from the Labour party website.

      Your silence when Cameron Slater and some unknown “funder” were trying to get someone to hack into this site was noticeable. Or the way that Blomfield’s personal and work data was stolen and given to Cameron Slater as a kernel to fabricate defamatory posts from.

      You appear to be a very selective hypocrite.

      You will note in this case that there has been a immediate penalty extracted, and I’d expect there is likely to be further consequences further downstream.

      Meanwhile Cameron’s relationship with his mates in the National government still appear to be protecting Slater from the consequences of his thefts and attempted thefts of data. ]

      • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.1

        Yes. They’re called the NSA.

      • dukeofurl 4.2.2

        Another one is called Whaleoil, who with help from the 9th floor of the beehive accessed ( a poorly protected) labour party computer server and REMOVED confidential database, plus used a computer expert to make it into a readable form.

        • Roflcopter

          And all the previous (and future) gnashing of teeth and demands for prosecutions over that are now rendered null-and-void.

          • lprent

            Nope. They simply take more time for John Key’s friends compared to John Key’s opponents.

            If (as I rather suspect) the police fail to bring a prosecution against Cameron for trying to pay someone to hack my computers, I’ll organise for a private prosecution, followed by a civil case.

          • Tracey

            The LP requested/paid for the information? Peter Thopmspn says it was released to media a political officials.

            • dukeofurl

              He knows this how ?

              Peter Thompson is just covering his backside. They have identified an employee. They dont know that persons links with others? Unless GCSB was on the job!

      • Kevin 4.2.3

        Ethics aside, according to what I’ve read the data was made publicly available on the Labour party website by mistake. There was no hacking or anything illegal involved.

        And in such a case I would have no problem with someone like Nicky Hagar using such data to attack National even if the data was made publicly available by mistake

        • Bob

          +1 Kevin, lprent thinks that if he says “illegally extracted” enough it will become true, Cameron Slater extracted data that was publicly viewable (if you knew where to look, how he came to know where to look is a different story…). If anything, Labour may have acted illegally under the Principle 5a of the Privacy Act.
          The data the Labour party used was extracted by an employee against the terms of their employment leaving the person unemployed.
          What Cameron did wasn’t illegal and had no consequences, the Barfoot and Thompson worker did something which may have been illegal (under Principle 10 of the Privacy Act) and got fired.

          I can understand the anger around how Cameron Slater found out about the information, but the lack of outrage at the Labour Party on this and their lack of remorse for the worker is borderline laughable!

        • Tracey

          dont leave a window open when you are not home Kevin… cos it won’t be theft if you are burgled

    • weka 4.3

      So have individual buyer names been published? Can someone please link?

    • Macro 4.4

      So are you jumping up and down about this?
      Is it ok for the cops?

      • tinfoilhat 4.4.1

        Absolutely macro – another outrageous breech of personal rights

        • dukeofurl

          They went to airlines requesting Hagers previous travel information after they raided his house.

      • Roflcopter 4.4.2

        They didn’t steal it, they asked for it…

        Any business stupid enough to comply, without asking for the proper authority, should be fucking shot.

  5. ankerawshark 5

    To the Whistle blower. I can’t thank you enough for the service you have done.

    I am really convinced that you would not have done this, if you didn’t have significant concern about overseas investors buying our housing. The fact that someone was prepared to blow the whistle is yet more evidence that the data supplied is meaningful.

    You are a hero.

    And my thanks to Phil Twyford who has worked tirelessly on the problems facing the Auckland housing market. He is copping flack at the moment which I think is extremely unfair. I guess its called shooting the messenger.

    Very best wishes with you job search. If I was an employer living in Auckland I would be looking to recruit you. Any Standard readers in that position??

    Well done Mr/Ms Whistleblower. Kia Kaha.

    • Roflcopter 5.1

      Who would employ someone, who at the first sign of not agreeing with some information within a business, steals it and shops it out to media/politicians?

      • Ron 5.1.1

        not stealing it is public information and in no way has she/he deprived the firm of the information.

        • Tracey

          Hang on, there is a confidentiality clause in most employment contracts. While some may make an argument for breaking that confidentiality let’s not pretend it doesn’t exist.

          • te reo putake

            Dead right, Tracey. That’s why I mentioned the known possibility of dismissal in the post. But I really, really hope B&T stuffed up the process and the whistleblower gets to take a PG anyway. I’m mean like that 😉

          • Ron

            But it is still not stealing. The law quite clearly defines what stealing is and photocopying some papers does not meet that definition. Yes the person may have signed a contract and may have breached that contract but that is purely a civil matter and it is not stealing. Please let us not redefine the law just so we can make some sort of case that Labour received stolen property. Bit like calling Hager as a political author so a judge would issue a warrant whereas if he was correctly defined as a journalist the chances of getting a warrant would be slim.

            • Tracey

              a civil law is still a law Ron. I am not saying Labour stole the information. I am saying if they knew where it came from, they would know there was a contractual confidentiality obligation. In those circumstances they were happy to take information wrongfully obtained… and they sit in Parliament and pass legislation…

              of course if the information was not given to them by the source (as he now claims) they still had an obligation to check the veracity (which Twyford says they did)… which means they checked it against something?

              • Ron

                Sheesh. There is no civil law the breach of contract if it occurred would require a private prosecution. The firm had already said they would not be involving police. Not surprisingly. If they tried any form of prosecution for using the firms photocopier which is about the only offence that I can see they would give the possibility of having to open up their records to the defence. That could probe embarrassing especially if there was correspondence between National and the firm.
                I am sure they will want to bury this matter quickly

      • Hanswurst 5.1.2

        How do you know it was the first sign?

      • Macro 5.1.3

        And what about this then?
        How about getting your knickers in a twist about this.

        • dukeofurl

          Have B&T previously provided the media figures about whether any buyers from overseas were distorting the market ?

          “Auckland properties sold by the city’s biggest agency, Barfoot & Thompson, hit a new all-time high of $756,909, up $20,671 in just 30 days.”
          Dec3 2014

          The number of foreign investors buying up prime Northland properties has eased since the global financial crisis hit, a Whangarei real estate agent says.

          “The percentage of overseas buyers is less than actually perceived,” said Barfoot and Thompson branch manager Martin Dear. Jul 31 2013

          So its clear barfoot & Thompson are HAPPY to release numbers to media when it suits their business

          • Bob

            “barfoot & Thompson are HAPPY to release numbers to media when it suits their business”
            Of course they are, it’s their information, and as a company they can choose to release what they want, when they want!

            You may be a millionaire and be happy to tell everyone about it, does that give your accountant the right to give all of your bank transactions out to anyone that asks?

          • Dave_1924

            Numbers, trends, not individual transactions identifying the buyer… a tad different don’t you think

            • McFlock

              Not even numbers – just “less than people perceived” from the Northland branch manager.

              In fact, waxing lyrical about Auckland city’s dollar numbers and then switching to a vague description of Northland’s market makes me suspicious about what they’re hiding.

              It’s akin to asking the fox to freely share how many chickens it eats in order to see if there’s a problem in the hen house.

    • Skinny 5.2

      As a former whistle blower against the state, I hope they have something dodgy they can hang on either B & T or clients. Then the serious fraud office, IRD and the spy agencies can move in and have a bloody good poke around. There is no question that mainland Chinese criminals are cleaning dirty money in international property market s, and mostly likely here.

      Perhaps activists should apply the blow torch and start a petition and present it to the
      Chinese Embassy, calling for the Chinese Government to investigate all property transactions by it’s nationals here. The premier of China wants to stamp out money laundering by criminals let’s test him.

      • Hanswurst 5.2.1

        Money laundering? How do Labour’s data show any of that?

        • Skinny

          Hey smart arse stop the silly stuff by tagging any data as being Labour’s.

          I read a post on f/b from a former real estate agent recently who was wanting to contact someone in the political ranks to pass on some dodgy info. All sorts of shit comes out when one person is brave enough to blow the whistle. Watch this space.

          • Hanswurst

            Back off, mate. This issue arose because of Labour’s use of data they got from B & T. I wasn’t aware that there was any indication of money-laundering within that data-set. Nor am I comfortable with the idea of investigating individuals for criminal activity simply because they *probably* made legal purchase of something you don’t want them to have. I am even less comfortable with it when it is based on the probability that they belong to a particular ethnic group. Of course, if you have other data, please do share. If you don’t, then I honestly can’t understand your affront at being asked how you got from the minimal publicly available information to some fairly far-fetched assumptions.

            I don’t see anything smart-arsed about that.

      • Tracey 5.2.2

        Wow you are making some BIG leaps.

      • marty mars 5.2.3

        lol they could follow these ‘different’ looking people with the chinese surnames home or their surrogates and do an Urewera Terror raid on them – oh dear just remembered Labour authorised that didn’t they…

        • te reo putake

          No, Labour didn’t authorise the raids. The Police authorised the raids.

        • Skinny

          Actually Marty as I recall the Chinese regime alerted Key that they are wanting to crack down on Chinese criminals operating in foreign countries like New Zealand.
          They have clamped down on the washing of dirty money through casinos in Macau. http://www.livedealer.org/blog/2015/05/why-macau-casino-revenues-are-crumbling
          So the wash just moves on to foreign property investing. So yeah may aswell put our spooks to work in the best interests of New Zealand and for good China relations.

