Auckland property buyers

Written By: - Date published: 9:57 am, July 11th, 2015 - 436 comments
Categories: housing, International, overseas investment - Tags: , ,

The big story this morning is Labour’s analysis of Auckland property purchase data. It was just covered on The Nation, and features in no less than three articles in The Herald this morning:

Special investigation: Auckland house prices

Exclusive: Leaked figures support claims that Chinese investors are a big influence on Auckland’s overheated property market.

The first picture has emerged of Chinese buying patterns in Auckland’s pressure-cooker housing market — and it suggests a powerful, big-spending influence.

Real-estate figures leaked to the Labour Party, which cover almost 4,000 house sales by one unidentified firm from February to April, indicate that people of Chinese descent accounted for 39.5 per cent of the transactions in the city in that period.

Yet Census 2013 data shows ethnic Chinese who are New Zealand residents or citizens account for just 9 per cent of Auckland’s population.

It is not known if the Chinese buyers were based here or overseas.

Labour housing spokesman Phil Twyford claimed the data, which represents 45 per cent of all Auckland sales over the three months, showed for the first time the scale of an issue that was pricing first-home buyers out of the market.

“It’s staggering evidence that strongly suggests there’s a significant offshore Chinese presence in the Auckland real estate market. It could not possibly be all Chinese New Zealanders buying; that’s implausible.”

Housing Minister Nick Smith attacked Labour’s methodology. …

Those are the facts. Naturally Labour will be attacked for being “racist” – stand by for a feral feeding frenzy! But Labour’s points here are:
(1) that this data is indicative only, the government should be collecting reliable data on overseas purchases,
(2) the solution relates to any overseas buyer (ban them unless they move here or build new here),
(3) many other countries, including Australia, have policies similar to (2),
(4) someone needs to stand up for Kiwis being priced out of the market.

While Labour is trying to stick to the facts, The Herald’s coverage is mixed. The first piece above covers the facts. The second, “We’ve got Chinese buyers”, covers the anecdotal evidence in support. But the third, “Why do you spend $100 on beer when you can save it and spend it on your house one day?” practically begs us to dislike the interviewee, not a helpful contribution to what is going to be a messy debate.

436 comments on “Auckland property buyers ”

  1. Naturally Labour will be attacked for being “racist”

    That’s because making assumptions about whether people are New Zealanders or not, or what their ethnicity is based on their surname, is pretty damn racist.

    Not to mention how weak this “analysis” sounds. Data based on “leaked information” from one real estate firm? Data which says It is not known if the Chinese buyers were based here or overseas, but gets spun by Twyford as “strongly suggests there’s a significant offshore Chinese presence”?

    I cannot see any value in this tactic beyond bog-standard racist dogwhistling.

    • r0b 1.1

      I respectfully disagree. Labour has been open about the limitations of the methodology, it is calling for the government to collect real data. We need the real data to help us decide what to do about housing in NZ.

      • I respectfully disagree with you. It’s complete rubbish to say “oh but there are limits to our methodology, we’re open about that” when every single headline is CHINESE PEOPLE BUYING ALL THE HOUSES. Phil Twyford has been in Parliament far too long to pretend he didn’t know exactly what message this story sends.

        • r0b

          Labour didn’t write those headlines (and the ones that will follow). I’m not sure how it could have raised this legitimate concern without such headlines being written and without being attacked for racism.

          How should Labour have handled this? What should they have done different, or should they have done nothing at all?

          • Old Mickey

            Question time in the house would have been a good start. It would have been good to hear this then framed in terms of policy with DETAILS on any suggested register or the like policy – repeat, many times for media and public to get on board. I read this and it appears that Phil & Labour are taking their lead from the Winston first, the leader of the opposition. The interview via a translator of the chinese buyer was pretty deliberate in trying to paint a negative picture of all foreign buyers, rather than try and make the story motivational ie work hard, save hard, and buy property if you choose. As a country we make it pretty clear that we dont like foreign buyers, especially when I compare to my experience of owning property in Dubai, Tokyo and Brisbane – was made to feel very welcome.

            • KK

              You think anyone will actually pay attention to questions about policy details in the house? Pull the other one.

          • Stephanie Rodgers

            There is no “legitimate concern” in this “analysis”. Keith Ng has a good breakdown of how weak it is, but then he does have a Chinese-sounding surname.

            If you want to raise concerns about non-resident buyers, you need to be able to identify non-resident buyers. If that data isn’t available, you slam the government for not collecting the data.

            And we’ve actually been doing this! That’s what makes me angry. Twyford has done such good work on Auckland housing, demolishing Nick Smith, challenging the framing of “affordable” housing, holding the government to account, and now he’s farted it all away with “these people sound Chinese and I don’t like Chinese people” horseshit.

            • RedLogix

              But surely colonialism and empire are almost always inseparable from racism?

              • I’m not sure what the question is? They’re certainly connected but in this particular case I think targeting “Chinese-sounding” people makes it more specifically racist rather than generally xenophobic.

                • Lanthanide

                  There’s two pretty simple facts behind it, Stephanie:
                  1. The current government refuses to do any data collection. So we have to used sub-par data such as this. Up until now it’s only be anecdote about “lots of Chinese people at auctions” and “lots of phone bids from foreigners at auctions’.

                  2. Of the dominant cultures of house buyers in NZ, most are from English-speaking countries, or European, and their surnames generally all blur together. Asian surnames however are generally easy to distinguish from those of other cultures, and we have census data that shows us how many asian people are actually living in Auckland.

                  It’s not “picking on” Chinese people because of their surnames, it’s doing a basic and rough analysis on one of the very few pieces of information we have about house buyers (see #1), and because it is very rough, the only real signal that can be used to draw any conclusion is that culturally the surnames of Chinese people are different enough to stand out from the rest.

                  In much the same way as saying men are better at reading maps are women are better at multi-tasking is not sexism, it’s simply a statement of fact, identifying one group of people from very poor data based on a significant attribute of those people is not racism, it’s simply basic statistical analysis.

                  The people who are shouting ‘racism’ are missing the point; and I expect in many cases are doing so simply so that they don’t have to address the actual point being made, that foreign investors appear to be buying up a lot of houses in Auckland and that maybe we should do something about that.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Racial profiling off blacks is based on valid statistical analyses as well.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Yes, “racial profiling” is enabled by statistical analysis.

                      But statistical analysis doesn’t have to be used for racist / evil purposes, and statistical analysis in itself is not racist or evil.

                  • It’s not “picking on” Chinese people because of their surnames

                    This is literally the only thing it is.

                    I cannot comprehend this defence of “well we don’t have good data, so we’re going to use bad data, in a way which immediately allows our opponents to attack us as racist, but we’re not racist, we’re just using racist data in a way guaranteed to stir up a debate about race.”

                    • Lanthanide

                      And I can’t comprehend your position that we shouldn’t use that data “because it might make people upset”.

                      Data can be used for good and evil. Don’t use it for evil. Problem solved.

                    • dukeofurl

                      Its like saying we can never have a discussion about feminism that isnt sexist ?

                      Look at Treasury , they use broad strokes data ALL THE TIME, it doesnt mean we cant use their data to have discussions about fiscal policy.

                      WE already have a xenophobia based land buyer program, lets just extend to residential houses.

                    • TheContrarian

                      I’m in total agreement Stephanie

                • It seems to me that the prime point being made by Twyford is that we have to rely on data fished out from private sources.

                  That’s because the Nats refuse point blank to set up a Foreign Ownership Register.

                  And you have to wonder why?

                  Just like Paula Bennett consistently refused to measure the level of child poverty in this country.

                  Again, why?

                  Because, I submit to the reader, National knows full well that measuring child poverty and foreign ownership would open up a can of worms, and National’s support would plummet.

                  It would mean the loss of the 2017 election for them and the end of Key’s political career.

            • r0b

              …If that data isn’t available, you slam the government for not collecting the data. And we’ve actually been doing this!

              Yeah we have, and it has had very little effect. Non resident buyers are now required to have an IRD number and a bank account – but no sign that data will be collected or used to influence policy. So Labour has decided to apply more pressure.

              I have reservations about it too, but the alternative seems to be doing nothing about what is a big concern for NZ.

              I linked to Keith’s post in a tweet added to this post.

              I have to go and dig a hole now (really!) so invite all other moderators to keep an eye on this post…

              • So Labour has decided to apply more pressure.

                If that was the intent, it is not the effect. National are positively delighted that Labour has gone for a cheap racist jibe, because not only does it pull the attention back onto Labour, but it undermines every single argument about foreign investment, domestic speculation, and Government inaction on the matter.

                I simply cannot accept that Labour’s only options were “attack people for having Asian-sounding names” or “do nothing”. If they were … well, might as well all join NZ First.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Seems like Labour wants some of that NZ First vote back.

                  • Sacha

                    But why would you vote for Twyford and co if you want what Winston offers? Huge discrepancy in level of mongrel.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      exactly…Labour has calibrated this release all wrong. BTW I think NZF is going to gain even more votes next election.

                    • Kiwiri


                      So how about Twyford go the full NZF hog:

                      – Ensure that New Zealand’s housing stock is restricted to New Zealanders.

                      – Non-residents who are not New Zealand citizens would be ineligible for home ownership except if a genuine need to do so can be demonstrated.


                    • Sacha

                      and only people with proper English names like Peters get to live here.

                    • @Kiwiri: The ironic thing is that NZ First’s policy – coming from a party which has never been ashamed of playing for race-bait – is actually more “progressive” because it defines good and bad house-buyers based on New Zealand citizenship and not “whether their name sounds Chinese”.

                      (It’s still very open to cries of xenophobia, and we all know exactly which types of foreign buyers NZF stir up panic about, but I just cannot get over profiling people based on their surnames.)

                    • Kiwiri

                      @ Stephanie Rodgers, 2:32pm

                      On this, you have my fullest agreement.

                    • Lanthanide

                      @ Stephanie:
                      “The ironic thing is that NZ First’s policy – coming from a party which has never been ashamed of playing for race-bait – is actually more “progressive” ”

                      You know that Labour’s policy at the last election was to prevent foreign investors, no matter their nationality, from buying properties in NZ unless they were newly built?

                      There is nothing racist about Labour’s policy.

                • ankerawshark

                  They are not attacking people with Asian sounding names, their grip is with speculators.

                  • Sacha

                    Labour have chosen to focus *only* on property-buyers with ‘Chinese-sounding’ names. Nobody forced them to make it about race.

                    • Lanthanide

                      They have only made that ‘choice’ because that is the only conclusion that can be drawn with any certainty from the murkey / incomplete data they have at their disposal.

                    • dukeofurl

                      Thats because the other ethnic groups – profiled by their surnames- came with a close match to their existing proportion of the population.
                      eg Indian names .

                      You are trying to model who is buying houses in auckland, one group , say group C is far and away over represented in buying houses – compared to other groups based on their surnames.

                    • fisiani

                      Any word yet of when Twyford will resign?

                    • Paul

                      Any news on when fisiani will stop trolling?

                    • Sacha

                      The only other ethcic group I have seen mentioned is Indian:

                      The analysis is weak. See this brief comment:
                      “Most of the ‘migration’ from India is students or other temporary visitors. So I don’t think they’d have similar dynamics to the Chinese when it comes to homebuying.”

                    • ankerawshark


                      That may well be because the only access to any sort of figures they could get was at a real estate company, who I imagine cannot list people’s ethnicity.

                      Who gave Labour the head’s up about this? Likely the realtors who thought the stats were telling.

                    • Sacha

                      @ Ankerawshark

                      Sure, and that’s why they needed to be cautious about their conclusions and how others were entirely likely to respond to them.

                      Reckon you are right about the motivation of whoever leaked these stats.

        • ankerawshark

          Hi Stephanie,

          What message do you think it sends? Please spell it out.

          I think it sends a message that Chinese investors who don’t live in NZ are buying a significant number of Auckland properties, for speculative purposes.

          The data is weak of course, but the real culprit here is the Government who have refused to keep proper records on who is buying Auckland housing.

          I don’t agree that this is racist. I heard John Minto talking a year ago about Ak house prices saying bus loads of Australian were popping over to Ak and buying property to speculate on. Was that racist that he mentioned what country those people were from.

          This is not a dog whistle. Phill T has been working this issue from every angle. He is holding this government to account. Go Phil.

          • Stephanie Rodgers

            The message is pretty obvious: “Bad Chinese people are buying our houses”. With excellent side messages of “People with weird surnames are the problem” and “People with weird surnames must be recent migrants”.

            You’ll note that none of the headlines are “Labour’s analysis demonstrates weakness of government data collection”.

            And if you’re not sure why targeting Chinese people is racism but targeting Australians isn’t, you may want to find a dictionary.

            • ankerawshark

              Point taken about your final comment about whether targeting Asian versus Australians is racist or not.

              I think your first paragraph though is interpretation. No one has used the term “bad Chinese people” or “people with weird surnames”.

              I think PT made the point that only 9%of the population in Auckland is Chinese. So who are the other 30% buying houses? Do you see this as a problem? Are we supposed to keep quiet about it? What do you think PT motivation is in leaking these figures???? Is it possible by not regulating the market that speculators from any country left unregulated are going to fuel racial hatred (once the true figures are out and it shows that our land is priced out of reach of most NZders)?

              I know we are probably not going to agree on this Stephanie and I respect what I think might be your view on racism.

              But for me this story is not about that. It is about trying to establish what is really happening in Auckland. Property speculators, especially those from overseas (because the capital doesn’t stay in this country) is a massive problem, in part responsible for creating a housing crisis. This government is refusing to keep data on this. But as other commenters has posted on TS speculators are driving the prices up. Lots could be done to prevent this situation and it should be. I support Phil Twyford in his endeavours and acknowledge that he has covered the housing crisis on every possible angle.

            • dukeofurl

              Please read the analysis more carefully.

              The control group , Indians have distinctive surnames, they too are buying houses, this doesnt make them bad people. They are buying houses in proportion of current resident population.

              Its not like the group C are buying 1-2 times more houses than the resident population its up to 4 times.