          • marty mars

            “So yeah may aswell put our spooks to work in the best interests of New Zealand and for good China relations.”

            lol – good on you skinny for that belly laugh – it is good to lighten the mood every now and then

            • Skinny

              Marty you don’t understand politics son. This is an opportunity to widen the issue out, everyone gets a fair crack of the sav, even your (Sellout Mana) new coalition partner the Tory-Maori Party have whimpered and sighted racism against Maori.

              Expect big hitters like Winston Peters to be gathering intel on sketchy property transactions and launching into Nact when the Parliament sits again next week. Now if anything in the least bit dodgy comes out? the opposition party’s can band together with the support of the public in demanding a full inquiry into foreign investment in New Zealand property. This is what brings Governments down and this is what National are very afraid of.

              • yeah I do dad – “the opposition party’s can band together with the support of the public in demanding a full inquiry into foreign investment in New Zealand property” – my goodness is that the masterplan – maybe I should call you Dr Evil you’re so cunning lol

  6. Bill 6

    For releasing info that could only ever be anecdotal evidence to add to other anecdotal evidence, (one real estate agent that may have been specialising somewhat in Chinese clients)…

    For occasioning the NZ Labour Party to roll over and present a racist belly for the more general NZ left to tickle…

    Yup. Thanks.

    • lprent 6.1

      one real estate agent that may have been specialising somewhat in Chinese clients

      If this company were doing ALL purchases from this group, and did 45% of the sales for Auckland for this period, then the percentage drops to a merely worrisome level – not to an innocuous level.

      But since your worst case scenario is highly unlikely, then the inequity moves back up to an alarming level.

      But I guess you will ignore that – right?

      I suspect that once we get some better public statistical data about purchasing of Auckland residential housing with countries of origin, we are going to find that the problem of excessive overseas investment in Auckland is a whole lot bigger than just this identifiable group of probably chinese names.

      They just happen to be the biggest group of incoming money at present. We have long needed some better control on overseas purchases of residential property as investments. It massively distorts our local markets.

      I’m still astonished with the obvious split running between people who actually live in Auckland and those from other parts of the country over this issue. I guess they have the luxury of not having to try to buy homes up here.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        we are going to find that the problem of excessive overseas investment in Auckland is a whole lot bigger than just this identifiable group of probably chinese names. They just happen to be the biggest group of incoming money at present.

        Labour should have been broadening the discussion in just this way from day one. But that’s not the media coverage they wanted.

        • lprent

          That usually depends on what the media chooses to report doesn’t it.

          I haven’t noticed Labour going off and hammering the Chinese/racism aspect. I have noticed the NZ Herald, Mary Wilson last night, you, and others doing it quite a lot.

          Unfortunately, a political party cannot “control” a message. All they can do is to keep repeating their message while others try to distort it.

          • Colonial Viper

            Once it gets to the sound bite phase, yes the MSM does control the framing.

            But Twyford had an extended TV interview on on day one of the media strategy and he deliberately narrowed the discussion down to a preponderance of Chinese names on a list. He could have easily developed a broader framing than the one he presented. Economic sovereignty – Hot money flows seeking save havens – Market effects of high levels of immigration.

            My test for Labour now is their follow up in terms of gutsy policy programmes in this area. They need to offer far more than drop a media bomb and ask for “more data.”

            • Tracey

              Yup, he could easily have said this is in danger of turning nasty and racist if the REAL issues aren’t dealt with… that people are wrongly singling out Chinese, when that is only one symptom of a great big problem. Looks like LP has decided it is time to fight national, National’s way.

              • Exactly – they could have used the dubious data in the opposite way to actually fight racism and bring the issue into the sunlight but oh no, wouldn’t get a certain vote that way.

                • Tracey

                  That’s what it looks like to me. They just joined the National party way of winning…

              • Dave_1924

                Liking your comments on this topic Tracey. Labour have taken a dangerous step highlighting “chinese” as they did from the start.

                When the inevitable but that’s racist responses came they didn’t step back and say mea culpa we understand it could be seen that way, they just plowed on.

                Not a good look for the champions of equality in all areas

            • Olwyn

              My test for Labour now is their follow up in terms of gutsy policy programmes in this area. They need to offer far more than drop a media bomb and ask for “more data.”

              I am with you on this. I have not joined in with the cries of racism for mentioning Chinese names, given the lack of data. However, the failure to come up with convincing programs now would leave the move looking like another tired exercise in triangulation. And pointing to $5-600,000 townhouses around Drury will not erase a perception of cynicism. We are all getting more and more immune to triangulation – it works on those who want to see someone else deceived, but not on its actual targets.

            • dukeofurl

              Dont you think TV media selectively edit interviews and then show only parts.

              Unless you were there during the entire taping, its a bit hard to say he “only” said this or that

          • Tracey

            yeah but in fairness, that is what dirty politics is about… releasing the hound and then claiming it wasn’t your dog but knowing others will run the message for you cos you pressed a “hot button”.

            • lprent

              Agreed that is a well-known and well-worn tactic.

              However in this case it is hard to see how they could have released their analysis of overseas investment without having the word “chinese” in there. They found a very high correlation of residential property purchase with the probability of having a chinese surname, far in excess of the local population. They didn’t find anything like such a correlation for any other other factor.

              They were looking at 45% of the residential sales during a 3 month period. That makes it statistically valid as the probability of the result being a false positive is miniscule. This is basic statistics.

              It is exactly the same as saying that the enormously high probability of a prison inmate being Maori indicates that there is an problem with something in society. Or that a woman having a child while in their teens will probably reduce their lifetime earnings dramatically.

              • Tracey

                not disputing use of word chinese but framing and focus on german/dutch/afrikaans for example and publishing those names too?

                • Ross

                  As far as I know, the real estate agent supplied certain information. I presume he didn’t supply any information regarding other ethnicities. Labour worked with what they had.

                  Relatedly, the same debate has been had in Canada, and one Chinese immigrant there thinks it’s wrong to be calling it racism.


                • lprent

                  There are several problems with that particular viewpoint. The biggest is that in the last 30 years, I haven’t seen signs of massive and widespread investment in Auckland housing by non-resident overseas investors.

                  This was just a 3 month snapshot in the data, so it would have been whatever was being purchased in that time frame.

                  The big influxes from SA is long over. If there was data going back over the last two decades, then yes, you’d have seen purchasing spikes during the sustained *immigration* from SA. But they would have correlated pretty well with the SA origins of people applying for residency, citizenship, or other migrant statuses.

                  It is pretty easy to see similar immigration related housing spikes coming in from different parts of the world over the last hundred years. This is how Auckland has operated as a immigration gateway during my lifetime and those back to my great-grandparents. We get price spikes when immigration outstrips housing supply. They are relatively short lasting a few years before either the local ability to pay the higher prices gets lost (ie runs out or mortgage finance) or the housing supply increases.

                  But non-resident investment is almost entirely done without touching the local finance industry at all, but uses sources of finance that are considerably less expensive and less constrained than the local market provides. At sufficiently high levels, that triggers price speculation between overseas investors which has nothing to do with the local economic utility of the housing investment.

                  There are several key differences with this current price spike – which has been running at about 25% per annum for 4 years. It has been running for about two years longer than any sharp housing price spike has before in Auckland. As far as I am aware we aren’t anything like seeing the kinds of numbers from Asia applying for residency, citizenship, or other migrant statuses that are even in the same order as the property purchasing that Labour identified. Nor does it appear that there are vast increases in local mortgage finance to supply the demand. Nor does the steadily increase in local housing supply in the last few years make any difference to rate of growth in prices, which is what a local demand would have displayed.

                  The point is that what Labour was being looking for was the amount of foreign non-resident investment in our housing market distorting prices. That is what they found. They probably didn’t get the full extent of it because they didn’t have sufficient data to identify purchases from other parts of the world than China and the Chinese diaspora. But they identified with a high degree of certainty one very large anomaly that fitted with a pattern of overseas speculation in our property market.

                  It is clear enough, and economically damaging enough, that we need to start fixing the problem as soon as possible. As it is, it will make Auckland unsustainable as a working environment for employees within a short period of time. The housing purchase prices are now feeding heavily into the rents.

                  Unless wages rise dramatically people will not only not be able to buy in Auckland, they also won’t be able to rent. Any wage rises required to combat that will cause inflation throughout the country.

                  Sure some business will move out of Auckland as it becomes more expensive for them (commercial rents) and their employees (residential prices).

                  But it is more likely that the most productive Auckland businesses will move offshore than down country. Apart from that rarity for Auckland – a productive business catering for the NZ market.

                  • Tracey

                    but lynn the bigger central and auckland price ruses began in early 2000s. started in part by SA exodus. then having over 120k leaking homes the majority unable to sue and unable to fix means those people have to stay where they are. add in growing monied chinese class and this is a crisis slowly unfolding with no politicians, past or present prepared to address it cos of votes and impact on magical GDP. so when it began… and all those “look like us so hard to differentiate from us” SA were buying…


                    I dont know what Labour was given. I understand the information wasnt intended for them though and dont know if anyone has revealled who it was intended for.

                    I do know that B and T have just sent me a letter explaining the controversy and why its not what it seems. A direct contradiction of its letter to me in February extolling me to use them to sell my home because to get the highest price i needed their 500 chinese agents and their overseas contacts.

                  • Tracey

                    the data they released could never have revealled non resident status Lynn. IF thats what they wanted this wasnt it.