              We know overseas buyers are pushing up prices and are active in the house market- agents say this and market overseas.

              So we can assume that group C are buying 4 x times their resident population because they are boosted by non resident buyers.

              Answer- restrict all groups who are non resident from buying houses.

            • Paul

              Doesn’t it concern you that Auckland’s house prices are so high?
              And, assuming the answer to that is yes, don’t you think we should be looking into who is buying houses?
              Isn’t accurate data important?
              Finally, if lots of non-doms are found to be buying houses at the expense of resident NZers, don’t you think we should be doing something about that?
              Isn’t the housing of its citizens one of the main functions of government ?

            • fisiani

              It it emerges that this ONE agency is based in Howick and Phil has extrapolated to all Auckland he surely has to resign. But if it was approved by Andrew Little then they both have to go.

              • Paul

                Does it concern you that Auckland’s housing prices are so high?
                Yes/No and why please.

              • Fisiani – any chance you could speak to the matter at hand instead of deflecting off god-knows-where?

                Why do you think your previous government has not set up a Foreign Buyers Register yet?

                Any idea?

            • D'Esterre

              @ Stephanie Rodgers: ““Bad Chinese people are buying our houses”. With excellent side messages of “People with weird surnames are the problem” and “People with weird surnames must be recent migrants”.”

              I take no such message from what Twyford’s said, and neither should anyone else, you included. Please stop chucking around that great debate-ending epithet – racism – and engage with the issue he’s raised. And don’t presume anything about my ethnicity from what I say here. No matter their ethnic provenance, everyone needs to calm down.

              Non-resident Chinese have been buying property in NZ – and in Auckland in particular – for well over 25 years. Back in the 1980s, we lived in a new Auckland subdivision; almost every day, real estate agents used to bring busloads of mostly Hong Kong Chinese tourists around our area to look at houses for sale. And because they were looking for a bolthole against the imminent handover of HK to the PRC – and also for investment – they bought up large. We eventually sold to HK Chinese; to our certain knowledge, they never lived in that house, eventually selling it some years back, after it had been vacant for at least 10 years. Life under the PRC evidently wasn’t as onerous as they’d feared.

              Now, all these years later, Chinese activity in the Auckland market looks as if it’s disproportionate to that of other non-residents, and has reached critical mass, helping to push prices up to ridiculous levels. We’re forced to rely on dodgy data and anecdote because successive governments have refused to collect any information on who is buying what. But when you put it all together, Twyford’s conclusion is plausible. It isn’t surprising that non-resident Chinese activity is distorting the market: the population is enormous, and even that portion of it with cash to invest is very much larger than the entire population of Auckland.

              I’d take bets that I could name the real estate agency from which this information has been leaked. Hasn’t anyone else noticed how many Chinese – not Kiwis of Chinese descent, but recent immigrants – are employed as real estate agents by some companies? Do you really think that’s just chance? Recently, Kathryn Ryan interviewed one such agent; she was quite open about how she was helping non-resident Chinese to buy houses, although she did claim that these clients were people who “wanted to immigrate”. I’ll bet…

              And of course this matters to Auckland; it has a relatively small landmass, some of which either isn’t suitable for housing, or is used for other purposes. Despite Nick Smith’s desperate claims to the contrary, there really isn’t a great deal of spare vacant land. And Aucklanders don’t warm to the idea of multi-storey apartment buildings in the suburbs, I’ve noticed.

              Note that the problem isn’t the Chinese qua Chinese: it’s the sheer numbers. If those numbers were Indians or Vietnamese, the same principle would apply. Auckland’s real estate market has been almost ruined by uncontrolled activity on the part of a particular group with enough cash to outbid other buyers. Kathryn Ryan’s interviewee said as much.

              • Mike the Savage One

                You are right, I must say, at least with most of what you write.

                Many New Zealanders are oversensitive to being criticised, or too damned scared to say what they see, think and feel.

                It is past errors and wrong actions that hang as a moral burden over New Zealander’s heads, such as the “poll tax” that was once charged upon widely discriminated Chinese in earlier times, in times when New Zealand was “white”, apart from Tangata Whenua, who were marginalised.

                With that history, we have swung to the other extreme, fearing any criticism of being accused of “discrimination” or even “racism”, so people bend over backwards, and try to avoid even the slightest suspicion (that is the “vocal” and silent majority).

                So nobody dares mentioning the elephant in the room. Since about two years ago we have had a massive change in migration patterns of New Zealanders, who used to flow out of the country to Australia and a few other places in droves, to find work and business elsewhere, which was recompensated with rather free flowing, liberal inward migration, to replace “lost” workers and consumers.

                Now Kiwis have come home in droves, following the slow down in Australia, and also more difficult times in some other countries, but we have not adjusted the inward new migration flow so much. That means massive net immigration, of which about half or so flows into Auckland. This puts immense pressures on the housing market, as many coming have savings and other access to capital and money, which few locals have.

                Then we have one of the most liberal foreign investment rules for domestic real estate, so more people overseas, also many Mainland Chinese, who have become wealthier and have lots of cash, come here to look to invest, or buy for themselves or relatives. With the change in rural planning (PAUP) in Auckland, and plans for much intensification, there is also a gold mine attitude amongst investors and speculators, as you cannot lose on a market planned to be intensified. Hence land-banking, buying of old dumps and so, the values are bound to continue going up as long as immigration is not constrained and as long intensification is planned.

                And as the fact is, that in our part of the world, the many new rich in East Asia and China look for new “opportunities”, in healthier and supposedly safer environments, they come here in high numbers now, nobody in similar situations would do anything different.

                Phil Twyford has exposed what is likely to be going on, it is the government trying to keep the Jeannie in the bottle and doing all to conceal the truth, that is to blame. This is NOT about racism and discrimination, it is naming a problem. There is high demand by not only new and returning migrants, and local investors, there is significant additional demand coming from off-shore investors, or those buying one to a few homes for their relatives or friends, and some just speculate, nothing less or more.

                New Zealanders dare not speak about it, fearing the racism label, same as the Germans dare say nothing against what Israel does to the Palestinians in Gaza or the West Bank. Historic baggage keeps us from naming problems that deserve to be named, believe you me.

                • Paul

                  Stephanie Rogers’ approach is to shit down reasoned and rational discussion of this crisis by crying “Racist” at anyone who questions the matter.

                  • Mike the Savage One

                    Sad really, as this is too serious a topic to let it be ruled by mischievous spin from Act’s Seymour and others that just love to see the progressives fight amongst each other. Racism looks different to what Twyford has done, but to be honest, he could perhaps have done it a bit better, to release that information, as the MSM also jump at opportunities to sensationalise and take things out of context.

                  • This is such a silly derail. As I have said many times, this IS a crisis and there DOES need to be sensible discussion of it.

                    But it’s also, simply, racist to make assumptions about whether people are foreigners based on their surnames.

                    Sorry not sorry for calling out racist things for being racist.

                    • Mike the Savage One

                      That is not what Phil Twyford did and said. He compared percentages of sales over 3 months with the percentage of population based on traditional self identified ethnic backgrounds in the census for Auckland. As there is a big discrepancy, he drew conclusions that there is a suggestion that due to over-representation there appears to be more buying by persons from a certain background than ordinary trends should show.

                      It may be perceived by some as being “discriminating” or even “racist”, but that would mean, because Russians and Koreans drink high levels of alcohol per capita they should not be identified for that, as some may consider this stigmatising and “racist”. I fear you are stretching things into the extreme. Do you know Phil, is he really “racist” ,do you live in Auckland, and dou you know the housing situation here in Auckland? your argument is not based on solid enough facts, I fear. I agree though that Phil could have presented figures like that in a perhaps more professional way, as he usually does, and not given the media so much oxygen to exploit the chance to selectively report on it.

                    • Paul

                      It seems as if you are determined to prevent people discussing this crisis.
                      Do you believe we need data about non-doms owning property in NZ?

                    • It is exactly what he did and he did it again on the nation 5 minutes ago. Fuck me even rimmer from act sounded sensible compared to labours person

                    • D'Esterre

                      @ Stephanie Rodgers: “But it’s also, simply, racist to make assumptions about whether people are foreigners based on their surnames.”

                      Nonsense. That isn’t racism at all. Please, just stop with the racism schtick already: that’s the dog whistle here. Go look up a definition of racism, if you really want to know what it is. And isn’t.

                      Meantime, you’re inserting into the middle of an urgently-needed debate an irrelevant term which has the effect of shutting down that debate, even if that isn’t your intention. If you haven’t got any actual contribution to make, please just stay out of it. But in any event, kindly desist with insulting Twyford and the rest of us.

            • Sabine

              good grief, no the message is not that Bad Chinese people are buying our houses.

              the message is, Chinese people (resident, citizens and non resident/citizens) seem to be buying more houses than any other group of people..

              Nowhere, did Phil Twyford, or the Labour Party state that “Bad” Chinese do this or that…so please don’t make it that.

              Cry racism when it occurs, our drug policies, our school policies, our housing policies that still favor one skin colour of the other, our hiring policies that still favor english names over all the other names, but in this case, no.

              Shooting the messenger because your sense of purity has been offended, does not make the argument any less important. . And gosh and golly, was there not a Headline lately on the daily National Fishwrap : Auckland to brace itself for billions of $ coming as Chinese rules in regards to overseas investment have been relaxed by the Chinese Government. (would that also be racist?) – or would it be racists to demand more data on these house sales?
              So instead of just feeding the rumor mill maybe we do something about it. Maybe you want to petition the Government to do something and provide data, cause that ‘evil” Racist Phil Twyford has been doing that for a very long time now with no luck as the current government does not do Transparancy nor Data Collection as it would not be in their favour.

    • Colonial Viper 1.2

      Anecdotally, there are usually numerous Chinese at every Auckland property auction. But I’m with you on this one Stephanie. This is a shitty and premature thing for Labour to do.

      Did the very white and brown but glaringly zero Asian Labour caucus think of the optics here. How about estimating how many non-citizen Brits, Americans, South Africans, Australians etc. are also involved in buying up Auckland housing.

      Also how many Kiwis collecting their 5th 6th 7th 15th house for their property portfolios.

      Chinese are an easy racial profiling target (and tell me, would anyone in the utterly non-Asian Labour caucus be able to tell the difference between a Chinese or a Korean sir name??? Is Mr Lee Chinese or is Mr Lee Korean?). Certainly it is electorally easier and safer than trying to target influential upper middle class Kiwi voters building up huge property portfolios.

      The irony in timing is Philip Ferguson’s comments yesterday remarking that the early NZ Labour Party had strongly anti-Chinese ‘yellow peril’ roots.

      • I had a tweet from someone in Hamilton who received a Chinese-language Christmas card from their local MP, Tim Macindoe – whose office decided to assume that having the surname “Long” meant they were Chinese …

      • Kiwiri 1.2.2

        Well …. there was a certain John A. Lee too who was a member of Labour’s cabinet a long time ago.

        Ironically, he was responsible for implementing Labour’s celebrated social housing policy of yore.

      • Skinny 1.2.3

        +1 Or like my sister who’s middle name is Lee (which she uses) who happens to live in Epsom and is a very active Auckland property speculator.

      • dukeofurl 1.2.4

        They are using names not faces at an auction.

        THis is essentially the same ‘method’ used by Education to give decile ratings for schools.
        Except they use ‘sound like income’ rather than ‘sounds like ethnicity’
        Some are right and some are wrong. A mesh block average income is wrong 50% of the time.

      • mickysavage 1.2.5

        I have been accused of being on the right of this issue by Phil Quin but …

        There is a nation, let us call it nation X which has billions of dollars available to be lent at next to no interest. Borrowers can buy houses in Auckland for large amounts of money and still make a profit renting them out, so low is the interest rate. Auckland house prices and I am convinced that it is because of the availability of this very cheap money. Part of my work is in real estate and I see the evidence every week.

        The repercussions are very clear. And Auckland’s house prices are surging unlike pretty well all the rest of the country.

        So how do we have a discussion about a policy response to this particular issue or do we do nothing and let house ownership become impossible for the young and the poor?

        • Westiechick

          I applaud Phyl Twyford.
          It is not rascist to want to restrict our housing stock ownership to our residents. It is stupid not to do anything about our housing stock becoming an international commodity. National will never fix this until they are shamed into doing so. This is a first step.

        • Sacha

          It is a big problem. However, you do not stimulate a useful discussion by dog-whistling about race. If this was signed off by the party leader and others in head office, your party has an even bigger strategy problem than I thought.

        • keyman

          to bloody right is it acceptable that next generation have largely been disenfranchised from home ownership. if you’ve been to property auction recently you would realize
          locals who incomes come from the new Zealand economy don’t stand a chance.
          this national government has stood by and allowed new Zealanders who work here who pay taxes here who earning honest living without laundering money to become tenants of people who don’t live here take billions in tax free gain and contribute nothing. ITS NOT GOOD ENOUGH . nick smith should resign.GOOD on PHIL TYFORD THUMBS UP a straight shooter .

      • D'Esterre 1.2.6

        @ Colonial Viper: “How about estimating how many non-citizen Brits, Americans, South Africans, Australians etc. are also involved in buying up Auckland housing.”

        Surely this was one of the points being made by Twyford? Whether you like it or not, Chinese can be identified by name, whereas the others you mention are much less easy to separate out on that basis. And the lists leaked to him are eloquent testimony to just how many Chinese are buying up property in Auckland. The percentages also suggest that a disproportionate number are non-resident.

        But absent any data collection, we can’t know for sure. And we surely do need to know. Twyford will, I hope, treat the shrieking about racism with the contempt it deserves, and continue to pursue this issue with determination and courage. And the rest of us should back him up in that enterprise. It’s well past time that the government showed some courage as well, and implemented a system of data collection. And we all should keep on their backs about it.

    • Sabine 1.3

      No it is not.

      a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another.
      “I had a fear of being called a racist”
      synonyms: racial bigot, racialist, xenophobe, chauvinist; More
      having or showing the belief that a particular race is superior to another.
      “we are investigating complaints about racist abuse at a newsagents”

      as for chinese buying up houses, heck they are buying up whole suburbs. And I have watched my neighbourhood from standard mixed go to literally pakeha/chinese only in two years.
      Of the last houses sold in my neighbourhood, 1 sold to a korean family – owner occupied, 1 sold to a kiwi – owner occupied, 1 sold to an expat returning from oz – still a rental, two up the road chinese – rentals, my rental – chinese – rental , three houses down the road chinese – rentals, one large double story house – one the market a year ago – chinese is currently back on the market marketed to chinese. That is not racist, this is my neighbourhood. Sometimes an observation is just simply that, an observation.

      • mickysavage 1.3.1

        Yep I see it every day in my work. There is a flood of cheap money coming into the country and being used to purchase our houses. Great if you are an Auckland house owner. Not so good for the rest of us.

    • infused 1.4

      For once i’m on stephs side. This leaked info is rubbish.

    • Paul 1.5

      Glad to see a principled response Stephanie. Racism (and what else do you call singling out a single ethnic group based on, of all things, the sound of their names) is repellent. And that it is coming from the Labour Party makes me profoundly sad.

  2. Macro 2

    It’s pretty damned obvious that, that is what is happening. It’s been happening for some time now. My property in Coatesville was purchased by an overseas buyer. The husband did not even visit but looked at it on google earth. The wife walked over it once and that was it. They purchased 5 years ago and haven’t lived in it at all. She is a TV presenter in – China.

    • Macro 2.1

      Further to the above – my friend also sold recently his property in Dairy Flat – to a purchaser from – China. Again the land will be leased out and the purchaser will not live there.

    • Chooky 2.2

      +100…it is the elephant in the room…I could cite much anecdotal evidence but I wont

      …what is needed is statistics

      ( it is not racism but facts…NZ is being bought at a fire sale …. plundered not only materially but culturally and environmentally …and future generations of NZers are being betrayed!…we are bending so far backwards not to appear racist that we are taken for fools…and fools we are)

      …and jonkey nact wont give the statistics or get the statistics and doesnt want to know the statistics …because these statistics will pull down his house of cards

      GO LABOUR! ( pity it took them so long)

      • John Shears 2.2.1

        Well said Chooky

      • But this is the exact problem, Chooky. We need real statistics, not “you sound Chinese so you’re foreign”.

        • RedLogix

          Ask yourself. Where does the economic and political power lie here? With ordinary New Zealanders who are being effectively shut out from home ownership in their own country?

          Or with a very narrow strata of hyper-wealthy Chinese with access to cheap money? And the top 0.2% of Chinese probably outnumber the entire population of NZ. Why would left-wingers be protecting their interests to come here and strip-mine our housing market?

          • Stephanie Rodgers

            You’re reading a hell of a lot into my comment which isn’t there.

            As Keith Ng’s post demonstrates, this “analysis” of “Chinese-sounding” house buyers tells us literally nothing about the real status of foreign investment in Auckland housing.

            • RedLogix

              So on the basis of Keith Ng’s analysis we can safely conclude that wealthy Chinese are a trivial and negligible fraction of buyers in the Auckland market?

              If Labour were using this analysis to create a bogus connection I’d be right with you. But as anyone associated with real-estate can tell you – it is consistent with what people can see with their own eyes.

              And in the absence of hard data that this govt has refused to provide – then what alternative conclusions can we reach?

              • Kiwiri

                What can you see with your own eyes? Do tell.

                And watch your hands if you have a spade.

                • Barbara

                  I know what I can see with my own two eyes – the houses in the street where I live in Auckland which have gone to auction over this past 12 months have been sold to Chinese. 8 at least and still growing as there is another auction coming up soon. I know because I went to the auctions mainly to see what they sold for. Some reside in their homes and others rent them out – one landlord left his gardens and lawns in such a state of disrepair that the windows were hidden by the shrubs which had grown as high as the surfeits under the roof and it became a health/fire hazard and an eyesore in the street. I saw people who lost out at the auctions – the biddings just go on until its out of reach of people who haven’t got loads of dosh. One auction the bidding was done by a broker for two Chinese gentlemen who were with him and they just stood their ground and outbid everybody. Another home sold to a young woman who then spoke to the Real Estate Agent and said “I shall just phone my father in China” – she was heard to say on the phone “please put 1 million into my account”.

                  This sort of cock eyed data being collected is not the citizens of Auckland’s fault – its because there is a lack of serious stats being taken and its a disgrace to young New Zealanders who are trying to buy their first home. Our government treats us with contempt and still some of the citizenry keep voting them in – you only get what you deserve.

              • Colonial Viper

                So on the basis of Keith Ng’s analysis we can safely conclude that wealthy Chinese are a trivial and negligible fraction of buyers in the Auckland market?

                Does Labour have the guts to point out the Chinese in the Auckand property market. YES

                Does Labour have the guts to propose banning overseas ownership of NZ land? NO

                Conclusion: dog whistle to win votes.

              • So on the basis of Keith Ng’s analysis we can safely conclude that wealthy Chinese are a trivial and negligible fraction of buyers in the Auckland market?

                I’m honestly not sure how you reach this “conclusion” about mine or Keith’s arguments without being wilfully dishonest.

              • mickysavage

                I agree with RL and I see the evidence every day. Keith is right to ridicule the quality of the analysis but IMHO there is an issue that needs to be addressed.

                • Kiwiri

                  And would you, mickysavage, use similar language, framing and angle that Twyford has adopted?

                  • mickysavage

                    TBH I have not seen the clip yet. I was travelling back from a holiday today.

                    A question though. How do you address the problem (Chinese accessing cheap money to buy Auckland real estate) without referring to the Chinese?

            • Redbaiter

              The gutless PC NZ media refuses to print all of the facts.

              Read what they are not telling you here.

              Labour have raised some important issues and the debate should not be stifled by those among us who are driven more by ridiculous PC social mores rather than common sense.

        • risildowgtn

          My brothers landlord.. bought 14 properties in Horowhenua.@ sale price.. really rundown….

          they have a 10 year plan.. @ end of 10 years plan to hock them off for profit

          little coincidence theyre chinese is it..

          • Kiwiri

            Well, if we are landlords with those number of properties and such a 10-year plan, we should be calling ourselves ‘foreign Chinese’, metaphorically, if not literally, yes/no?

        • keyman

          oh get off the grass the government doesn’t want to know they know all to well
          and happy doing nothing instead of bashing Phil and labour get in behind them 100 percent because its not in interest of friends of national and a bullshit government is a do nothing government who have thrashed the prospects of an entire generation .

      • Bill 2.2.3

        I guess Maori have been saying something like that for quite some time. Now, they have a point.

        But for people of a culture and society born of plunder and theft to complain in racist terms when others successfully bid for a piece of their transplanted culture/property/whatever…

        • RedLogix

          All ears to see how you separate out colonisation and race here Bill.

          Because at the current pace of colonisation a very substantial fraction of this country will be owned by citizens of a totalitarian foreign state within a decade or two. Do you imagine this will have no political implications?

          • Bill

            Red, we live by an economy that concentrates both wealth and poverty. Whether the wealth is held by a minority of people ‘here’ or by a minority from ‘there’ makes absolutely no difference to those excluded from whatever material products the economy produces by dint of the poverty that the same economy produces.

            That a colonial society has citizens complaining that the very structures they imposed on NZ are now serving ‘others’ (foreigners) better than it serves themselves, potentially racist or xenophobic as it is, both misses the basic dynamics of market economies and is betrays a rather large level of hypocrisy or willful blindness in the face of historical realities.

            • Reddelusion

              Correction bill, equality maybe higher than the past, however clearly relative poverty is not, just think back to your childhood and what you had then and what people have now, even the so called poor, I am talking materially here, are we any happier is another point

            • RedLogix


              So your argument is that when white people colonise it is racist, but when other people do it – then it’s not.

      • ankerawshark 2.2.4

        1000+ Chooky

      • Jim 2.2.5

        The problem with trying to collate data on overseas buyers is that it is easily circumvented. An overseas buyer from Asia will often as not buy through a family member who has residency in New Zealand, thus creating a situation where the purchase will not show up in any data capture. From my experience working in the Real Estate market these purchases are done by people wanting to immigrate to New Zealand in the near future, rather than for pure speculation. This would then point toward a large increase in the Asian population in Auckland in the medium term, which is some thing that I personally don’t have a problem with.

        • Lanthanide

          The problem with trying to collate data on overseas buyers is that it is easily circumvented.

          Maybe, but there are probably further measures that can be put in place to stop circumvention. Like declaring where the funds are coming from; assuming a mortgage in involved, showing mortgage documents made out to the name of the buyer for example. That would seem to avoid the “relative living in NZ” problem, if it is not the relative that actually has the mortgage in their name.

          An overseas buyer from Asia will often as not buy through a family member who has residency in New Zealand

          “often as not” means “half the time”. So putting these measures in place will capture 50% of the activity. Still better than the current capture of 0%.

          From my experience working in the Real Estate market these purchases are done by people wanting to immigrate to New Zealand in the near future, rather than for pure speculation.

          So, if the rule is that they must purchase a newly-built house, instead of an existing one, these immigrants moving to NZ will be helping to increase the housing supply, instead of adding to the shortage.

          Sensible policy.

          • Jim

            Excellent points Lanthanide! Your suggestions focus on how we cope with immigration from Asia in terms of housing need, rather a blame game or racial argument.

          • Lara

            To your point about purchase of new builds as opposed to current stock… that’s one idea, and apparently in use in Australia, and that along with a CGT should have sorted out their property market bubble.

            But it hasn’t.

            And my theory is that it hasn’t for two reasons.

            1. Houses take quite some time to build. Once built the new house is part of our housing stock, and if purchased by a foreigner it’s till purchased by a foreigner. A foreigner owning it does not mean one more house is available for a citizen, it just means the foreigner owns the new house.

            2. Any loophole (and that’s what it is) will end up being worked at, someone will find a way to use it to circumvent rules.

            So I think the solution is to cease ALL sales of our land to foreigners.

            I think you should need a NZ birth certificate, NZ passport or permanent residency stamp in your foreign passport for the sale of any and all NZ property to go through.

            And then we need to limit the rate of immigration to a rate our infrastructure can handle, and that infrastructure includes our housing stock. Because it’s not handling it at the moment.

            And finally give all foreign owners of NZ land 5 years to sell to a NZ permanent resident or citizen.

            Watch the market correct overnight.

            But the people who write the laws own property and they don’t want values to drop. They’re doing nicely out of this bubble. They want to keep it going. And I note NONE of the main political parties have a policy of zero sales of NZ land to foreigners.

          • Visubversaviper

            It is not just the buyer who is Chinese in many cases. The $$$ is from China, the real estate agent is from China, the Planner who puts the subdivision and the new houses applications together is from China, the builders are from China, and lots of the materials for the houses are directly imported from China. Some of them are residents, some are not.

            • Macro

              That is very true. I worked setting out such a subdivision in Albany.
              Indeed many sub-divisions are being created by overseas investors – not only from China but from Australia as well and the designs and materials – all from Australia.

              • Visubversaviper

                I advise people looking to buy in Aucklnd not to waste time bidding on anything subdividable. Find out the minimum Lot size and don’t bother with anything twice that size. Heaps of developers – not all Chinese, but lots of them are, buy the site, move or remove the old house, do a 2 Lot subdivision and build two new houses. You may remember a story in The Herald about departing tenants who had supposedly trashed a “mllion dollar home”. The Herald could find the owner to get a comment.
                The old house wasn’t worth sixpence, but there are two new houses there now and it is not rocket science to work out that the owner was not actually in the country when the paper was looking for them.

      • Reddelusion 2.2.6

        Good old labour channeling The ghost of Michael Joseph savage anti Chinese sentiment. Worked then may work now. Helen will need to make another apology

    • Agent Orange 2.3

      So why didn’t you refuse to sell?

    • infused 2.4

      So don’t sell it to them lol? God damm hypocrite.

  3. Kiwiri 3

    Did the Labour caucus agree and sign off on the framing, angle and strategy that Twyford has embarked upon?

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      It’s too bad Labour doesn’t have a guy like Raymond Huo in caucus any more to raise the most basic objections to something like this.

      • Kiwiri 3.1.1

        Was Labour’s party wing consulted or even sounded off?

        Has Labour caucus or Twyford run this past their multi-ethnic sector?

  4. BM 4

    Looks like Labour is positioning itself with NZ first.

    Shitty,backwards and racist, I don’t like it.

    • Excellent! If you’re in concern troll mode already, this is obviously hitting home.

      • BM 4.1.1

        I’ve got a problem with it because labour is purposely playing to peoples ignorance and prejudices.

        Look at those greedy Chinese over there, they’re stealing your houses Mr and Mrs True New Zealander and it’s all Nationals fault.

        Seriously, I really did expect better from Andrew Little.

        • Kiwiri

          Did Andrew Little give the ok to Twyford going ahead with this?

          • BM

            I’d be really surprised if he didn’t know about it.

            If Twyford is doing this by himself, it should be the end of his political career.

    • McGrath 4.2

      Really Bad Move by Labour/Herald. The loud, screaming headlines blaming Chinese for Auckland’s housing is unbecoming of a “Broad Church” party. Especially when the data is unsubstantiated and depends on if the surname sounds Chinese!!! I’d expect Winston to do this, not Labour.

    • keyman 4.3

      the latter part must be on your cv bm
      racist little tory arse licker

  5. Penny Bright 5

    I wish people would pay a bit more attention to the FACT that the NZ Department of Statistics recommended the ‘medium’ population growth projection for Auckland over the next 30 years (an extra 700,000 people) NOT the ‘high’ population growth projection of an extra 1 million people?

    Spatial planning is, by LAW, supposed to be ‘evidentially based’.

    The Auckland ‘Spatial Plan’ – in basing future growth on the Department of Statistics ‘high’ population growth projection, when they recommended ‘medium’ – in my view – was NOT lawfully based.

    Who pushed the use of the Department of Statistics ‘high’ population growth projection, of an extra 1 million people coming to Auckland in the next 30 years?

    The Mayor of Auckland – Len Brown, and the (former) Chief Planning Officer Dr Roger Blakeley.