                    • lprent

                      Except that it is relatively easy to look at the electoral roll using the same correlation and get the percentages of people enrolled. Residents are both entitled to enroll and to vote, and a high proportion do. Same for the census + immigration figures which match up pretty well with roll data.

                      When you get such a massive discrepancy between two sets of data, and a third, then you know something is distorted. So far I haven’t seen a even remotely rational reason for that variance apart from the one that Phil Twyford pointed out.

                      Instead I have seen a lot of people trying to avoid looking squarely at that issue and dithering on irrelevancies when they don’t have any data to support anything they are saying. A triumph of wishful idealism and outright stupidity over examining the implications of a statistically significiant dataset.

                    • Tracey

                      “relatively easy” but not done…

                      I have never said there isn’t a housing problem that needs to be addressed. Anyone who has read my comments knows that. BUT the WAY this was done opened up a whole can of worms that could have been dealt with in a different way with different framing. I guess it is what happens when you always have to do things on a shoestring, you can’t afford the best data.

  7. cogito 7

    Barfoot & Thomson are not interested in Auckland or New Zealand.
    They are only interested in filling their pockets.

    **NZ needs more people who are prepared to stand up for KIWIS.**

    Kia Kaha.

    • Shona 7.1


      • cogito 7.2.1

        From your link: http://www.barfoot.co.nz/about-us/our-partners


        Our partnership with HouGarden puts your property in front of the Chinese market. Your property is advertised on the website, giving you exposure to non-english speaking audiences.
        •Visit the HouGarden website”

        The Hou Garden website is all in Chinese… even has lots of icons of the Chinese flag!

        • CnrJoe


          so interesting.

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          Remuera 4房 顶级名校网! 独立永久地契! 适合家庭居住的双层别墅! 议价! Quickly! Quickly! Gone! Affordable 4 beddy in …

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          • One Anonymous Bloke

            You’ll find exactly the same sort of ads on US or Brit websites. Or Swedish, for that matter.

            • Tracey

              but Barfoots are not drawing their website visitors to those ones OAB

              they didnt tell me to list with them so they could use their contacts in UK, Sweden or anywhere, they only mentioned china and the need to use them to tap into that market to get me the highest price.

            • Thom Pietersen

              Juwai.com seem to be most successful though for the local real estate agents.

    • leftie 7.3



  8. I’m glad you approached the NZ Labour Party. They had the resources to use the information you supplied in the best interests of New Zealand. They’ve paid a price too and it’s sad to see some members quit.

    I’m not glad he approached the Labour Party.

    Instead of talking about how New Zealand has virtually no restrictions on capital moving in or out of the country, and that our housing stock is vehicle for untaxed capital gains open to every investor dollar in the world, we are talking about the “yellow peril”.

    Thanks Labour. Thanks for nothing.
    And watching another round of self-mutilation by the Labour party is really disheartening.
    Although I have to note, alienating almost 10% of Auckland voters in a single day is quite an impressive feat.

    How about doing it properly next time?
    I don’t mean the data and press release, I mean just dissolve the party and get the fuck out of the way.
    You’re NOT helping

    Did the conversation between Rob and Phil go something like this; “I know, instead of trying to isolate and measure the amount of capital from overseas entering our housing market.
    Let’s track ethnicities and make assumptions about them.
    What could possibly go wrong?

    I mean really, how stupid do you have to be not to have seen this coming?

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      naturesong – here is a little secret

      Although I have to note, alienating 10% of Auckland voters in a single day is quite an impressive feat.

      Labour had already given up on winning a significant proportion of the Chinese/Asian vote in Auckland. That’s why they felt they had little to lose by “alienating” the ~9% or so of Chinese in the city.

      Thing is, Labour’s assumptions on this point are off, and I think that will become clearer to all over a few months.

      • BM 8.1.1

        If they were smart they would have had some one within Labour with Asian ancestry standing side by side with Twyford, giving the impression of a united front and nullifying the racist angle.

        Side note was Twyford born in NZ? .

        • Tracey

          why? IMO CV is right, LP isn’t going to win the so-called chinese asian vote that is upset by this. Just like Nats don’t care about upsetting low income or beneficiaries, and so bash em.

          This is what you and others have been suggesting LP do isnt it? Whatever it takes to win? I’m with CV, this was planned and alienating people who don’t vote for them was part of the cynical plan.

          Them and Us.

          LP = National Liite

          • BM

            I don’t agree with the racist hit piece I thought it was disgraceful and damaging to NZ

            Just saying if I was running it I would have had a couple of Asians New Zealanders standing next to me repeating what I was saying.

            Completely nullifies the racist angle, the media would beat you with.

            • Tracey

              agree but they didn’t and therefore if you and I could see this, so could they. Therefore they wanted this angle in the mix…

            • te reo putake

              Good point. Using people as a token defence has never backfired ever. In fact, some of my best friends are tokens.

              • BM

                I suppose there is that issue.

                Could end up looking like couple of Asian people shoved in front of a camera with guns poked in their backs.

                Looking back, the wisest choice would have not to make it about race in the first place.

                • Tracey

                  unless you were aiming for a certain constituency BM…

                  in different ways LP has done what National has done in the past… thrown a constituency they dont get votes from under a bus to nab some middle voters

        • Naturesong

          The methodology they used was always going to end here.
          Wouldn’t have mattered if they’d had the NZ Chinese association with them.

          One of the things that really bothers me is that nobody in the Labour leadership, when hearing about this, said: Hey Phil, are you sure you’re asking the right question?

          I’ve seen this so many times over the years. People asking the question about the middle of a problem, instead of asking the question that reveals the heart of the problem.

          In this case;
          What question do you need to ask that reveals the extent of the flow of overseas capital into our housing market?
          It’s true, individual Chinese nationals can buy NZ housing stock and with the amount of money sloshing around there it seems likely that some of it would end up here. And NZ housing is money for jam.
          But there’s also a lot of capital sloshing around in the UK and US too.
          Additionally, trusts, companies and individuals can all be vehicles for the transfer of capital.
          So, what question do you need to ask that reveals the extent of the flow of overseas capital into our housing market?

          Labour asked the wrong question, which means that the subsequent information retrieved from the dataset they were given doesn’t address the issue.

          So, was it (a) incompetence or (b) they were taking race baiting for a spin?
          Or (c) both.

          • Tracey

            they needed to keep demanding why the government wasn’t collecting the data, what were they hiding? accuse them of allowing people to blame “chinese” and let everything run it’s course..

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Labour didn’t ask a question: they were presented with data: a list of surnames.

            Is it possible to discuss what the data reveals without drawing some conclusions about the surnames first?

            • Naturesong

              If this was all they could get out of the data that was handed to them, then they should have decided to try something else.

              No one forced them to do this.

          • lprent

            They would have looked at the data. A third of the names would have been chinese. It would have been pretty hard to ignore. But more importantly, they wouldn’t have had any other way of highlighting the overseas purchasing. Any addresses would have been largely local because usually local things for any non-resident property owner are handled by local agents.

            So, what question do you need to ask that reveals the extent of the flow of overseas capital into our housing market?

            I am sure that they asked that question, and came to the conclusion that there was NO information available that allowed them to show that. I’m sure that you can’t find any. I know that I can’t. Because it simply doesn’t appear to exist. Not in the LINZ or the council databases or in the IRD records, or anywhere else.

            That was in fact the question that Labour was asking, and illustrating its deficiency by showing what the data available could show in Auckland highlighting the one available major blindingly obvious correlation.

            • Naturesong

              Yeah, I get that.

              But, if your preferred route A is blocked, do you go down route B (knowing it’ll be a clusterfuck), or start devising a plan to unblock route A?
              They weighed it up, and chose route B.

              Which leads me to one of the reasons I’m so gobsmacked over this; clearly they didn’t think that route B would be the clusterfuck that it is.

              • dukeofurl

                I dont get it, some say its a rough analysis but the best we could do, others say its rubbish and racist and going to lead to nasty things?

                Labour has been talking about housing affordability for two elections, they have proposed capital gains tax ( which didn’t go well) and a register of foreign buyers and now its a ban on foreign buyers. ( I may have miised other details)

                This is just part of an ongoing campaign, but you sound like you couldn’t organise a fishing trip ‘because it could be a clusterfuck’

                WE are wide open to foreign buyers ( partly because many other countries have restrictions). Time for handwringing is over Its time to act .

                • Here’s the nub of it: “WE are wide open to foreign buyers”

                  You’re looking at the wrong thing.

                  It’s about the free flow of capital.
                  If you want to get a grip on the source, you don’t look at people, you look at banks.

                  Looking at people restricts you to a single vector, i.e. it’s a cul-de-sac.

                  You need to look for the money.

                  Where’s the money?

                  Ask the banks.

                  nb. You are right, I am a terrible organiser.
                  I’ve done PM and ops jobs before and while I can do the job, there are more than enough people around that are both good at organising AND like that sort of work. I’m not one of those, unfortunately.
                  But isolate a problem, research shit, write a plan, those I can do.

              • Molly

                “But, if your preferred route A is blocked, do you go down route B (knowing it’ll be a clusterfuck), or start devising a plan to unblock route A?
                They weighed it up, and chose route B.”

                +100 Naturesong.

                The overseas investment issue has been highlighted for a few years now. Are Labour unable to use their resources and the OIA to get credible, unbiased statistics on the purchase of residential properties by overseas owners? Is there a reason this is not the approach taken?

                They could have framed this debate using robust data – and shown estimates of the amount of monies leaving the country.

                Instead we head off down yet another sidetrack because of their approach and follow up stance. And even more unfortunately, create another instance of “someone elses fault that you don’t have affordable, healthy housing in NZ” – and nothing to do with years of a hands-off approach to housing and overseas investment by successive NZ governments.

              • lprent

                As I have pointed out earlier, I think that the “clusterfuck” viewpoint tends to be one taken by some people outside of Auckland. They have the luxury of not having to find accommodation in Auckland.

                As far as I can see in the limited time available, Aucklanders have just listened, looked at the data and said roughly “Ah! that explains it”

                • The clusterfuck I’m talking about it as follows:
                  Labour targets ethnicity when it should have been looking for movement of capital.

                  In doing so it shows us a couple of things:
                  a. They are either race baiting, or they don’t understand the actual problem (it’s not Chinese people)
                  b. Labour are happy to alienate +9% of Auckland population (and currently the largest growing immigrant group) in return for … what exactly? the racist vote? (admittedly, it is likely a large constituency – also a diminishing one)

                  Conclusions I reached from watching this unfold are:
                  a. Either they are incapable of critical thought, or they just don’t understand the issue.
                  b. they don’t understand how to count votes. Because not only did they just alienate 9% of the potential vote in Auckland, every single other immigrant in NZ is now going to rethink their party vote in the next election
                  c. Labour still does not understand the political fight they’re in despite it being explained in detail in Dirty Politics. They keep expecting the main media companies to give them fair press; never going to happen. The National party has been working on media dominance since 2004 – that’s 11 years, and they’re really, really good at it now.

                  So when I say clusterfuck, what I really mean is that Labour are showing New Zealand just how incompetent they are in addressing issues and growing their constituency.

                  As far as I can see in the limited time available, Aucklanders have just listened, looked at the data and said roughly “Ah! that explains it”
                  But that’s the thing, it doesn’t really.
                  It only gives an indication of one of the symptoms (but nothing quantifiable, nothing that can be used), and ensures that the larger problem (unrestricted movement of capital into our housing markets) is obscured.

                  In short; fucking idiots.

                  But you know who would have a real handle on this?
                  Someone with past experience with foreign exchange markets, who has worked with multinational banks and who understands and can track capital movement?
                  That would be our PM. The one telling us that there is no problem because we’re not measuring it.
                  The banks will know exactly how much money is pouring in, and where it’s going. And I would bet money that John Key has the folks who know those numbers on speed dial.

                  • lprent

                    How would you identify the movement of capital going into residential property in Auckland in the available data?

                    I don’t know anyway to isolate it in the official data or for that matter in the sales data from Barfoots.

                    Essentially as far as I can see all that you are arguing is that Labour should not have raised anything about this topic. Not a particularly good way to deal with a known ongoing problem.

                    BTW: Tracking currency markets wouldn’t have helped. It doesn’t show where it is going and is usually completely obscured by many other factors.

                    • Macro

                      Agreed! I’ve been wondering how to identify precisely the level of overseas investment flowing into the Auckland Market as well. It could be easily tackled by Central Government with a requirement on purchase agreements to identify whether the purchase was being made on behalf of another, and (as in Australia) inspection of Bank Accounts for at least the previous 12 months for purchasers. If its a cash payment there needs to be certainty that this purchase in not for money laundering purposes. No problem for a cashed up buyer the inflow from a previous sale is quickly identified. But for someone who suddenly has a $1m in their account, from overseas, questions need to be asked.

                      Labour, or some other opposition party, did need to raise this matter. Its is now getting out of all proportion.

                    • lprent []

                      That is about the only mechanism I could think of as well. Opening a bank account these days requires several bits of identification – usually drivers license, passport, and utility bill.

                    • I don’t know all the answers.

                      It just seems to me that if you want to find out how much non domestic money compared to domestic money is entering a domestic market, isolating a single vector based on ethnicity while excluding others (trusts, companies, etc.) will not answer the question.

                      And given that Labour is a political party, with media that is actively hostile toward them, and combined with NZ’s history of treating Chinese immigrants I have to ask, what did they think was going to happen?

                      Currently banks are required to report large transfers of funds into and out of the country because terrorism (Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2013).
                      Unless folks are turning up to auctions with suitcases of unmarked bills, purchase money gets transferred through the bank.
                      That’s where I’d start looking.

                      So, yes, we need to talk about the problem*. We need to resolve the problem.
                      Whether Labours rather oblique way of highlighting a symptom (maybe?) of the problem will end with us as a nation having an adult conversation remains to be seen.
                      I’m not holding my breath.

                      * Liberal economic policies allowing unrestricted capital movement.

            • infused

              They could have door knocked like 3news lol… the simple things…

              • lprent

                Ah what exactly do you think that Labour has that name analysis data for? It is targeting data used for canvassing and get out the vote campaigns. It has been checked innumerable times over since the mid-90s. I have done a lot of it myself.

                It isn’t meant to be perfectly accurate, it is statistically accurate. If you don’t know what that means than I suggest you go and do some learning.

                I hardly think that 6 spot checks from TV3 are likely to give much of a check on it.

                You notice that the statistical illiterate Tova O’Brian didn’t even state how many places they actually checked? Kind of makes the data useless.

                And of course that data capture included residents and citizens. They make up about 9% of the Auckland population. It appears that they were also the ones who were home. This also doesn’t surprise me. People who are buying form offshore typically are living in hotels when they buy or have agents.

      • Ron 8.1.2

        I doubt if the Asian market is in the slightest bit interested in Labour or Greens or any party other than National at present.
        I took a group of Labour people to the Chinese & Korean day last year in Northcote Shopping area. If you do not know this area it is a large Asian precinct of shops.
        They people there were polite but they only wanted one thing to meet John Key and his cohort.
        Interesting when Helen was in charge I witnessed the same thing with Labour politicians. It was pretty easy to deduce that what the people wanted was to be on good terms with whoever was in power. Talking to some of them they did not understand our politics at all and were not especially interested. They knew that Key was the boss and that’s who they wanted to meet. So I do not think that Asians will care much about Labour until they hold the reigns of power. I don ‘t think this is terribly surprising I am sure a lot of people are similar inclined.

        Labour had already given up on winning a significant proportion of the Chinese/Asian vote in Auckland.

    • maui 8.2

      Labour has been talking Capital Gains Tax for the past two elections, No? Do they really want to bring that one up again after the dismal failure of it in Sept 2014.

      Assuming that Auckland’s Chinese citizens/residents now hate Labour because their foreign counterparts are being blamed for property price rises I think is quite a stretch.

      • Naturesong 8.2.1

        Couple of questions for you.

        In your head, does “Hate” (v. feel intense dislike for.) mean the same thing as “Alienate” (v. make (someone) feel isolated or estranged)?

        And, did you realise that as recently as 8 weeks ago, Labour won the argument on C.G.T.? (RNZ – 17 May, Stuff – May 21)?

        Why did they not try to build on their success? <– this is a rhetorical question. It's clear that their recent foray into trying to scare middle aged white people was Labour trying to do just that.

        • maui

          Ok, hate may have been a bit strong, I was just going by your general tone of comment.

          I’m not sure if Labour has won the CGT argument, I see National profiting from it, and it has been all pain for Labour to get to this point.

          • Naturesong

            Labour did some work in this area, they did need to keep pushing the fact that National are implementing Labour policies, and that they (National) are screwing them up.

            With this, I believe they’ve just set themselves back an entire election.

            • Colonial Viper

              With this, I believe they’ve just set themselves back an entire election.

              I think this fact will be briefly obscured by a short term poll bump 0% to 3%.

    • Thom Pietersen 8.3

      When was the yellow peril mentioned? Anyway I thought that was about Grandad’s Nips during the war? ‘Asian invasion’ was the term used in my provincial town 25 years ago, but we didn’t worry about it too much ’cause they all lived up in Jafaville. A bit patronising really. I think we’ve moved on – I can actually see you frothing at the mouth.

  9. Sable 9

    Seems being honest is punished not rewarded. We see this here and elsewhere in the so called “civilized” world.

    • Tracey 9.1

      Couldn’t they have just released the data and not all the names which were then plastered over the media?

    • The Lone Haranguer 9.2

      Are you suggesting that pinching a company’s private info (most likely against something s/he signed in his/her employment contract – hence the dismissal) is “being honest?”

      I find your sense of morality quite peculiar.

      Labour have shot themselves in the foot with this lot, and its doubly disappointing given that Phil Twyford had been one of the better performers for Labour & will be silenced for some time, till the heat is gone out of his comments.

      And a quick one for the tinfoil hat wearers – how active were the Chinese in the latest dairy auction? Are we being punished already?

      • Sable 9.2.1

        Sorry mate no time for Tory hecklers. Back to whale oil with you.

        • The Lone Haranguer

          Sable, thats mighty unfriendly of you to try and send me there.

          Whatever happened to the inclusive world that you are trying to build, where we can all get along, tho being different?

          Sending me off from “Your” sandpit, when really its Mr Prentices sandpit, is bordering upon bullying – or is bullying okay and acceptable if you dont like the cut of the other guys politics, or the country he comes from?

  10. Planet Earth 10

    Divulging a private company’s private data to media/political parties whilst being an employee of that company = doing God’s work.
    Accessing an unsecured database of a poilitical party’s donors = crime of the century.

    Thanks, I think I’ve got it now.

    • maui 10.1

      So you go and jump on your neighbours computer and download personal info off it all the time I’m guessing? Just because they’re unaware and they don’t have a password.