    So – an extra 300,000 people purportedly coming to Auckland, based upon the say so of just two people?

    Combined with the ‘ghost City’ of over 22,000 EMPTY private sector houses in the Auckland region (according to the 2013 Census)?

    In my considered opinion – there is NO Auckland ‘housing crisis’ – it is a bubble and fluff SHAM and SCAM, which has been used to spawn the Special Housing Areas legislation to help force State Housing tenants off prime real estate (particularly in Tamaki), and privatise State housing through (private) SOCIAL housing.

    Who benefits?

    Follow the dollar …..

    Democracy for developers?

    And speculators, investors, money-launderers and financial institutions?

    Penny Bright

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      Can a mod please move Penny’s latest cut-and-paste job to Open Mike? She’s made this same post numerous times over the last few months; there’s nothing in it that is relevant to Labour’s housing statement and this particular debate over foreign investment.

      • Macro 5.1.1

        She is not off topic,; this is about the money laundering, speculation, and the resulting housing deprivation caused by off shore “investors” buying up Auckland Housing, and the need to obtain accurate statistics on its extent.

        • Lanthanide

          It’s off-topic because, as I said, she has been posting the exact same story for several months. It has nothing specifically related to this new story, which is about Labour’s data about foreign buyers.

          • Sacha

            Yes, she has been corrected on this false claim before and with links to evidence provided. Pasting the same rubbish repeatedly does not a respectful discussion make.

            • Penny Bright

              Is that right Sacha?

              Missed this EVIDENCE – did you?

              Report of the Social Services Select Committee on my Petition 2011/64:


              Petition 2011/64 of Penelope Mary Bright Report of the Social Services Committee

              The Social Services Committee has considered Petition 2011/64 of Penelope Mary Bright, requesting that Parliament decline to proceed with the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill until the lawfulness of the reliance of Auckland Council on the New Zealand Department of Statistics “high” population growth projections, instead of their “medium” population growth projections for the Auckland Spatial Plan, has been properly and independently investigated, taking into consideration that both Auckland Transport and Watercare Services Ltd, have relied upon “medium” population growth projections for their infrastructural asset management plans.

              We heard and received evidence from the petitioner, but note that the matters she raised have been addressed publicly by the Auckland Council in statements posted on its website and issued to media.

              The Auckland Council’s Chief Planning Officer has said that while Auckland may not grow by one million people by 2041 (the high-growth projection), Auckland Council is preparing for it.

              The city has historically met the high-growth projection, and it is therefore prudent for the council to plan accordingly.

              He said that the city needs to be prepared for, and infrastructure needs to be able to cope with, growth.

              He pointed out that the “Unitary Plan”, which is a part of the Auckland Spatial Plan, sets out only rules for development.

              We understand that actual development would be undertaken only in response to demand.

              Regarding the use of alternative projections for higher- and lower-growth scenarios, we note that the council’s Chief Planning Officer has also said that it is prudent for the AucklandCouncil to provide for the highest likely population growth, and at the same time to be cautious to avoid over-investment.

              He said that the council requires organisations it owns or controls to be cautious about capital spending ahead of time to avoid high borrowing, interest, and depreciation costs, and that any underspending on infrastructure could be addressed through regular budget reviews and incremental expansion of facilities such as wastewater treatment plants.

              The Mayor of Auckland has also said that using the high-growth projection was the appropriate thing to do, and that the council should not be too conservative in their assumptions about population growth.

              We consider that the response to this issue provided by the council appears reasonable, and therefore have no matters to bring to the attention of the House.

              Melissa Lee Deputy Chairperson

              (Supplementary) EVIDENCE that I provided in support of this Petition 2011/64



              Have a good read Sacha – and tell me where ANY of this evidence which I provided to the Social Services Select Committee is FACTUALLY incorrect?

              Kind regards,

              Penny Bright

              • Sacha

                I’ve already spent as much eneregy informing you about this matter as I am willing to. You seem resistant to knowledge so why bother.

                • Penny Bright

                  errr… point to ONE fact or piece of evidence that I have provided to this Parliamentary Select Committee which is incorrect Sacha?

                  In my considered opinion, the one who is ‘resistant to knowledge’ is yourself.

                  “Pasting the same rubbish repeatedly does not a respectful discussion make.”


                  So, I respectfully suggest that you ‘quit while you’re behind’ (as it were) Sacha?

                  Penny Bright

              • Keith

                Well said Penny Bright. I know little of the first part of your piece here but I sure as hell agree with the last part.

                This so called housing shortage seems so contrived and carving up state housing areas and on selling them to well connected developers so bloody convenient especially given its our millionaire National Party members who are behind it.

        • Penny Bright

          Thank you Macro.

          None so blind as those who WILL not see?

          Penny Bright

          • Mike the Savage One

            We know that both Len Brown and his Council, same as Central Government, have fully committed themselves to substantial population growth, and one must suspect, it is due to the fact, that they are incompetent to create economic growth based on more productivity, more diversification and more quality delivery in products and services. Also the old infrastructure (water pipes and drain-water networks for instance) need upgrading and renewing, and as this means more costs, they consider the best way to deal with it to “share” the burden. That means more people on a limited space in Auckland, in the form of more density and “Intensification”.

            This is why we have Central Government take NO action to constrain immigration, which is another pressure on the demand side, as only some buyers of real estate (a significant number though, 40 percent) are “investors”, some of whom are also speculators and land bankers.

            You can assume with good reason, that part of the price inflation on housing is also based on the PAUP, the former Auckland Plan, and the whole strategy towards intensification. This gives investors the message, there is nothing to be lost in buying homes and land in much of Auckland, ans the price can only go one way, upwards.

            The situation is only in part due to a shortage of housing in Auckland, we have massive wealth shifting towards investors and property owners, and on the other side ever more on low to medium income denied any chance to ever own their own homes, and thus be driven into renting. The poorest of the poor (Pasifika and Maori in larger percentages) overcrowd and live in cramped, unhealthy mostly rented homes.

            It cannot all be blamed on overseas buyers, there are these and still some other factors to consider, and other powers at play.

            But what Phil Twyford points out is one likely major problem, the unknown real number of off-shore buyers and speculators, and the reluctance of the government to bring in a proper register does imply, they are wanting to hide the truths from us, as it could lose them the next election.

            Besides of other poverty issues and so, this must be one of the major politically relevant issues the country faces, and it is time it gets discussed with vigour, and yet in fairness and objectivity. I see Twyford’s efforts as one to put pressure on the government, to bring in transparency by way of a register for home buyers. That can only be a start though, and Labour also need to offer us answers and alternatives, as simply criticising National and the government will not sufficiently convince voters.

  6. yucky stuff – maybe just go labourFIRST.

    “It’s staggering evidence that strongly suggests there’s a significant offshore Chinese presence in the Auckland real estate market. It could not possibly be all Chinese New Zealanders buying; that’s implausible.”

    staggering evidence – where’s that then???

    strongly suggests – yeah – feed my meme, it hungry

    could not possibly be – no. never. impossible.

    blaming some ‘ethnic group’ (more likely the shape of their eyes eh) for the goings on of that cities property market is like blaming beneficiaries for being on the benefit or blaming the jobless for not having a job – it is not just factually wrong it is morally wrong too. Yucky stuff labourFIRST.

  7. Kiwiri 7

    Another question to raise:

    Is it politically astute and good statistical/factual judgment to launch off this morning’s line based on the limitations of the data ?

  8. Stuart Munro 8

    Sometimes facts are racist.

    Thirty years ago, if I walked across the Square at 4 in the morning, I was statistically more likely to have trouble if I encountered a person with brown skin and dark hair. These days the numbers suggest I should avoid pasty skinned persons with no hair and large boots. Both of these generalisations are racist, and unfair to inoffensive persons with brown skin and skinheads respectively; nevertheless the prejudices have pragmatic value which do not impinge on the rights of non-problematic persons. In the same way, Israelis and Palestinians have quite well-founded pragmatic reasons for minimising interactions with each other. David Stove has an excellent discussion of this area in his essay Racism and other Antagonisms

    The practical requirement for Auckland housing is to prioritise residents, who need to live somewhere. Non-residents, whether they be local or offshore investors have no such need. It is only good public policy to distinguish between the group with needs, and the group without them.

    • Lanthanide 8.1


    • Macro 8.2

      Exactly! I’m afraid that there are some commentators here who are frankly too rapt up in their attempt to be fair and equal handed to all – that they fail to see that there is a definite problem – and it is a very real one. Auckland housing is being bought up by the shipload at present by overseas investors – and many of them are from one country with a very large population, and with quite a bit of spare cash flying around after a rapid growth rate, and the wealthy there are looking for easy opportunities to invest off shore. Barfort and Thompson Agents advertise in the Shanghai newspapers and have been doing so for at least five years. I know my property was (without my approval by the way). But when one is offered a purchase price – cash – 10% above anything offered by a local which also required money to be left in the property at a nominal interest? The answer is obvious.
      The end result is that Auckland, and then the rest of NZers will become tenants in their own country. NZ First and the Greens are right on this one. We need to put limits on the sale of NZ to overseas investors – end of story, and we need to have some decent statistics so that we know the full extent of the problem. Just as we need to know the true number of children living in poverty.

      • ankerawshark 8.2.1

        1000+ Macro @ 8.2

      • Bill 8.2.2

        Is the problem that there are people with a lot of money and a lot of people with just a little money, or is the problem that some Chinese people have a lot of money?

        • Macro

          The problem as I see it is that the is a huge imbalance in the market caused by a number of investors from off-shore (mainly China) because they have been given the ability through a Free Trade Agreement to purchase Property for investment in NZ. Interestingly NZers do not have the same rights in China.
          The situation is also clouded by the fact that the actual transaction is done through a NZ resident intermediary – while the money comes from China and the purchaser is resident in China. This is the reason that in many cases there is a long settlement date even though the agreement is for a cash purchase.
          The situation has deteriorated in recent times because the investment market in China is taking a down turn (well highlighted elsewhere) and many are finding easy gains to be had not only here but around the Pacific Rim. Interestingly Tony Abbott has slapped restrictions on foreign property investors for much the same reasons in an effort to dampen the Sydney Housing Market. Vancouver – as redbaiter has noted on this post – is also suffering much the same as Auckland – I walked past dozens of good houses in some sectors of the City bought up and boarded up last year and reports in the paper of much the same concerns as here.

          We can guesstimate the numbers – much as we do with child poverty figures – but just as the government doesn’t want to know the facts surrounding child poverty it doesn’t want to be embarrassed by disclosing the extent to which NZ is being sold off shore – because many of these people are the people who are lining their pockets (eg)

          • Bill

            k. Let me re-couch what I was saying. If a dozen or so business people born in NZ, between them bought up hundreds of properties to rent out, and due to their increased asset base pushed prices upwards as they increased the size of their portfolios, would you see a problem?

            If not, why not?

            And if so, then what the hell does the ‘overseas buyer’ thing have to do with anything when the end result for most prospective house buyers and renters is the same in either scenario (locked out from the housing market and paying extortionate rent)?

            • Macro

              Yes I agree that that would be a problem as well and there are people doing that as we speak. But that is another problem. Now we have two sectors competing against each other, and the result is even greater inflation of the housing market. One sector (the local one) is being controlled to a small extent with the introduction of the “CGT” and the imposition of high deposit rates, but the other sector has access to large quantities of money at low interest, as is largely unaffected by the minor controls recently introduced. Further more as I have said – we need to know just how extensive this problem is – and from many accounts it appears to be large.

              • Bill

                So what you are saying is that if the competition, between already wealthy house buyers seeking multiple properties for rent, was removed, then the problem would be essentially different to the one we have now?

                The problem: People can’t afford to buy a home and rents are far too high.

                Access to cheap cash (or whatever) by one section of buyers when they are competing with another set of buyers who would do the same thing as them with their purchase (rent it out) is irrelevant.

                • Macro

                  I believe the market needs to be controlled far more rigoursly than it is now. I am also of the opinion that foreign investors with access to cheap money are not wanted. I do not want to see NZ becoming tenants in their own country beholden to absent landlords – my family has had enough of that already in Scotland.

        • Lara

          I think the problem is that NZ is a small country with a low average income.

          And it does not take a large proportion of buyers who have more money than NZers to push up prices.

          It only needs a small amount of wealthy buyers, with access to cheaper credit, to push up prices. If those buyers, from China or the USA, Canada, Britain or any other country, come from a place where their property is in comparison more expensive than ours then they may see our property as cheaper. And so they’re able and willing to pay higher prices. When some of them do then that pushes up the benchmark of expectations for ALL sellers.

          The very rich in China alone are more numerous than our entire population.

          • Bill

            And it does not take a large proportion of buyers (whether NZers or foreigners) who have more money than most NZers to push up prices

            How many NZ born landlords own huge portfolios? In what way does their asset wealth not push prices up?

            You can disbar all the foreign buyers you want, but the basic problem of high house prices and extortionate rents will remain: the rate of price increase might slow a little, but it’s kinda irrelevant whether something out of reach is getting further away faster or slower – out of reach is out of reach.

            • Lara

              That’s true, there are still wealthy people in NZ and they will always have more money to buy property than the rest.

              The point I was trying to make, is that we are forcing NZers on their relatively low incomes to compete with a global market of very wealthy individuals.

              Yes, prices may still rise. But the rate of increase may be closer to our income increases, and NZers may be able to keep up.

              Increasing the proportion of very wealthy buyers is only going to push up prices faster.

              • Bill

                And so we come back to the essential problem which is one of disparate amounts of wealth and both poor people and rich people wanting the same thing (a house), but rich people wanting the house so they can rent out to a poor person who will essentially buy the house for them.

                Actually, that’s not quite true. Housing supplement (ie, the public purse) pays a fair proportion of the mortgage in many cases.

                So kill the cash cow.

                Crash the rental sector by passing legislation on max rents being tied to a formula around GV, and then at some propitious juncture abolish the housing supplement. Hmm. One flooded housing market awash with crashing house prices ensues.