      I’m not sure if you have an idea of doing a public service.

      • Planet Earth 10.1.1

        No I don’t, and “I’m not sure if you have an idea of” hypocrisy.

        • maui

          The old hacking into Labour’s computer “public service”. When will the fruits of said hacking be put infront of the public – without a non-malevolent motive that is!

    • Tracey 10.2

      can you post the link to your comments here condemning slater and Ede’s accessing of data from LP site and attempts to hack this site? TIA

      • te reo putake 10.2.1

        Good luck with that request, Tracey! The faux outrage from the right is a wonderful thing to behold. Can’t wait to throw some of it back at them next time the Key Government and its minions cross the line. I bet I’m not waiting long.

        • Tracey

          Yes, the pretending to ahor racism is amusing… especially after only a couple of weeks ago introducing legislation to deprive iwi of their land rights… but then that was about money not race I suppose.

          • The Lone Haranguer

            As “part of the right” I object to the legislated theft of the Iwi land rights.

            Partly as its an injustice, and partly because a Government who can legislate away Iwi property rights, can also legislate away my personal property rights.

            • Tracey

              and the Maori arty is outraged, right? Has Tariana Turia been interviewed? Afterall this was what split her from the LP and led to forming MParty… and yet… they don’t seem to feel betrayed?

              • The Lone Haranguer

                I must confess that I find the Maori Partys silence unexplainable.

                I think all people should be deeply concerned when legislated property theft is offered as a solution to a “problem” for Government.

                To quote Niemoller
                First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
                Because I was not a Socialist.
                Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
                Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
                Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
                Because I was not a Jew.
                Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

        • Kevin

          I’m finding it hard to think of an example where the government crossed the line. The Orewa speech I suppose, but that wasn’t the current governmen, was it? And I also vaguely remember the government ordering the cops to bash some people protesting against China, which I thought crossed the line. But was that National or Labour who did that?

          • cogito

            Jenny Shipley deployed buses to protect the Chinese leader from protesters.

            This bit is interesting: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=137963

            “In evidence to a select committee examining protests during Mr Jiang’s state visit last year, Inspector Tom Stenhouse, the head of the Diplomatic Protection Squad, said Chinese officials said it was “a requirement” the President neither saw nor heard protesters.”

            Moral: **Never criticise the Chinese….**

            • dukeofurl

              Are you saying Chinese officials were able to direct the police operations.

              And what would happen?. He would pack up and go home if he ‘saw a protester’

      • Planet Earth 10.2.2

        Don’t need a link, I here and now condemn Slater and Ede’s accessing of LP data. I also condemn B&T employee’s leak of private data. Which do you condemn Tracey, either or both? Violation of privacy is violation of privacy, and hypocrisy is hypocrisy.

        • Tracey


          and have done, past and present on this site.

        • Tracey

          but you only took the time to post your condemnation of the present issue, not the past?

          • Planet Earth

            Correct – my point is/was that both issues are black, and the OP shouldn’t be painting the present issue as white.

  11. Graham White 11

    Should confidential personal data be protected or not? Two points of view at:

  12. Puckish Rogue 12

    What illegal, dishonest or not correct information did this guy steal to be called a whistleblower?

    • dukeofurl 12.1

      Courts have decided you cant ‘steal’ information.
      Unauthorised access of a computer system is another story.

      • Puckish Rogue 12.1.1

        Ok then what illegal, dishonest or not correct information did this guy leak to be called a whistleblower?

        • te reo putake

          There’s a link in the post to the definition of whistleblower, PR, and I quoted the relevant bit as well. To save you having to scroll up it’s exposing a clear threat to the public interest that makes this person a whistleblower.

          • Puckish Rogue

            Theres not a clear threat though which means this person isn’t a whistleblower

            So Twyford thinks its regrettable the person lost their job over this, is he or Little going to find them a new a job or is it just collateral damage?

          • Phil

            I’m no big-city lawyer, but I imagine you’d have a very hard time getting a judge on-side with the view that Chinese people buying houses in Auckland, by what appears to be entirely legal and fully documented means, is a ‘clear threat to public interest’.

          • Tracey

            “exposing a clear threat to the public interest that makes this person a whistleblower.”

            so remind us again, what the clear threat exposed by the data is that was not previously known OR available through public sources ? That’s a bloody long bow.

  13. Graeme 13

    Well I hope for B&T’s sake they got the right person. Could get really messy for them if they didn’t. If they really did fire someone.

    But as a few posters above have alluded, many people and organisations have access to this data, and property ownership data is actually public information. You might have to do a bit of data crunching to get it into the form released, depending on where in the chain the information was obtained.

    The data relates to 45% of the sales in that market, I thought B&T were saying, even at the start of this their market share was high 30s. Are they fudging it to hide their market dominance, or is something else going on.

    • dukeofurl 13.1

      It could be either of two numbers , number of sales or total value of sales.
      They would hype the number of open homes as well.

      • Graeme 13.1.1

        I’m intrigued that B&T seem to be hyping the lower figure here. There’s a lot of curious things with this story.

        • Paul

          I reckon 45% is too low a number.
          Anecdotally, Barfoots’ auction room each Wednesday over summer and autumn had closer to 75%.
          But we don’t know because the government has a vested interest in us not knowing.

  14. absack 14

    I find it bloody amusing that all you lefties think that stealing private and confidential data is okay as long as it fits your narrative. Versus the raiding of Hager which of course is wrong because it doesn’t fit your narrative. Its amazing you can sleep at night with all the moral somersaults you perform. And before you ban me I know where the door is, I can let myself out.

    • Kevin 14.1

      People are actually mad that their private data was used for political purposes and there will be further repercussions.

    • Naturesong 14.2

      I self-identify as a social democrat (that means I’m a “leftie”)

      I don’t think stealing private information is ok.

      I do think that information that is of public interest should be published irrespective of its provenance

      I do think whistle-blowers should have additional legal protection,
      I do think journalists should also have additional legal protection.

      I should note, that I don’t believe that the information supplied by the ex B & T employee (is this a fact, or only alleged?) to Labour is of public interest nor that the employee is a whistleblower.

      • dukeofurl 14.2.1

        So you would have sent the ‘Pentagon Papers’ back ?

        • Colonial Viper

          You mean those US govt papers about Americans dying in futility at the hands of the Chinese and Chinese made AK47s? Nah, publish away!

        • Naturesong

          Pretty sure the Pentagon Papers are the definition of public interest.

          Wiki has references; … the Pentagon Papers had demonstrated, among other things, that the Johnson Administration “systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress.” …

          … the papers revealed that the U.S. had secretly enlarged the scale of the Vietnam War with the bombings of nearby Cambodia and Laos, coastal raids on North Vietnam, and Marine Corps attacks, none of which were reported in the mainstream media

          • Tracey

            WHY are so many having trouble understanding what public interest is, when it was thoroughly traversed during the Hager publishing of Dirty Politics on this very blog amongst other places?.

            A few here do seem to have one set of rules for LP (or their “team”) and another for the Nats…

            uncovering lies, duplicity, illegal activity, (esp among elected reps) is public interest.

            The public being interested in the data is NOT the same thing.

            • Naturesong

              Dunno, seems straightforward to me.

              But, I did first notice at high school that people will often choose ideas based on the social status of the person that puts forward the idea, rather than the merits of the idea itself.

              I assumed at the time that this was because school is a social pressure cooker and that such behaviour was more to do with self preservation than anything else. And that once leaving school the issue would resolve itself.

              I was wrong, it doesn’t.

              And it makes it very hard to discuss actual things that are happening (global warming), or policy prescriptions (Len’s Rail) when the person you are talking with sees it as my tribes idea versus your tribes idea.

        • Tracey

          go educate yourself on the definition of “public interest”. It’s legal definition not the one you play with in your mind.

      • Kevin 14.2.2

        Well that’s the whole key point – public interest.

        I don’t think it was in the public interest for Hager to publish stolen emails. Hager obviously thought it was and thought public interest trumped the fact the emails were private and had been stolen.

        • Tracey


          It’s not about what you or I “think” Kevin, it is about legally established guidelines to define “public interest”. Some folks on here from the left and right need to self educate before mouthing off further about what is and isn’t in the public interest.

          Hager got LEGAL ADVICE about whether the infirmation in those emails constituted public interest. No one, NO ONE has challenged that. Not even Mr Court Attender Slater himself….

        • Naturesong

          Corruption of the SIS, abuse of power by the PM’s office (which is the PM).

          And the 9th floor (again, the PM), using public money (Jason Ede’s salary amongst other expenses), and colluding with bloggers, PR consultants, and the reporters and editors of major newspapers to run smear campaigns against the opposition parties, scientists and teachers (amongst others) 24/7.

          If that information is not in the public interest, what the fuck is?

    • RedLogix 14.3

      Actually it is data that is technically public domain, but it’s been made difficult to access. Even the govt accepts it should at the very least be gathering it – albeit far too late. The ball really is in your court to argue why it should remain confidential and secret.

      Besides you will note that what Labour did with it does not reveal any personal information – it was if you will a ‘meta-analysis’. Something you righties are typically very keen on in other contexts.

      • Tracey 14.3.1

        actually if the sales information was in the public domain that is where it should have been obtained from. This was data held by a private company.

      • infused 14.3.2

        It was private information hence why someone was fired. Jesus, get with it

    • Ross 14.4

      Well, I’m sure if any information has been “stolen” the police are likely to investigate. However, it’s unclear any information has been stolen.