                • Lara

                  Yep. Pretty much I’m in agreement with you. It’s a problem of rich and poor, of those who can afford it and those who can’t.

                  Except I think the market will shortly take care of the price problem, but in that view I’m aware I’m a minority.

                  There’s another part to this issue though. We’re treating property primarily as a store of wealth, as an investment, and as a vehicle for capital gains. Before we’re treating it as shelter.

                  And that’s actually what it primarily is. Shelter. Which is necessary for human survival.

                  And a high rate of home ownership promotes a more stable society. So overall it’s something that I would hope a government would promote.

                  Anyway, there’s more than one way to get prices to come down. Capping rents is one way, although I’m not sure how it’s worked where it’s been tried.

              • keyman

                new Zealand incomes have been suppressed for 23 years since national employment contracts act and the key mob wants them even lower

            • Melanie Scott

              One thing I do know is that NZ born landlords are not buying houses in Auckland and locking them up empty. I know of several houses in very expensive streets in Remuera and Parnell for example, where that has been and is still happening. I also know where the some of these buyers of expensive houses live and it is not New Zealand.
              It would be interesting to note how many of the commentators on this thread actually live in Auckland. I suspect that many who think its all a racist beat-up do not. If they lived in Auckland they would have heard conversations on this subject every single day among people of many different social and political backgrounds expressing extreme concern, BASED ON WHAT THEY SEE AND HEAR AROUND THEM EVERYDAY IN THEIR OWN STREETS AND SUBURBS!

              • Lanthanide

                +1 Melanie

                I don’t like in Auckland, but I’ve read enough anecdotal reports to know that many Aucklanders think foreign buyers, who at the moment appear to be predominately Chinese, are a problem.

                Certainly the comments on Stuff on this story are overwhelmingly in support of Labour and their statements, and the majority are (correctly) saying this is not a racism issue, and that facts and data are not in themselves racist.

  9. Skinny 9

    Phil Twyford me old China there is no I in we. Other than the too many I’s and not enough we (Labour) he whistled quite well.

    ACTually thought little David Lee-mour spoke fairly well, must have had some coaching from Hooton while they sat together in the green room. Wonder if Hooton had to rub the little man knee to calm his nerves?

  10. Penny Bright 10

    If the Public Records Act 2005 was implemented and enforced in a proper, lawful way – it would transform transparency in NZ – in my considered opinion, as an ‘anti-corruption whistle-blower / Public Watchdog’.

    How can you have transparency and accountability without proper written records?

    How can you arrive at meaningful statistics – without proper written records?

    Penny Bright

    • Lanthanide 10.1

      Off-topic, should be moved to Open Mike.

      [Not really off topic. Penny is right in that the record keeping on housing purchases from overseas doesn’t exist. Which is part of the discussion about the nature of the leaked figures. TRP]

  11. Bill 11

    Okay, so I’m willing to entertain the idea that a fair few properties are being bought by people who are a part of a far more dynamic and faster growing economy than NZ’s.

    Throwing ethnicity at it is dog-shit though. And I recall being in a very small minority within the left arguing that same point on the Crafar Farm sales where many threw their lot in with Faye/Richwhite or whatever because – not Chinese. (The less than convincing defense, as I recall, was that German or US purchasers would have attracted the same reaction)

    Anyway. Money. Too much of on the one hand and lack of on the other is at the heart of the problem.

    The housing problem could be partially addressed by limiting rents based on formulae attached to government valuations. Killing the attraction of property portfolios would be a start.

  12. Kiwiri 12

    If anyone has Twyford’s ears (no doubt, he will be quite busy at the moment and possibly for the rest of the weekend), can someone ask him or volunteer some responses to the following:

    – who exactly is the audience that Labour is pitching this to?

    – what Labour values are being promoted or being put under doubt?

    – how is this a vote winner for Labour and where will those votes come from or go next?

    – how this affects the perception or reduce stigmatisation of NZ citizens/residents/those justifiably here & should have opportunities to buy homes who look like Chinese?

  13. b waghorn 13

    Only an unthinking moron or the extreme PC brigade would see it as a rasict attack if the nats weren’t willfully ignoring the problem labour wouldn’t need to be doing this.

    • Kiwiri 13.1

      While I don’t necessarily disagree with you yet about this, the Labour Party (Caucus?) is losing the moral high ground given Twyford’s angle and framing.

    • Lanthanide 13.2

      Generally I agree, although I wouldn’t call them unthinking morons or extreme PC brigade.

      There is a lot of concern, from ‘average NZers’ living in Auckland, about Auckland house prices. There has long been suspicion about foreign Chinese investors buying up property in Auckland, pushing house prices up.

      The data Labour have is unfortunately limited, and of course the MSM who boil everything down to its simplest components have made it appear to be a racist attack.

      Really it is simply an indication that is stronger than the anecdotal evidence so far that foreign Chinese are buying up houses in Auckland. Its yet another plank towards putting a proper data collection system in place so an informed policy decision can be made, about what, if anything, should be done about foreign investment in housing.

    • Karen 13.3

      I must be an unthinking moron then, because I see this as the worst kind of racist dog whistling. I am absolutely appalled that Phil Twyford, who up until now has been doing a great job with housing, should indulge in this kind of stunt. I’ll bet the Herald were thrilled to get the opportunity to expose Twyford as an idiot.

      For the record, I live in Auckland and I do believe there is a big problem with people who live overseas buying up Auckland real estate, but using a shonky bit of ‘research’ that just focusses on people with Chinese names from one real estate agency is just dumb.

      Twyford and Labour should just have kept asking for the government to supply figures and question why they are refusing.

      • Kiwiri 13.3.1


        Or re-frame. On the grading scale, it would be quite optimistic to reckon that the current framing would score as high as the Party’s in present polls.

      • Raf 13.3.2

        Read Rob Salmond on Public Address. No one “focussed” on Chinese names – they were just there.

    • ankerawshark 13.4

      Bwaghorn @13 1000+

    • keyman 13.5

      PC brigade in here all right tyford all guts no pc bullshit

  14. millsy 14

    If nothing else we get to see who will be waving little Chinese flags when the PLA marches up Queen St.

    • BM 14.1

      The yellow peril taking over NZ ,aye Millsy.

      Typical racist South island hill billy. thank fuck for Cook strait.

      • Kiwiri 14.1.2

        I can so hear Nats – during 9 years of Labour, they signed the Free Trade Agreement with China.

        I guess, shrugging off any yellow jaundiced views and looking for the silver lining, Labour will repudiate future (and reverse previous) free trade agreement provisions that give foreign buyers equal access to buying houses. And to ensure consistency, while Labour is at it, Labour can also say no to corporate buyers and no to TPPA.

      • TeWhareWhero 14.1.3

        “Typical racist South island hill billy. thank fuck for Cook strait.”

        Thereby demonstrating your own brand of bigotry BM.

      • Stuart Munro 14.1.4

        Time we cut the cable and let you tossers do whatever it is Gnats do in the dark.

      • millsy 14.1.5

        Deng Xiaopeng the Chinese leader who won the power struggle that took place after Mao’s death and whose prize was the right to set the future direction of his country said once ‘to get rich is glorious’.

        That is the Chinese culture. Money and riches. Everything else is subordinated to that. Thier version of capitalism is make as much profit as you can and to hell with whoever gets hurt.

        There is no welfare system in China or universal health care — meaning that if you do not have a job, or get sick, you are screwed. You lose your house and you starve. The Chinese are social darwinists, through and through, no work, no eat.

        There are no unions or labour laws in China, no sick leave, no holidays, no overtime pay, no minimum wages, you get paid 60c an hour, and work from sun rise to sunset with no breaks. If you form a union and go on strike, the boss just rings the local barracks.

        There are no environmental laws in China — companies can put what they want in their rivers and pump as much toxic gas as they like into the air, and they do! Beijng (dont know why they changed it from Peking) is thick with smog, and rivers are toxic to touch — full of acid.

        All because ‘to get rich is glorious’.

        When Chinese gain control of our houses, our businesses and economy, do you think they are not want to lower labour and environmental standards here? Do you think they are not going to want to get rid of what is left of our welfare system, and privatise health?

        Chinese are also social conservatives. Homosexuality is still punisable by death in China and parents beat their kids on a regular basis.

        Do you really want the Chinese imposing their values on us?

        • North

          Oh Millsy……how gross of you to raise those realities. You are very, very naughty ! This whole thing is about a bunch of ‘immaculate’ thought police bursting to disport themselves as emblematic of saint-like ‘purity’. By bagging the deficiently ‘pure’.

          Which means of course that if any of them has ever protested against asset sales or if any of them has concerns about the TPPA then they’re fucking hypocrites.

          Means also they’re more concerned about how in their own mind’s eye they ‘look’, than how New Zealanders fare in the face of invasion by limitless foreign money. How unselfish, not. It’s all about them and they’ll carpingly maintain that dishonest imperative with gratuitous accusations of ‘racism’. Calling the ‘impure’ to account. Marks their ‘purity’ you see.

          • ropata

            +1 what a stupid debate. some people care more about being PC than about whether their fellow kiwis can afford a warm place to sleep. the current bubble is a huge failure of government and is totally contrary to the egalitarian ethos that has given us our amazing quality of life up till now. but let’s flush it all away and sell our heritage for a few beads and blankets. FFS

      • infused 14.1.6

        That is quotable.

    • Lloyd 14.2

      We will get the Shanghai stock exchange buying the whole country from the nats first. Guess it will be National’s Mom and Pop investors who will be waving the red flags………

  15. bearded git 15

    I would say twyford is pitching this at the nice old couple I just talked to in Karamea who said to me “its got to be stopped” (chinese buying up our country). There are votes in this,

    • Kiwiri 15.1

      oh yes, it will be truly lovely to see polling after twyford’s interview today to give the labour party a bump?

  16. BLiP 16

    . . . Housing Minister Nick Smith attacked Labour’s methodology . . .

    Hahahahaha!! Classic. Rather than address the point being made, National Ltd™ attacks the data. Hilarious considering the methodology used by Nick Smith when justifying why ACC had to accumulate a mountain of cash by over-charging the public for years and years in order to help create the myth of a “budget surplus”. What a joke this John “The Liar” Key and his National Ltd™ government really are. It would actually be funny were it not for the fact that they are getting away with it.

  17. Sable 17

    The emperor is wearing no clothes but don’t expect the MSM to point this out anytime soon. They are the clue keeping National in office.

  18. North 18

    FOREIGN investor FOREIGN investor FOREIGN investor……THAT is the central point. Yet we squabble……

    • BM 18.1

      So why focus on the Chinese?

      The only reason I can see is to whip up hate, well done Labour

      • Macro 18.1.1

        Just ask a few people who have sold recently in Auckland. Chances are it will not be to a NZer, and the likelihood is that the purchaser lives in China and is being bought through an intermediary here in NZ.

        • Colonial Viper

          And what stopped all these vendors from accepting $25K less and selling to a local born Kiwi?

          I’m all for Labour proposing a gutsy and comprehensive ban on foreign purchases of NZ land. But they haven’t have they.

          What they have done instead is a gutless and poorly thought out dog whistle

          • Macro

            I think you will find CV that the difference is not $25K but substantially more. In my case it was a 6 figure number (and it didn’t start with 1), and cash, and that was 5 years ago.

          • Lanthanide

            Why should individuals not make the best choice for their personal economic future?

            That’s simply not how game theory works.

            It is up to the government to set the rules, and the individuals to play the game by those rules.

            The government needs to set the rule that non-residents are only allowed to buy newly-built properties.

            • Colonial Viper

              Why should individuals not make the best choice for their personal economic future?

              Then what is all the bitching about?

              Kiwis are getting very rich from these Chinese buyers, surely a good thing that we can all celebrate.

              • Lanthanide

                Kiwis are getting very rich from these Chinese buyers, surely a good thing that we can all celebrate.

                *Some* individual kiwis, who were lucky enough to own property in a time and place that they could onsell it for big margins.

                We should not “all celebrate” for a few lucky souls, especially when their luck is at the direct cost of other kiwis whose interests we as a society should care about more in the long-term, than we do for foreign investors who see our country as nothing but a way to make a quick buck.

                Similarly, the actions of many individuals can put the entire system at risk, and you need look no further than the subprime mortgage crisis in the US which was a result of slack rules by their government to understand this point. The fallout of that screw up was global, and many Americans who had lived quiet, economically-sensible lives got caught up in the mess, to speak nothing of the billions of non-Americans who had their lives impacted as a result of slack regulations and casino playing by the financial elite in the US.

                • Colonial Viper

                  We should not “all celebrate” for a few lucky souls

                  Not a “few lucky souls” though is it – every Kiwi who owns a house in Auckland has benefited from massive increases in asset value.

                  • Lanthanide

                    “Not a “few lucky souls” though is it – every Kiwi who owns a house in Auckland has benefited from massive increases in asset value.”

                    Not every kiwi that lives in Auckland owns a house. Many would like to, and cannot.

                    Also, the rise of house prices in the short-term may appear to be a boon for those that own property. But if it is a bubble (as most commentators suggest that it is), and the bubble pops, then a lot of people who took out large mortgages to buy property may be in a very sticky situation.

                  • Macro

                    CV it has got to the stage in Auckland where a young couple with $100,000 in their back pocket cannot afford the deposit on a modest 3 bedroom house in the city in which the live and work. That is the downside to all this – it has got to stop.
                    And yes – I was lucky enough to make a good amount of money.
                    We seriously considered not accepting the offer because we had a suspicion that the purchasers would not live there. Furthermore we had invested quite substantially in the redevelopment of wetlands (around 2 Hectares) and the reestablishment of Kauri and Kahikatea) The area had once ‘boasted’ 27 saw mills and the remains of the breaking down sawmill was still on the property. These developments would not be respected, despite having been fenced off, and so it proved to be although I am pleased to note that one area has been left and is doing well. It wasn’t an easy decision to make – but we also felt that others who may not have been born in NZ had a right as well. Our son in law is from India.
                    In retrospect I think the proper decision would have been to hold off for a NZ buyer, but we were not to know that the property would never be used by the buyers (although we had our suspicions).

                  • greywarshark

                    Cool it CV I thought Lanthanide was making similar to your own apparently objective points. There is another problem for all Auckland people who don’t sell their houses in that local rises tend to change the rating load from other areas to theirs which hurts the long-term owners on fixed incomes.

      • North 18.1.2

        I suggested, continue to suggest, that the focus be on the FOREIGN investor. Point to anything I said which wilfully focuses on or characterises any particular race. You’re staggeringly disingenuous BM. Means dishonest. And one of the most virulent haters on this site. So cut the crap concern.

      • Ffloyd 18.1.3

        Facts and stats! They’re out there!

    • Macro 18.2

      I know! ***shakes Head***
      No wonder the left can’t get any traction.
      Why can’t we ask how much property is being bought up by foreign investors? Isn’t this something NZ needs to know?

  19. les 19

    Plenty of votes in this for Labour.About time they grew a pair.Any racist slant is media inspired.

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      Don Brash got a good poll bump after Orewa eh.

      • Phil Goff tried the same trick, and neither of them became Prime Minister.

        • Kiwiri

          At this rate, Philip Stoner Twyford has just ruled himself out of the 2017 leadership hustings.

          • Paul

            Simple question.
            Do you think we should be having a reasoned discussion what the effects of non-dom ownership of properties affecting housing for NZ residents?
            Or is it more important to discuss the trivia of politics?

            • Sacha

              Do you think Labour leading with race may have diverted from such a reasoned discussion?

              • greywarshark

                Do you understand the fact that there is a Chinese flight of money overseas, that housing worldwide is becoming a safe investment in uncertain times, that that causes housing affordability problems to the people in countries accepting foreign investment, and that the said Chinese money is coming into NZ faster, along with or in advance of Chinese investors? And that there is wide opinion that Auckland housing prices are fast approaching crisis levels?

                Or are you not interested in finding out and effecting countervailing measures but have some other matter in mind?

                • Sacha

                  That’s exactly the sort of discussion and action we need, without the distraction of racist dogwhistling. Labour have not done the cause any favours.

    • Lanthanide 19.2


    • Kiwiri 19.3

      Ok, so are we looking forward to a bump in the upcoming lot of polls for Labour? This could well be the Labour Party’s Orewa moment? If so, will media have a field day giving it a name? Twyford’s The Nation moment?

  20. joe90 20

    meh, tories – no regulation, no data..

    “People are blaming the buyer. It’s the wrong direction,” said Ms. Liu, who has served in Vancouver since 2011. “I mean, the regulation here, nobody’s playing the role.”

    Ms. Liu said this situation would not be allowed to occur in China, and pointed out that China’s government frequently wades into the country’s real estate market, and has strict policies with regard to affordable housing. She suggested a number of possible measures Vancouver could take to make housing more affordable, including the introduction of quotas to increase the number of affordable housing units within new buildings, greater oversight of real estate developers from the city and a tax or fee for overseas investors who want to buy luxury properties in the West Coast city.

    “Data!” cry Vancouver’s beleaguered house poor. “Give us data!” Their shouting has yet to pierce the stone-deaf resolve of our senior governments’ refusal to do so.

    In the meantime, the debate on the effect of offshore investment on the Metro Vancouver house prices festers in a stew of anecdote and urban folklore.

    The result leaves a bad taste in the mouth. It has set generation against generation, and fed anti-immigration and anti-Chinese resentment. Meanwhile, our governments and our real-estate industries offer up figures and arguments that are at best vague and at worst deflections.

  21. cricklewood 21

    Pretty weak analysis really…
    Anecdotaly speaking I think there is a real cultural difference in terms of the family group which also is reflected in these figures.
    I have become acquainted with several Chinese families through my primary age daughter, they all live in million dollar + epsom homes. Where they differ from most ‘kiwi’ families is that 3 generations live in the same home and they have all pooled their money and resources to purchase in the Grammer zone in the belief that it will benefit the youngest generation in terms of education.
    The financial power of the whole family unit greatly out weighs that of an average couple with either a single or dual income could and im sure that this is reflected in the figures provided.

    • Lanthanide 21.1

      While that is an interesting anecdote, it rather misses the point.

      The concern with foreign investors is that they’re buying up houses to rent out and not live in them themselves.

      • cricklewood 21.1.1

        Yes I do agree that non resident buyers are the issue.
        I was pointing out that those ‘with Chinese sounding names’ are possibly over represnted in the purchase statistics used in this analysis due to the way the tend to operate in terms of a family unit.

        • Lanthanide

          Er, wouldn’t that be backwards?

          If multiple generations of people “with Chinese sounding names” were all living together in larger houses, then that would result in fewer individual houses being sold to people “with Chinese sounding names”.

          Or are you suggesting that instead of only comprising of 39% of the sales, we’re lucky that it’s not more like 60-70%?

      • Penny Bright 21.1.2

        What about the empty houses that appear to have been purchased for speculative capital gain (or money-laundering?) – which are neither being occupied nor rented out?

        Again – proper written records need to find out the FACTS.

        Penny Bright

        • greywarshark

          This is a legitimate business practice for high fliers where is inflation, and that is why government needs to step in and stop it when it is hurting us. Years ago I learned about it when I was in London.

          There was a high, brand new building intended for offices in a good part of the city. None of its numerous floors had ever been let. Each floor was assessed for rental at the current rate, every quarter or could have been monthly. The potential revenue for the building went up and therefore so did its capital value and also then the collateral on any loan that the owner company wanted. It was of more value empty with the latest rental rate that the inflationary 1970s would bring, than with tenants using it who would expect to have at least a year before revaluing and rental rises.

        • Kevin

          Money laundering??? Oh yes, it’s the Chinese mafia that’s the problem …

          • greywarshark

            Why did you bring Chinese mafia into this? I don’t recall that being mentioned in this intense discussion. Did you want to throw a firecracker into the works and obstruct that discussion? The answer is yes I know, so don’t bother to reply.

  22. Mrs Brillo 22

    Go Labour!

    It’s been obvious for years that rich overseas people in search of a bolthole for themselves or just for their wallets are finding our property a bargain, and that their money will always outswamp the locals’ efforts with our low wage economy.

    We’ve watched German and American and even Australian money buy up plum spots and build their architectural dreams, or build homestays or “lodges” that locals cannot even afford to stay in – they’re for rich tourists. Ask anyone on Waiheke, or in Nelson/Golden Bay, Queenstown, Wanaka, Bay of Islands.

    On a personal note, the last two des reses belonging to me and Mr Brillo were sold to Americans (Bay of Plenty) and Australians (Seatoun, Wellington). At least these purchasers had the grace to live in them, even if one lot were property speculators. And even if the Aussies retain another multi-million dollar home in Sydney. Our obnoxious cousin from the Channel Islands, UK, however, does not live in the property he bought in New Zealand, it was bought purely as a money-making venture. [The Channel Islands strictly control the sales of island property, incidentally, and operate a high standard of eligibility and a two-price structure, one for locals and one for outsiders. Some properties are not even allowed to be sold on the open market.]

    So getting this glimpse of the way in which the Chinese are concentrating on Auckland was just one more aspect of the invisible overseas buyout of our land and property. If the data Labour gathered represents 42% of sales, that’s indicative enough to be getting on with. If the Government has better data – let’s be seeing it. If not, why not? National has always been the party of fudged or missing data. Time they pulled finger and came up with some hard facts and hard action, or why are we paying them? To sell us out?

    • Lara 22.1

      I think you’ll find most National MP’s own multiple properties.

      They don’t want to do anything at all to bring prices down. It would negatively affect their equity portfolios.

      • Colonial Viper 22.1.1

        uh not just National MPs

        • Lara

          Of course not, but it’s National who are currently in power. So it’s National who get to make our laws ATM

          • Colonial Viper

            just making a point that there are no MPs with Auckland property portfolios who want to see serious reductions in property values, whether those MPs are in Govt or in Opposition

            This is one reason I am suspicious of Labour’s use of the Chinese name list. Making Auckland houses “affordable” again would require that a lot of Auckland houses fall under $400K. (Or as DTB reckons, under $200K).

            There is no one who owns Auckland housing in Parliament who wants that.

            • greywarshark

              Answer. Build more state houses and maintain the ones they have, and at same time run housing workshops for their tenants showing them how to maintain their homes. (Surprisingly an anecdote is that some tenants never air their houses, don’t open the windows and houses become very damp with walls having to be replaced.)

              Then there would be interest in maintaining their homes, with occasional helpful inspections by a jack of all trades who could make or assist with small repairs. And a monthly prize for the best kept homes. Make it a matter of pride and aspiration to have a good looking place, and help to keep them functional and satisfactory. Bring some happiness into the relationship instead of the cold treatment of them as needy people of little worth.

              Also provide (again) to couples who are on low wages but are trying to be good savers and managers, cheap interest say 5% on fixed term on 25 year mortgage, with small deposit saved over say 2 years to show stability of the mortgagors. That’s what i had in the 1960s and it gave a good start.

              • Colonial Viper

                Yes all that stuff

                Also it is vital that we not try and squeeze 40% of NZ’s population into Auckland. The regions are crying out for population and economic activity and yet everyone keeps funneling into Auckland.

                • greywarshark

                  CV Too true.

                • Weepus beard

                  CV, you’ve bravely stated that you are are Chinese New Zealander and I don’t mean that it’s brave to state that you are a Chinese New Zealander, but rather that it’s brave to say anything about yourself on a message forum.

                  You’ve just lamented that more foreign buyers (and for that matter new immigrants) don’t go to places other than Auckland so what do you suggest “we” do in order to help make this happen.

                  I assume you mean foreign buyers (and new immigrants) because it’s a little unfair to expect people who were born in Auckland, or who have lived in Auckland for some time to be encouraged to leave only to be replaced by a non-resident, or a new New Zealander, don’t you think?

    • ankerawshark 22.2

      1000+ Mrs Brillo

    • greywarshark 22.3

      That’s interesting Mrs Brillo – about the Channel Islands. I heard on Radionz with Jim Parker in Oz this morning that China tightly limits foreign investment.

      So people want to own property in our banana republic that also has snowy mountains. We’ve got everything!

  23. Brendon Harre 23

    Every large city on the Pacific rim is having to cope with the rise of China. Most have put limitations on foreign buyers as a coping strategy. NZ is naive if it thinks this is not an issue to discuss.

    Well done Phil Twyford for his efforts in openly discussing what many are saying privately.

    • Lanthanide 23.1


    • Scintilla 23.2


    • This is such a diversion. No one is saying “oh there’s no problem with foreign speculation in the housing market.”

      But you know what, it’s really difficult to have a serious discussion about the issue and how to deal with it when your argument is based on such solid ground as “I think your name sounds Asian.”

      • Lanthanide 23.3.1

        Actually that’s exactly what National and Key are saying.

        That’s the reason why Labour released this information, as shaky as it is, because it discredits the government and will hopefully force them to do something.

      • RedLogix 23.3.2

        Gone beyond stupid this debate.

        If for example the govt refused to release ethnic breakdowns of people in prisons, and Labour then released a survey showing that surnames of obviously Maori background formed say 50% of the prison population, but only 15% of the general population, and this might well be indicative of a very real social problem – would Stephanie be yelling this down as a racist dogwhistle?

        Of course the methodology for this purchasing data Labour has released is less than robust, but neither does this render it meaningless. It is consistent with what people are seeing. It is certainly indicative data, and strongly suggestive at that.

        What buggers me is that instead of putting pressure on the govt to do it’s job and gather some real data the left then plays the race card against itself, takes the pressure off the government – and effectively defends the right of a small hyper-wealthy slice of foreign capitalists to strip-mine a tiny New Zealand real-estate market at the expense of ordinary kiwis.

        • Colonial Viper

          do we see evidence of a plan from Labour to effectively pressure the Government then. I see a PR bomb dropped into the middle of the room, then…what? Labour was gutsy enough to do that; but are they gutsy enough to ban foreign ownership of NZ land.

          Or is their goal simply to point the finger at Chinese to help ‘stimulate discussion’.

          • Lanthanide

            They released it on Saturday morning for a reason.

            Lets assume that this upcoming week in Parliament and in the media they will make their case for what should be done.

            If, after a week, they have failed to capitalise on it at all, then your statement above that they “[dropped] a PR bomb into the middle of the room” will be a fair one.

            “but are they gutsy enough to ban foreign ownership of NZ land.”

            You’re assuming / stating that that is a good idea. I don’t necessarily agree with that and I don’t think the case has been made that it is.

            “Or is their goal simply to point the finger at Chinese to help ‘stimulate discussion’.”

            I’m sure if the data pointed the finger at any other nationality, it would have and they would have presented it. Just as RL says, if it were talking about maori imprisonment rates based on surnames, would that be “racism”?

          • RedLogix

            There are a number of layers in an answer to your question.

            In the short-term there is no doubt a flood of capital is fleeing China looking for a safe haven. And various countries around the Pacific Rim, notably Canada, Australia and New Zealand are being impacted heavily.

            This is a capital flood on top of an existing pressure due to record immigration inflows and a poorly functioning building industry. There are reasons why all nations maintain sovereign borders; it is to control and mitigate exactly this kind of issue.

            The longer term issue arises from the fact that New Zealand is now an unusually open and uncontrolled economy in a world which is generally not. Notably we find ourselves in an FTA with a Chinese society which is very different to ours, politically and socially – with China being the vastly dominant partner. While FTA’s are ostensibly trade arrangements, they almost always come with unintended social strings as well. Many kiwis are apprehensive about what this will all mean, and how we should manage this relationship.

            • Colonial Viper

              problem is, I think Labour is too neoliberal a party, and its MPs own too much Auckland property, for them to sincerely push for effective steps to limit the highly problematic flow of hot money and cheap credit into the Auckland housing market.

              Yes, thats an assumption on my part, and the one i used to conclude that Labour has basically dropped the ‘yellow peril’ PR bomb in order to win votes, while not proposing anything serious (other than lets collect more data!)

              Lanth reckons i should give Labour all of this week to construct their case for strong action. i will be waiting.