    • Paul 14.5

      I find it bloody depressing that all you righties care more for foreign capital than ordinary NZers.
      Just as long as you’re alright.
      Randian cultist.

    • Tracey 14.6

      “all you lefties ”

      not all lefties but if it suits your narrative and helps you sleep under your government’s slow dismantling ouf our fair society….

      you left the lights on…

  15. Melanie Scott 15

    People are mad? The ones writing letters to the Herald certainly are. They all know what has been going on for a long time, with house sales in Auckland. They have seen it with their own eyes.
    At some stage, a really messy erruption of anger and frustration was going to errupt and may still do so. I guess fear of being called ‘racists’ for expressing some of that rage has been overcome by some.
    And while we are on the subject of racism. A very close friend of mine who worked and lived in China for three years, fore a Chinese government organisation has said to me several times: “Racism? If you want to experience real racism, go to China. They are past masters of it there – particularly towards Europeans.”
    May be this boil is being lanced before it turns really poisonous.

    • RedLogix 15.1

      Tut tut – as a white person you are not allowed to say anything critical about non-whites Melanie.

      (Apologies in advance if I am making an offensive racist assumption about your ethnicity based on your surname.)

      • Colonial Viper 15.1.1


        Yes, Asian cultures have racism down to a fine art. The old Anglo imperialists had it too, admittedly. NZers don’t often pull off racism very well, even when they try.

        hey all know what has been going on for a long time, with house sales in Auckland. They have seen it with their own eyes.

        My cynicism lies here: house price sales have been rocketing up in Auckland since 2001/2002. But just recently its become a problem, and a Chinese problem at that.

        • te reo putake

          Actually the prices have only rocketed in the last two years, CV. The rises in the previous decade were above average for the rest of NZ, but nowhere near what we’ve seen recently. Things settled down for a while around 2008/9 and started lifting again around 2010. And, yes, you are right, it does seem to be a Chinese problem. Specifically, the distorting affect of the dumping of huge amounts of money here by the Chinese investor class there.

          • Tracey

            what s your definition of rocket? can you post a graph to back your 2013 to 2015 claim?

          • Tracey

            posted some data above which backs your point about when the real explosion began but it was exploding before then too..

            1st million dollar suburb in 2003 in Auckland…
            36th million dollar suburb in March 2015

        • Melanie Scott

          Huge numbers of houses were bought in the mid 1990s by Hong Kong Chinese who wanted a bolt hole once China took control of Hong Kong. In Epsom and Howick mostly. We all accepted that, some I remember, rather reluctantly, but it’s definitely not a new issue.

      • Melanie Scott 15.1.2

        He He I am mostly white but also part Te Atiawa – do you hold that against me?

    • cogito 15.2

      How about this for a solution: the Chinese stay in China and we keep NZ for NZers. Racism issue solved.

      [Settle down, cogito. I’m assuming you’re being sarcastic, but even so, comments like this are unnecessarily inflammatory. No more, please. TRP]

      • Colonial Viper 15.2.1

        How about this: every fucker who wasn’t born in NZ can now go fuck off home.

        • The lost sheep

          Well if Labour is starting to move in a direction that provokes this kind of ‘populist’ debate, perhaps a complete ‘rebranding’ would be appropriate?

          Starting with a change away from the frumpy and redundant ‘Labour’ handle?
          I thought something like ‘New Zealanders First’ might be quite catchy?


          • Tracey

            I guess it was only a matter of time before they had their own kind of Orewa Speech moment… monkey see monkey do.

        • Ron

          Well that is OK I will still be here and so will three generations before me.

        • cogito

          no need for abuse.

      • cogito 15.2.2

        tongue in cheek. no offence.

    • Tracey 15.3

      two wrongs make a right and the ends justify the means… finally Labour Party and some of its supporters have begun to stoop to the level of the Nats who they profess to despise so much.

  16. Anne 16

    Well, I’m going to stick my neck out and say I am “disappointed” with the lot of you. Apart from a handful of notable exceptions, none of you have addressed the point or the sentiments expressed in the post – an open letter to a very brave former real estate agent. Few of you seem to care that he/she has been thrown to the wolves by his/her National- backed corporate bosses. Few, if any of you, have expressed appreciation for what she/he has done. Having carefully read the person’s explanation in the Herald last Saturday as to their motive… it is clear they were altruistic and for the right reasons.

    Thank-you whistle blower. You’ve done New Zealand a real service and it is you who can lie in bed straight at night.

    And thank-you to Te Reo Putake for having the presence of mind to write the letter.

    • tinfoilhat 16.1

      Anne … do me a favour and get stuffed.

      • Anne 16.1.1

        You may not agree with my views but there is no need to be so offensive and rude whenever you choose to respond to comments of mine tinfoilhat. It is a sign of immaturity.

        If you are under the mistaken impression I am referring to you then might I suggest you learn to take a more modest view of the effect of your contributions – whatever they may have been.

        • tinfoilhat

          🙄 excusing xenophobia and dog whistling in support of your team is still excusing xenophobia and dog whistling.

          I understand you are tribal Labour but to support this behaviour IMO still needs to be called out for what it is.

          Immaturity …pftttt i’m probably old enough to be you mother missy.

    • Tracey 16.2

      “Few of you seem to care that he/she has been thrown to the wolves by his/her National- backed corporate bosses.”

      Can you explain this further with some evidence?

      Why do you think Labour, or anyone concerned about any of this didn’t just collect the data through the public domain? You know, with it being so important to them.

    • Galeandra 16.3

      And, despite the legalistic pin-dancing on display, the leak does highlight an important problem which is in the public interest to solve.

    • leftie 16.4



      • Anne 16.4.1

        Thanks Galeandra and leftie.

        It’s a bit soul destroying commenting here sometimes. Especially when some people go out of their way to misinterpret them. I don’t refer to Tracey. Btw Tracey, the answer lies in the original comment.

  17. Puckish Rogue 17


    So Labour could have got better data but chose not to look for it

    • The government could have got better data but chooses not to look for it. FIFY.

      ps I note the author was careful not to bag the Herald. I presume he still wanted to get paid!

      • Puckish Rogue 17.1.1

        Headlines and dog whistling racism…a good result for Labour you’d have to say

      • Tracey 17.1.2

        the Nats don’t consider it a problem… that’s why they don’t collect it…

        IF the LP could have done this through the public domain why put someone’s employment at risk?

        • leftie


          You think B&T’s knee jerk reaction by offering up a sacrificial scapegoat is Labour’s fault?

        • Macro

          The facts are that this information is in the public domain, – Real Estate companies advertise properties for sale, and are very quick to plaster “SOLD” on signs, Persons attending Auctions can easily identify who is the purchaser – they are public events. This information is there in public for anyone to see, Councils are informed as to who the owners of Property are for rating purposes, and this information may also be requested from the Council (unless an owner writes to the council and requests their personal information be with held under the privacy act. Incidentally, few councils are proactive in this regard – the Hauraki District Council being a notable exception. So people getting their knickers in a twist because their “private information” has been collated is simply nonsense – if you buy a property that is public knowledge. The property you buy was advertised. and if you buy it at a public auction you can hardly claim that it is a private affair. Even a private purchase with a private agreement still ends up in the public domain when the Council is notified.
          Even though this information is all “public” it is very difficult to obtain and collate; and how are you to know if you have completed the census or not? Certainly not a task for an individual. With the Government not interested in collating this data – even though it would be a simple thing for central government to do – because it is not in their interests to do so – cf – collating data on Child Poverty. The opportunity to provide some reasonably reliable information as to the extent of foreign involvement in the overheated Auckland Property Market is very valuable information, and could be argued to be in the Public Interest.

    • McFlock 17.2

      The IRD and the “transaction database” (along with other data-holders) release individually-identifiable data to political parties, or even academics or anyone with a big enough chequebook?

      That’s only a million times more concerning than a one-off leak from a firm…

    • leftie 17.3

      @Puckish Rogue

      Interesting the number of comments that didn’t agree with Young.
      I thought the following comment made a good point.

      “Well, Jimmy, get the info & publish it then (put up or shut up it’s called)”

  18. McFlock 18

    [damn – wrong place…]

  19. Paul 20

    Peter Thompson and Wendy Alexander seemed fairly abrasive characters on the TV last night. Has anyone here had any personal or business experience with them?

    • Tracey 20.1

      Peter Thompson is a conservative man. I have met him twice at Auckland Rugby’s corporate box for ITM Cup matches. A perfectly friendly guy. He doesn’t have horns or anything. Money and prestige = success. But that just makes him like so many men in business his age. He is a big National Party donor.

  20. Mike the Savage One 21

    The New Zealand economy is now heading into a perfect storm. John Key and National have while in government led this country from GFC meltdown and bust, through to a bizarre fake “rockstar economy” – based mostly on an earthquake rebuild, on a short-lived milk powder and baby formula export boom to Mainland China, and also based on significant net immigration gain, boosting demand for yet more housing and comsumer goods and services.

    Yes, there was increased tourism too.

    But the last major global dairy auction last night has brought a result that will now firmly lead us into a new bust, where jobs will go in the thousands, and today’s announcement by Fonterra, to sack 500 staff, that is only the small beginning.

    Wait until the many significantly debt loaded, over-leveraged farmers cannot pay back their credit to the so far “safe” trading banks, who are already facing more challenges due to China buying less commodities from Australia. The banks have also handed out more billions in new credit to home buyers and builders there and here, so massive private debt has accrued, which to the banks is credit.