              Mean time I’ll be looking out for any increase in police cases of Asian bashing in the paper.

        • Lanthanide


          Don’t think I could have put it better myself.

        • greywarshark

          @ RedLogix
          The most insightful comment I have read in this post.

  24. JanM 24

    This is all pretty distressing, really, from the point of view of someone who has Chinese family members – I’m just glad my grandson still doesn’t read newspapers (or blog sites).
    I don’t think for a moment that Phil Twyford had any racist intentions, though he was dreadfully naive and must have known what others would make of it.
    The real issue is that the market is being distorted by foreign buyers (and, as has been pointed out there are several countries involved). The problem is that the minute he said “China” there was a lot of uproar from the right and the MSM, which could be expected, but also from people on the left who have allowed the main point to be obliterated by veering off up the same blind alley by yelling their heads off about ‘racism’. Think it through, for heavens sake. There must be some way of getting reliable information without MPs feeling forced to go out on such a dangerous limb.

    • Kiwiri 24.1

      “I don’t think for a moment that Phil Twyford had any racist intentions, though he was dreadfully naive and must have known what others would make of it.”

      Has Labour abandoned its apology mode yet? If not, there is still time to say sorry before the new week starts and reinforces the particular way he has crafted his angle.

    • red-blooded 24.2

      Yes, there is a way of getting reliable data – or there would be, if the NACTs would allow data to be collected about the residency status of buyers. Unfortunately, they won’t, and in the absence of reliable residency data this kind of “maybe” indicative data is used.

      An uncomfortable topic, but one worth talking about. The issue isn’t ethnicity, it’s residency, but how does one push for a residency register in the face of the culture of denial and avoidance coming from Nick Smith and his mates? I guess this is one way to put pressure on the government to actually collect some reliable data. If it shows that there’s not a real problem, great. If it shows that there is, then we need to be brave enough to make some changes to our laws.

  25. Enough 25

    Housing Minister Nick Smith last week said numerous Government departments had told him foreign buyers were not having any significant effect on the Auckland housing market, and there was no need for a register of foreign owners.
    So that’s all there is to it, period.

  26. Sanctuary 26

    It is insulting to say that if you say Chinese people are buying up properties you are inciting racial hatred against the entire Chinese race. The only people getting their knickers in a real twist about this are the has-been 1990s identity politics brigade. My view is most people have long moved on from the infantile debates of people who demand you recognise their difference but then go berserk when you do in any terms other than grovelling servility.

    I know at least four couples who have in the last six months missed out to fairly obviously off-shore Chinese buyers. All four are quite capable of being pissed off at Chinese hot money keeping them out of a house of their own without then hating Chinese in general and asking around for the address of the local Klan grand wizard. There are simply too many Chinese in Auckland who are people’s friends and work colleagues and local shop owners for that to happen as easily as that.

    However, that state of affairs won’t last forever, and approaching the issue like the three monkeys lest you be accused of racism is probably the most certain way to ensure an eventual racist backlash.

    • Lanthanide 26.1


      • Scintilla 26.1.1

        Quite. I wonder why it is not plain for some to see that the powerful don’t give a flying what ethnicity, gender, values one has, as long as you have money and/or resources to trade or exploit. The powerful can create their own subculture where they do whatever they like, with whomever they please. It is the 99% who have to live with the fall-out of their machinations and have extremely limited options to create a lifestyle they might find fulfillment with.

        It is simply rising to the bait to shout racist xenophobia every time an issue like this arises, it is what the PTB want us to do. Opposition then implodes. Divide and rule as ever.

    • Anne 26.2

      It is insulting to say that if you say Chinese people are buying up properties you are inciting racial hatred against the entire Chinese race.

      Agree. In Auckland, most of us have good friends and neighbours who are of Chinese extraction and we make no connection between them and the off-shore property speculators from China.

      • North 26.2.1

        There’s something weird (and infuriatingly indulgent) about the overarching need to be seen as ‘immaculate’ when there is a real issue about property purchase (particulary at auction) where there is a clear divide between prospective purchasers separated by very easy access to relatively cheap money on the one hand and difficult limited access to relatively expensive money on the other hand. I do not enjoy once again starting to see Stephanie Rodgers as unacceptably overbearing (and inaccurate) in her snap personal judgments. Shit, did I just say that ? Off to Coventry for me, or my bunker (if I can run fast enough to get there before arrest and merciless denunciation as a ‘racist’).

        • Paul

          It’s as if this is not a subject people are allowed to discuss.
          Jumping up and down at the start of this whole thread yelling racist is a guaranteed way to shut down a reasoned debate.
          And yet this is a vital discussion for the country to have.

          • marty mars

            The discussion that people want to have is simplistic – simple blame, simple targets and simple solutions, not some vital discussion or reasoned debate at all. I’m pleased that some are prepared to argue against simplistic labels and base racism.

            • Paul

              I think we should have access to real data to make informed policy decisions.
              I do believe a government has its core role the affordable housing of its citizens.

            • North

              That’s your framing Marty Mars @ and those are your characterisations. I am not bound by them. It’s only on account of YOUR framing and YOUR characterisations that I am simplistic and a base racist. Apart from being a gratuitous assault upon my very core, about which you know absolutely nothing, your ‘argument’ which by-the-way is quite off the point is so circular as to be eminently forgettable. Now what were we talking about again……?

              • funny for all my silly circular forgettable framing that you seem to have been affronted by, my points remain – if you blame the chinese for the woes in auckland property you miss the point imo but miss away…

                • North

                  So I did that did I ? I blamed the C…… because they’re C…… ? Sloppy and frankly offensive framing again. (1) I fucking resist being called a racist by ‘immaculate’, hectoring control freaks (I don’t necessarily say that’s you even if you’re working on it), and (2) undeniably there IS an issue re limitless money at nothing rates on the one hand and very limited money at serious rates on the other hand. Ignore that at our peril…..Oh fuck I’m sorry…….done it again. More ammo’ for you to cluck “Seeeeee……” and be childish. About someone you know fuck nothing about.

                  Since you insist on being quite off the point there is another point that does remain. You have no right to abuse as racist people who see the ‘money’ problem. Whoever it is has the easy money to specially equip them doesn’t matter. Grow up !

                  • jeepers getting yourself a bit worked up there old chap. If my opinion doesn’t apply to you then let it go and save your heart the excess activity.

                    I have no issue with you – if you are not blaming the chinese for the auckland property woes then you are excluded from any criticism you may believe is there in my comments. Personally I think there is a problem and the chinese who buy the properties (if that is true) are not to blame. Blame the fatcats who have sucked the money out over generations, those lofty names of auckland (not sure? read some road names and that might help), they and the policies they push through their lackies in parliament are to blame. Hopefully that is grown up enough for you eh.

          • greywarshark


            Top repeat Phil Twyford’s appropriate and logical response at the top of this post to the over-PC response – Chinese NZers 9% Akl popn. People of Chinese descent bought 39.5% of houses sold by major Akl real estate firm. This is foreign money. 2/2

            • Paul

              It is therefore important we continue to discuss this without being intimidated by the racist claims.
              As a comparison, Israel uses this tactic of calling out ‘racist’ whenever anyone questions it’s policies in Gaza. The tactic is intended to shut down debate.

            • Sacha

              Keith Ng’s rebuttal of that line of reasoning:

              “What Phil Twyford has done is just a sleight-of-hand with percentages:

              39.5% of house buyers are ethnically Chinese…
              …but the resident Chinese population in Auckland is only 9%.
              9% of residents can only buy 9% of houses…
              …so 30.5% must be non-residents! Ta da!

              Here are the same numbers, in absolute terms:

              3,500 house buyers are ethnically Chinese…1
              …but the resident Chinese population in Auckland is 126,000.
              126,000 residents can only buy 126,000 houses…
              …so, uh, yeah.

              It is entirely plausible that 126,000 people can buy 3,500 houses. “

              • greywarshark

                We lack stats which is often the case in New Zealand. It’s not so easy to face facts as to have fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants or mad hatter’s tea party decisions that suit the pollies in power and their friends.

                So here are some stats that could possibly be helpful.

                40.1 percent of people in Auckland City were born overseas, compared with 22.9 percent for New Zealand as a whole.
                For people born overseas who are now living in Auckland City, the most common birthplace was China, People’s Republic of,
                and England is the most common birthplace for all of New Zealand.

                Ethnic Groups in Auckland City, 2006 Census
                Male (%) Female (%)
                54.1 55.1
                7.8 8.0
                Pacific peoples
                12.9 13.1
                23.8 24.4
                Middle Eastern/Latin American/African
                2.0 1.6
                Other ethnicity
                New Zealander
                8.2 7.0
                Other ethnicity–other
                8.3 7.1

                Total Auckland in 2001 1,160,271
                2013 1.415,550 rise of 255,279
                Asian residents. 2001 151,644
                2013 307,233 rise of 155,589
                (I note: The rise of the Auckland population is Asian by over 50%.
                A substantial growth compared to those of all other ethnicities.
                Asian does not refer just to Chinese, it also includes Indian, amongst
                other ethnicities.)

                It appears that if one looks at the total population, the numbers of Asian ethnicity are similar to numbers of Maori and Pacific Islander combined, and those two groups together almost equal the European, then on straight population figures house sales would about 33 per cent for each group.

                Now that would be nice, but we know that the Maori and Pacific Island people are not in a position to buy their share. Also the European figure covers a broad range of countries, and does not indicate long term NZ residents and the number of recent immigrants from the many countries in Europe.

                Anecdotally, Auckland people have said they are regularly outbid by Asian buyers. I think that we can accept there is a trend for this to happen. We however don’t have definite information, and we do not know how many are short-term residents or outright foreign owners buying through their agents of their own ethnicity.

    • It’s also insulting to pretend that it’s not racist to assume where people come from based on their surname.

      • Sanctuary 26.3.1

        This story led 3News. For once, Labour is wedging the government who are screaming “racism” and therefore accusing the common sense of the people as racist.

        Good politics (even over at the Kiwiblog sewer they are arguing amongst themselves) about a hot button issue.

        The new left has to forget about what a bunch of comfortably well off, has-been 1990s liberals over at sites like PA think about issues. This is popular, it addresses an actual reality, and it talks to ordinary Kiwis. If you don’t like it, go join the National party and scream “RACISTS” at the top of your lungs.

        • Sacha

          Onward to the great marxist future, comrade. With pale skins and blue overalls as far as the eye can see.

          • Sanctuary

            I’m sorry Sacha but while you are an honorable exception who is at least prepared to have an argument most of the PA regulars are nowadays chiefly notable for their egos.

            Gramsci said “all men (and presumably women) are intellectuals but not all men have in society the function of intellectuals”. i.e. that everyone has an intellect and uses it but not all are intellectuals by social function or advantage. Every society and group within that society creates an intellectual class to which it looks for leadership and to help it function.

            Now consider, then, the fact that most of the regular PA crew won’t post on the Standard, they think themselves above this grubby site and it’s crude, nakedly ideological posters. What does that tell you about the group that should be providing a significant quota of Gramsci’s intellectual leadership? I think they stand accused of the sort of undisguised snobbery that drives the working class to seek leadership instead from the likes of Nigel Farage or Boris Johnson, who at least have the good grace and manners to conceal their contempt for their intellectual and/or social inferiors beneath a more or less sophisticated layer of lies.

            It seems to me, then, that the sort of soft socialists of PA are of no real use to a left that is now (thanks to their lack of effort) unburdened with the concerns of incumbency. We now need an new generation of intellectuals made of much sterner stuff and with new ideas drawn from more than just a bland, liberal, Anglophile world view.

            • greywarshark

              PA? I have looked at the Acronym finder and can’t decide which one. Perhaps the cognoscenti can advise.

              • ropata


                this issue seriously pisses me off.
                the bloody minded short sightedness and naked self interest from a group of highly privileged and wealthy individuals who then have the temerity to cry “racist” at anyone who complains that NZ is being sold to a bunch of faceless foreigners.
                these are the same privileged wankers who don’t want motorways to south auckland so that brown faces won’t be seen in their precious leafy takapuna or parnell cul-de-sacs.
                these are the same privileged arseholes who vote down the slightest hint of a CGT (never mind a LVT) and are stoked about giant casino convention centres, but don’t give two craps about their fellow kiwis dying in mouldy rentals.

                the mentality of the transnational elite is protection of their class above any loyalty to a country or people. it is a systemic evil that must be stamped out by a government with the guts to speak out.

          • marty mars

            + 1 Sacha

          • Raf

            Marxist? What are you on about?

      • Paul 26.3.2

        I believe we should have access to data regarding issue to make informed policy decisions about housing.
        I also believe we should be discussing this issue.
        It is ok to question the number of wealthy non-doms buying housing here.
        Housing surely is here for residents of the country.
        Most other countries realise that.

      • Anne 26.3.3

        I’m sorry Stephanie Rodgers @ 26.3 but I believe that to be a non argument. I’m fairly sure that people with very English sounding names do have English ancestry. Some may have been here for many years and others may be newcomers. I also have a reasonable idea that people who have surnames preceded by the letters Van are likely to be of Dutch origin. And if they are of German origin they may well have the letters Von in front of them. I could go on and on… eg. Russian sounding names invariably end in the letters ova and I’ll bet you a dollar such people come from Russia. Likewise Chinese names are distinct. eg. Wong, Wang and Liu. I’ll wager a further dollar those people come from China.

        And you know what, I’m delighted they are all here because – along with our Pacific Island neighbours – they have given us a wonderful diversity and made New Zealand the interesting place it has become. I want to make sure it stays that way.

        • Sacha

          That Winston Peters chap sounds frightfully English, what.

          • Anne

            Sacha its now getting stupid. Of course there are plenty of exceptions to the rule. But they are still only exceptions. The majority of Chinese surnames are held by people whose origins are Chinese. As far as I know Phil Twyford is not claiming his figures are 100% accurate. But he knows they paint a picture that is close to the truth.

            • Sacha

              The problem is the leap from ‘Chinese surname’ to ‘foreign investor’. That’s sloppy stats and stupid politics.