    We have already massive student loan debts, much consumer debt, and add the above, and our so far “safe” banks will be facing a situation that will make them extremely vulnerable.

    There will not only be more investors from Mainland China wanting to bid for and buy the limited numbers of available homes for sale in Auckland, they may look elsewhere too now, there will also be some keen to buy farm land. I expect that thousands of farms may go bust due to the dairy market situation, which is the worst it has been in for about six years.

    There is heaps of capital in Mainland China, ready to look for investment opportunities, while few New Zealanders, certainly Aucklanders, cannot afford to buy homes, and others with cash from overseas snap them up. The farms will go the same way.

    New Zealand is facing the future of being tenants in your own land, as massive selling will occur.

    In view of the above, although breaking confidentiality clauses of an employment contract, and passing on confidential commercial information, the person who leaked it, actually in effect acted in the public interest, in national interest, I dare to say.

    The defacto whistle-blower has done a patriotic duty, to forewarn us, of what is happening, and what worse is to come, so we are now informed, to hold the irresponsible government to account, and force it to take action, in the interest of the future well-being of ALL New Zealanders, no matter what cultural or ethnic background!

    • Paul 21.1

      Jane Kelsey’s Fire Economy shows how we are teetering on the brink of collapse.

      F inance
      I nsurance
      R eal
      E state

  21. Paul 22

    Who benefits from this crisis?
    1. The banks
    2. The National Party.
    It relies on the votes of those whose capital has increased due to inflated housing prices.
    3. Real estate companies.
    4. Insurance companies.

    The FIRE economy.
    Just teetering of the brink of total collapse.
    But will Key be able to use his smoke and mirror trick long enough to fool enough NZers and get the lockdown of the TPPA to make serfdom an established fact in this country.

    Once it’s signed, we shall have the same chains as the Greeks.

  22. vaughan little 23

    thanks whistleblower. i wanna echo te reo putake on this one.

  23. McFlock 24

    comment deleted

  24. reason 25

    Its quite obvious from the volume of debate, opinions and trolling that Labor have touched an issue that is beltway in the extreme.

    New Zealanders and their children being priced out of ever buying a home by foreigners ( and local property speculators), is an issue where National are standing and backing the wrong sides.

    National are the largest minority amongst our political parties …………….. and their thumping in the Northland electorate showed what can happens when the majority act cohesively.

    If the opposition can find common ground and real solutions to our housing crisis then I think its an election breaker …….

    Supporting foreign money over New Zealand citizens and locking the young out of home ownership while speculators and real estate agents get rich is not the brighter future most voters want.

    • Anne 25.1

      Well said reason.

    • Mike the Savage One 25.2

      I have taken note also, how TV3 have three nights in the row, more or less led then news, with attacking Andrew Little and Labour, now having had that “what’s her name” (Tova O’Brian) go from home to home where “ethnic Chinese” live in Auckland, and asking them, who they are, what they are doing, what their residency status is, bla, bla, bla, all geared to disprove Labour.

      But in about a third or even 40 percent of homes they (TV3 staff) met nobody living there, strange that.

      The night before there was a “leak” of emails containing data from Andrew Little’s diary, about him speaking to foreign investors, supposedly “contradicting” Labour’s approach to off-shore home buyers.

      And two nights ago, after Phil Quin resigned from Labour (TV3 actually tried to imply a “plural” of members kind of resigning from Labour, while only ONE example was given), they showed a back-drop of Nazi concentration camps to comments by Phil Quin, accusing Labour of “racism”.

      Today I listened to Radio Live(ing Dead), and Rodney Hide was so off his head, ranting on about “racist”, about “dog whistling”, “anti Chinese” Labour, while Chris Trotter commented on questions in a rather cool and relaxed manner.

      You can add the media, as the instrument of the neoliberal elite running this country, to the vested interest parties who are now on the counter-attack, to discredit Labour, and call all who give any consideration to the admittedly not perfect data Labour got from the real estate agent, as being nothing by xenophobic or racist New Zealanders, who undermine our economic interests.

      I think it is rather, the gloss is very fast now coming off the BS “rock star economy” and the government stands there as the naked emperor with no clothes on, soon to be the former “emperor”, losing all credibility in wider circles of the New Zealand public.

      • Mike the Savage One 25.2.1

        Tova O’Brien spreading more misrepresentation and lies about what Labour actually said about the “data” they got from the “leaker”:

        Open mike 16/07/2015

      • Colonial Viper 25.2.2

        And two nights ago, after Phil Quin resigned from Labour (TV3 actually tried to imply a “plural” of members kind of resigning from Labour, while only ONE example was given),

        Sounds like there have been quite a few resignations of some description:

        That was the situation as of yesterday afternoon, and I’m given to understand that somewhere upwards of thirty young activists have resigned from Young Labour as a result.


        • Mike the Savage One

          To be honest, I know not one Young Labour member or activist, that I could say has impressed me much over the last few years. They seem to have had a bit of trouble not only amongst some in caucus, but also with getting “talent” and innovative ones for the youth wing. Maybe I am wrong, as I can only comment as an outside observer.

          But if they act according to their conscience, I feel they may either be very “principled” or misguided by overly biased, extremely critical media reporting, and also some outspoken critics on TS and some other blog forums.

          What I expect from Phil Twyford and Labour now, is to come up with some SOLUTIONS to the housing crisis in Auckland, and also for the increasing number of homeless, as One News showed an item about the disgusting conduct by business owners, to use sprinklers to drive away homeless from their fronts and access ways, where they seek refuge over nights and some during the day.

          If that is how homelessness and poverty are allowed to be “dealt with”, all opposition parties are required to stand up, speak up, attack this situation, AND offer solutions. Labour offer some, but more is needed.

          Just riding this data they got from B+T for days on end will in the end not get them that far. But the debate at least shows, there is a major issue with housing and housing affordability, no matter what way you look at it, and whether people let the government, vested interest parties and the media get away with turning this in nothing but a “xenophobia” and “race” debate.

  25. Charles 26


    “Mr Thompson had refused to release personal details about the individual or say how the data was passed on, but confirmed it was leaked over a period of months.

    “We can also offer no insights into the motivation of the staff member concerned.”

    Mr Thompson said that while the data was passed to media and political figures, it was not given directly to the Labour Party.”

    If the leaker provided information over a few months to an unknown source a few steps removed from the Labour Party, then who asked for it and why, and what they were looking for and when they felt they had what they wanted, can’t be solely attributable to Whistleblowing. The leaker says he knows nothing of Labour, never met them, didn’t contact them, doesnt know them. Labour says it went through a few hands before they got it. Herald stories are full of blank spaces, able to be filled anyway we like.

    • Tracey 26.1

      Been wondering the same thing. If the reporting i accurate he wasn’t giving it to the Labour Party… in fact i t appears that it is not until it reached the LP, it got published, so what were those who were getting it waiting on?

      • Charles 26.1.1

        Dunno. Conspiracy theory stuff. But having some contact with that world, would you say it was loaded with Left-leaning sympathisers, or could it have been “intercepted” going to “someone” who was after investment/trend info for their own ends?

        Me, I think it was a home insulation plan gone wrong: Dot-matix printer clicking away, ranch-slider left open, material blows over neighbours fence… nek minit…

        • Tracey

          Had similar thoughts Charles but Anne read something on Saturday which allowed her to conclude the person was altruistic and had good motives to address the issue of foreign ownership. I note the agent was a commercial property agent, not a residential agent.

          LOL @ dot matrix

      • Ergo Robertina 26.1.2

        What I don’t get is how Labour could verify the info and motivations with no direct contact with Hargrave.
        What they were waiting on isn’t really an issue. It was obviously going to have way more impact if Labour ran with it.

        • Charles

          Many questions unanswered, many new ones presented e.g. The leaker (more than one?) is not necessarily the “whistleblower.” And the whistleblower was certainly motivated, but “altruism” isn’t the only motivation contained within a “threat to housing affordabilty”.

  26. Tautoko Mangō Mata 27

    Thank you, whistle blower for acting in the best interests of NZers-
    Thank you Labour & Phil for having the guts to front this issue even knowing that you would be pilloried as being racist/ playing the racist card. You put the public good ahead of your own reputation.

    See John Minto’s blog http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/07/13/national-playing-the-reverse-race-card-on-housing/
    I think it is totally understandable that Chinese NZ residents and those born here feel offended, and I ask them to think about the fact that
    1. this Government has allowed the situation to arise by not dealing with this issue of foreign ownership of land and
    2. that there has already been a considerable undercurrent resentment expressed anecdotally prior to this leak and subsequent discussion. This has been building and in fact Labour have done us all a favour by releasing some of the pressure as
    this undercurrent I believe was far more insidious and damaging than having the issue brought into open discussion on foreign ownership. It was indeed a great shame that proper data couldn’t have been available and whose fault is that?? So blame the Nats- no data collected, causing distressing racial tension, clumsy presentation of limited data causing more racial tension.

    • Tracey 27.1

      AND THAT s how Labour could have chosen to frame this…

      BUT they didnt.

      Maybe they just aren’t very bright.

      • leftie 27.1.1

        Disagree. Labour did and they put the onus on National. The media and those who want to shut the discussion down framed it as being racist, which diverts attention away from the problem and that suits National doesn’t it?

        • tracey

          we will have to agree to disagree. I haven’t heard or read ANY Labour MP framing it as Minto suggested above.

    • Melanie Scott 27.2

      Great observation TMM and very well put, much better than my earlier attempt. (regarding relieving the pressure).

  27. Mike Steinberg 28

    It should be a no-brainer to restrict off-shore buyers. It does also highlight that the liberalisation of immigration policy over the past 30 years has been a significant factor in driving up house prices. Something that ex-Reserve Bank economist Michael Reddell has pointed out.

    It’s bizarre politicians seem at a loss as to what to do when, as Reddell points out the obvious causes are:

    a) NZ’s relatively high inward migration levels – which I understand Minister of Immigration, Michael Woodhouse, could reduce to take the heat out of the market; and

    b) Restrictions on housing supply.

    As Reddell points out, the Australian Productivity Commission found limited benefits to local residents, but it seems to have become an article of neo-liberal faith that high levels of inward migration are an economic benefit. Reddell notes:

    “I have had Official Information Act requests in for some time with Treasury and MBIE for copies of advice to ministers on the economic impacts of immigration, and on the target level of permanent residence approvals. As is customary with government agencies, the responses to the requests have both been extended/delayed. These aren’t particularly time-sensitive requests, but I will be interested to see what the departments have had to say. MBIE is well-known to be strongly pro-immigration, and I have heard reported that current Secretary to the Treasury (himself a temporary migrant) recently reiterated in private a view that “immigration is good; it is as simple as that” (repeating the tenor of comments in a speech earlier this year). Perhaps, but let’s see the argumentation, in the specific context of New Zealand, and in the light of cross-country economic history and experience.”


    • Melanie Scott 28.1

      It seems to depend where you are from. My son’s delightful, highly qualified Italian wife had huge problems getting residency, despite being snapped up by a big multinational company which is very fussy about the calibre of the people they employ. (This was when she and my son were only engaged, not married.) The problems she has had getting citizenship have been huge, despite having given birth to my two grandsons here, who are part tangata whenua into the bargain.
      And thanks to the whistleblower, I hope they don’t have trouble finding a new job.

    • Mike the Savage One 28.2

      Immigration is used as an instrument by economically primitive or lazy governments of the laissez faire type. They seem to have no other clue as to how improve economic performance and productivity, but by simply growing the population. It is not that dissimilar from the more traditional approach used in the past, of telling the people, have more babies, we need more workers, soldiers and consumers, to “compete” with our competitors.

      This government perfectly fits the above description, I suggest, as they have built economic growth on an earthquake rebuild, net immigration gain, allowing more demand for housing and consumer goods, and on taking advantage of a short lived low end product export boom in dairy to Mainland China and a few other places. That to me is not very “smart” economic policy, and no matter what a hot air venting brain like Steven Joyce may articulately argue, they are a total FAILURE.

  28. leftie 29

    Thank you Real Estate Whistleblower.

    Thank you Phil Twyford and the Labour Party.

  29. Paul 30

    Wonder if true issue is wealth and residency not race.

  30. Mike the Savage One 31

    The alleged “leaker”, according to Stuff.co:

    Grant Hargrave, (former) commercial agent:


    Also reported on by David Fisher, NZ Herald:

    Maybe a person more sympathetic towards NZ First than otherwise “progressive” causes, that is, if he is “the man”.


    • Anne 31.1

      I wonder of there is more than one whistle-blower. It’s been reported that the ‘data’ was disseminated quite widely so it’s highly likely to have ended up in the hands of other personnel within the real estate community. Someone then passed a copy on to Phil Twyford – or someone closely associated with him? That ‘someone’ could have come from a different agency…

    • Weepus beard 31.2

      Hmmm, question is:

      Is that man a racist?

      He’s white, so it’s likely according to some.

      He’d be in good company because, also according to some, Phil Twyford is a racist for bringing the matter to the public, Andrew Little is a racist for not telling Phil off, and a lot of Standard posters are racists for supporting them both.

      • cogito 31.2.1

        Maybe that man just got sick of seeing ordinary Kiwis missing out and wanted to do something about it.

        Good on him.

      • Mike the Savage One 31.2.2

        I saw a white horse on the paddock today, but ahem, I am not sure, I better not mention the colour, as that may lead to “stereotyping” horses of a certain kind. But at least horses do not invest in housing, less trouble there, I suppose.

        • John Shears

          Mike having seen a white horse you now need to keep looking for two black horses and a black dog , keeping your fingers crossed until you complete the set.
          Crafty way to keeps kids occupied on long train journeys, there was no prize just the joy of actually achieving. Pretty obviously in the last century.

  31. Drowsy M. Kram 32

    “Theres not a clear threat though which means this person isn’t a whistleblower.”

    “I imagine you’d have a very hard time getting a judge on-side with the view that Chinese people buying houses in Auckland, by what appears to be entirely legal and fully documented means, is a ‘clear threat to public interest’.”

    If you’re one of the growing percentage of Auckland residents who has no hope of EVER owning a home in the city where you live and work, then you might well consider ANY factor that makes a substantial contribution to the recent trends in Auckland house prices a ‘threat to the public interest’. If you own at least one Auckland property – meh, not so much. Wonder which category most judges fall into?

    The way this information was ‘revealed’, and the information itself, is messy (not least for the B&T employee), and it’s been interesting to read the many contributions undermining the good that might come from it. Better off not knowing? Yeah, Right.

  32. James 33

    Perhaps a lot of people on here would be better to look at a “whistleblower” under NZ law.

    To be a protected whistleblower you must be talking about serious wrongdoing – described as:

    What is ‘serious wrongdoing’?
    Serious wrongdoing includes:

    unlawful, corrupt or irregular use of public money or resources
    conduct that poses a serious risk to public health, safety, the environment or the maintenance of the law
    any criminal offence
    gross negligence or mismanagement by public officials.

    None of this leak was justified by this.

    Secondly – it needs to be made to an appropriate authority:

    What are appropriate authorities?
    Appropriate authorities include:

    The Ombudsman
    The Commissioner of Police
    The Controller and Auditor-General
    The Director of the Serious Fraud Office
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
    The Independent Police Conduct Authority
    The Solicitor-General
    The State Services Commissioner
    The Health and Disability Commissioner
    The head of every public sector agency
    The heads of certain private sector professional bodies with the power to discipline their members

    So — this guy had no legal reason or right to send out this information.

    • McFlock 33.1

      Good for you, you’ve discovered that the legal definition of a term is often more narrow than the conventional use of the same word.

      How long did it take for the nats’ research office to figure that one out?

      Next they’ll realise that “not caught” does not mean the same as “legal” does not mean the same as “ethical”.

  33. James 34

    Mc Flock – Took all of 2 seconds to look at what whistleblower meant on the NZ website.

    As for conventional use of the word – I simply googled whistleblower and NZ – to get the NZ definition of the word – given that the term means different things in different countries.

    Makes more sense that arguing the incorrect definition of the word to justify it, then when that is proven to be wrong, trying to go with “its the ethical thing to do” . mwahahaha.

    Its pretty clear that this guy is not a whistleblower – He’s just an idiot. I know that labour are going with this hoping it will catch on … buy nah it wont. Esp as the main headline on NZ herald for most of today is Little with an “under fire” headline.

    You should also learn that ethical does not include – Breaking employment agreements with your employer, Releasing data to unrelated parties.

    • McFlock 34.1

      He’s not a legally protected whistleblower.

      I’m amazed New Zealand has only one website. I thought this www thing had grown quite popular?

      I just googled “meaning of ‘whistleblower'” and got:

      noun: whistleblower

      a person who informs on a person or organization regarded as engaging in an unlawful or immoral activity.

      A definition consistent with how almost everyone here (except you and a couple of your bewdfellows) seems to be using the term.

  34. James 35

    OH – and even employment lawyers are saying he’s not a whistleblower.


    and its a justified dismissal.

  35. James 36

    OK – Can you please tell me what is the unlawful or immoral activity that he whistleblowed on?

    Edit – I understand that there is no issue of Barfoot doing anything ilegal.

    So what is the immoral issue of selling to people who are legally entitled to purchase property?

    (gets popcorn – this Should be entertaining to hear)

  36. reason 37

    Its immoral that a necessity of life ( somewhere to live ), should be priced beyound ordinary New Zealanders and their children reach by greedy speculators or overseas buyers.

    The greed and wishes of Nationals rich property owning mp’s and their real estate party donars are working against our citizens interests.

    Greed over people seems pretty immoral to me ……………

  37. James 38

    Thats hardly a rational or reasonable answer to a fair question.

    His description of a whistleblower was : a person who informs on a person or organization regarded as engaging in an unlawful or immoral activity.

    Again – what immoral activity was barfoots engaging in – given that every person was legally allowed to purchase the property.

    Its a fairly simply question looking for a straight forward answer.

    • McFlock 38.1

      In case you hadn’t noticed, the issue is about sovreignty and housing affordability, both being “good” things.

      Facilitating the piecemeal destruction of those “good” things is “bad”. “Immoral”, in other words.

      But I wouldn’t expect a tory to understand the personal responsibilty one incurs in being a small cog in an immoral machine.

  38. reason 39

    ………. yes, and the government could stop the immoral ‘legal’ enviroment where overseas money and rich local speculators have priced out average New Zealanders and their children from the property market ……….. through simple regulations.

    National is on the side of greed, speculators and exploitation.

    They will bleed a lot of votes over this.

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