              • Anne

                So, you’re saying that 40% of the sales in question that were sold to individuals with known Chinese surnames must have been bought by the 9% of Chinese immigrants who live in Auckland? Well, its possible this 9% went on a house buying binge earlier this year but Phil Twyford doesn’t buy it. I don’t either. Nor do I buy the proposition that the majority of those 40% of distinctly Chinese surnames belonged to people who were not Chinese.

                • maui

                  I agree with that Anne. Do we need to get stats from other 3 month periods to prove that this wasn’t some “statistical abnormality”, where people of Chinese descent/origin are hugely over-represented in property purchase. Or can we just blame this on a cultural thing where if you’re of Chinese origin (overseas or resident) you’re encouraged to purchase property more than say western societies. I think the answer is in what the stats say, they provide a clear indication anyway.

              • greywarshark

                It would be good if you got off your high horse and stood on the ground and talked with your fellow citizens so we can all be informed by each other.

        • I’m sorry Anne but your logic is ridiculous. There are a huge number of reasons people’s surnames might not “match” their ethnicity.

          They may have parents of different ethnicities. They may marry (often do marry) outside their ethnic group, and change their surname. They may be adopted. Through a fluke of patronymity they may have a surname from one great-grandparent even though 3/4 of their ethnic heritage is from a different source.

          And – this is not an insignificant factor – a huge number of people, throughout history, who have immigrated to Anglo nations (or had their land colonised by English-speaking people) have had their names Anglicized, either through “soft” peer pressure or outright force.

          It demeans the whole breadth and variety of human experience to say “oh well you’re a Von that makes you German.”

          • marty mars

            + 1 and so obvious that it is sad that it had to be said.

          • Anne

            Please get off your high horse Stephanie. You know damm well what I was trying to say and there’s nothing wrong with my logic. Does one have to dot every “i” and cross every “t” for you people? Of course there are reasons why people can have surnames that don’t match their dominant ethnicity – or the one they choose to identify with. Who is denying that? No-one as far as I know. I was merely trying to put it in terms of the surname distinctiveness of different nationalities and their language.

            You don’t live in Auckland do you. We have a major problem here Stephanie. There would not be too many Aucklanders who have not witnessed with their own eyes what is going on. Many of us are seeing it all around us. Houses bought by Chinese foreigners (yes, we’ve seen and talked to them or their proxies, so we know they are Chinese and we know they don’t permanently live here) at grossly inflated prices and sometimes leaving them empty for long periods before on-selling them, or collecting inflated rentals from them for a period of years and then on-selling them. They are denying Auckland citizens of all ethnicities (including their own) from being able to purchase their own home because of the grossly inflated prices they have played a major role in perpetuating.

            • Stephanie Rodgers

              I am from Auckland. Most of my family live in Auckland. Maybe you should get off your high horse and stop assuming you know everything there is to know about people.

              You’re the one sneering about how “people with English sounding names probably have English ancestry”, which is a laughable statement given England’s history of invading, colonising and imposing its language and names on other cultures.

              It’s not about “dotting every i”, it’s about not making silly arguments which you can’t back up.

              • greywarshark

                When does a remark become a sneer?
                When it doesn’t present something in the way that others approve?
                Why can’t anything be discussed here without having the PC microscope check it and find something however small, to redact?

      • North 26.3.4

        Glad to see you’ve backed off a little Stephanie. Your last comment, sans ‘racist’ slur, I agree with. Twyford might have been more sophisticated. If only not to incur your initial outrage and name-calling. Which said more about ‘you’ than the issue.

        • Your condescending tone is noted, but I have no idea how you come to the conclusion I’ve “backed off”, or why you think I’m afraid of admitting I’m pissed off by this cheap, racist manoeuvre.

          There is no way to be “more sophisticated” when your argument is “people with funny-sounding surnames are bad.”

          • North

            Your last paragraph Stephanie……that’s not Twyford’s argument and you know it. C’mon. Be honest. I apologise for any condescension you detect. I was simpy trying to say that I’m grateful you’ve turned down the hectoring button.

            You’ve probably got it by now but for me the ‘pissed-off’ arises almost always in response to hectoring from the ‘immaculate’. Different if you’re a dolphin but to the best of my knowledge your origins are not pescatorial.

            ‘Scuse me now…….gotta dash to the bunker.

            • Stephanie Rodgers

              There are three options.

              Either Phil Twyford deliberately set out to race-bait the Auckland housing issue.

              Or Phil Twyford knew this framing would be met with allegations of racism and chose to do it anyway.

              Or Phil Twyford honestly had no idea that saying “people with Chinese surnames are all foreigners” would make him sound racist. Personally, I give him enough benefit of the doubt to say he’s not that silly.

              Whichever one you want to pick, quit painting my comments as “hectoring” when you’re the one being a sneery, pat-me-on-the-head-for-being-a-good-girl jackass.

      • Mike S 26.3.5

        “It’s also insulting to pretend that it’s not racist to assume where people come from based on their surname.”


        How is it racist to say that if you have a chinese surname then you are more than likely of chinese descent?

        You have completely the wrong understanding of what is racist and what is not.

        A surname is often a strong indicator (sometimes the only indicator) of ancestry

      • Stuart Munro 26.3.6


        If someone’s name is O’Brien we can state that unless they have adopted the name they are from a country that added O to a patronymic to indicate descent – namely Ireland. A Mc does the same for Scots, and a svili for Georgians. It may not be perfectly accurate, but it is certainly not racist to use names to ascertain origins.

        Racism may arise with inaccurate use however.

        The objection is whether names can be used to determine nationality in NZ – they cannot with certainty, but quantitatively they probably can. Historically Chinese have been a relatively small fraction of the NZ population, and their names are distinct from the predominantly European names of much of the rest of the population. If a statistic shows a significant over-representation of any demographic it is perfectly reasonable to explore why.

    • Melanie Scott 26.4

      Yes your are absolutely right. Very worrying, and our caring government couldn’t give a fig.

  27. Kiwiri 27

    Well, it’s now 1:23pm, quite a few hours after Twyford on The Nation.
    I myself have “thought long and hard about this story”.
    Framing fail.
    Also need to do classes for stats and good sense.

    • Lanthanide 27.1

      Framing fail by whom – Twyford, or the media? Or both, with Twyford being complicit in that he should have known how the media would frame it?

  28. ex-golfer 28

    Sorry but I am new here and don’t know how to reply to previous comments.
    @Macro – you gave us a wonderful story about how you sold your property in Coatesville and then went on the critisize the actions of the purchaser.
    Obviously you knew it was an overseas buyer.
    So why sell?
    I imagine your answer will be that you got a great price for it.
    Which is probably the same motivation of anyone selling their property.
    By restricting overseas buyers you are therefore restricting your right to sell to the highest bidder or whoever you want.
    Principles are wonderful things but are you not being selective?
    You could have chosen not to sell to the overseas buyer if it concerned you that much.

    • ankerawshark 28.1

      actually it is human nature to want to sell your property for the highest price.

      That’s why we need regulation.

      Actually recently I sold my property in Auckland. I got some pre-auction condition of sales documents. There was one Chinese name in the bidders and I asked my agent if this was an overseas buyer as if it was, I did want to sell it to them. My question was fobbed off by the agent and a friend of mine told me I could get in to trouble if I refused the highest bidder at auction. I have no idea if this was true. I was very pleased a local resident bought it and lives there.

    • keyman 28.2

      there not affecting your rights all the next generation is asking for is the same opportunity that you had when you bought your first home that is a home in line with local income levels that doesn’t take intergenerational wealth to buy or take 50 years to pay off i don’t think thats a lot to ask for its about intergenerational justice thats all we want a level playing field .

  29. Colonial Viper 29

    Labour had the guts to roll out what was obviously going to become a racist dog whistle in the MSM.

    But does Labour have the guts to ban foreign ownership of NZ land?

    • Lanthanide 29.1

      They and the Greens were talking about substantially tightening the rules for the OIO to stop them selling land off to foreigners who couldn’t prove they would make better use of the land than an NZ-based owner would.

      So while not banning it outright, they definitely planned to make it much harder to buy.

      • Colonial Viper 29.1.1

        Its all gutless half measures from this lot.

        China sets the bar. No foreign ownership of land or companies.

        OIO has nothing to do with residential housing either, does it?

    • Karen 29.2

      +1 CV

  30. So – an undisclosed estate agency decides to leak commercially sensitive data to the Labour Party – data that seems to support concerns about a flow of Chinese capital into the domestic property market in Auckland which is helping fuel a dangerously unstable housing market bubble.

    The Herald and TV3 run the story which has the predictable effect of whistling up:
    a) the latent xenophobia and racism in some NZers, and
    b) angry reactions from various sections of the left towards the Labour Party.

    It has also resulted in the unedifying spectacle of the right wing capering about on the moral high ground proclaiming itself the guardian of all that is politically correct and noble.

    On the same day, a major story runs in The Press which details goings-on in the Christchurch rebuild that have massive implications for the way the NZ economy is being managed.

    No prizes for which story has got all the attention. And no prizes for thinking that might just have been the intention.

    So a win-win-win-win for the Nats.

    • Kiwiri 30.1

      And at the end of the week when the red party celebrated its 99th birthday.
      And, coincidentally, the morning after Phil Ferguson raised an interesting point.

    • Colonial Viper 30.2

      Interesting contextualisation TWW…

    • Raf 30.3

      A win-win-win perhaps until we finally see a buyers’ register …

      • dukeofurl 30.3.1

        Eventually we saw a measure introduced to make landlords insulate rental homes.

        Sometimes you do need to raise a stink !

        • Keith

          The rental insulation “solution” is yet another Claytons National Party solution with more outs and holes in it than a sieve!

    • Keith 30.4

      There’s no win win to the Nat’s. Virtually anyone who has tried to buy a house in Auckland simply to put a roof over their heads has stories of being outbid by Asian buyers, and the same ones at times and by well over the margin offers.

      Similarly we all know damned well that there has intentionally been no statistic collection on where buyers of Auckland homes live because National know bloody well a whole heap are overseas based. And they are flocking here because the Laissez-faire wild west that is our property market is a punters paradise.

      Labour is right to out the heard of elephants in the room, why is it acceptable for a bunch of foreigners from whatever country they come from to play casino’s with our country and displace Kiwi’s from home ownership or even the ability to live in Auckland?

      Even worse the entire economy is now basically hooked like a junky on hot foreign money. Take that out of the picture and the whole Ponzi scheme falls over. Well done National, you’ve really out done yourselves this time.

      So to hell with National, they could not give a shit whether NZ residents can house themselves or not and they have either done an abysmal job of managing this mess or they like it exactly the way it is. Either way they are bad for New Zealand.

  31. Vaughan Little 31

    1. look up “hot money”
    2. money from China is having a massive impact on real estate markets in countries that do track these things.
    3. the 9% vs 39% stat misses the point. the question is which Chinese are positioned to bring in money from China to the nz property market. i.e., any recent migrant to nz with wealth in China or with connections to wealthy people in china. I imagine that the minority of people in the 9% category who fit this description would represent quite a large percentage of the 39% of people with Chinese names who have been playing the market, because of the local knowledge that they have.
    5. Keith ng is wrong on this one.
    6. it’s not about ethnicity, it’s about the hot money.

    • Colonial Viper 31.1

      Yep. But Labour is quite ready to point the finger at the Chinese; I bet they are at the same time totally unprepared to sideline hot money out of the Auckland property market.

      • ankerawshark 31.1.1

        Labour are not pointing the finger at the Chinese. Just pointing out the only stats they can get their hands on. Good on Labour and good on the real estate agency.

        • Paul

          “Labour are not pointing the finger at the Chinese.”
          Except that is exactly what they did.

          • Colonial Viper

            and i am not hearing any strong proposals from Labour to take foreign money out of our property market (including farms). Instead i hear watery suggestions to “collect more data”.

            • te reo putake

              hmmm, I think you’re over egging that, CV. Labour’s policy is still to restrict foreign ownership. It’s been policy for a few years as I recall. It’s certainly consistent with yesterday’s release.

              • Colonial Viper

                So Labours policy is still to ban foreign ownership of houses and all farm land over 5 hectares? Has anyone in Labour mentioned this in 2015 or are we just assuming?

                • Nope. You’re building a straw man there. Hopefully not on a foreign owned farm!

                  Edit: This is the platform last election. Nothing’s changed as far as I know.

                  Labour will:

                  Clamp down on the sale of rural land to foreign buyers by limiting the discretion of the Minister to approve sales.

                  Restrict the purchase of residential property by non-residents, so that they will only be granted permission to purchase a residential property if they intend to live here permanently or that purchase adds to our existing housing stock, e.g. building a new house

                  Not allow infrastructure with monopoly characteristics to be sold to overseas interest.

  32. Lara 32

    I think the market will sort this all out sooner or later… and from the looks of things it may be sooner.

    The SSE Composite has dropped 27% in a month. That’s a crash by any standards.

    Now, if Labours unfortunate attempt at providing data on foreign ownership of NZ property is anywhere near the ballpark then investors from China may well be a big enough proportion of buyers here to affect our property prices.

    Many of those investors will need to liquidate assets and fast. They’ll have to sell quickly. Their fear and panic could very well affect NZ.

    We are very closely tied to China now, for our trade and now our property market. We are naive in the extreme if we think their crashing stock market won’t affect us.

    That’s the thing about markets. They go up, and they go down. And when fear and panic sets in they go down hard indeed, and it’s not pretty. And there is nothing any government anywhere has ever been able to do to stop a panic in a market.

    I do realise my comment may be poorly received, I’ve not been commenting long enough here at TS to know exactly how poorly. But I’m aware that when a market is in a bubble, and when that bubble is beginning to pop or is about to pop, that calling it as you see it is extremely unpopular. That’s human nature, and the nature of bubbles. So please, feel free to disagree with me, that’s okay. This comment is just my opinion, but also be aware that market analysis is what I do for a living so it is an informed opinion.

    • Lanthanide 32.1

      “The SSE Composite has dropped 27% in a month. That’s a crash by any standards.”

      It’s corrected back to where it was mid-March. It wasn’t a crash, so much as a bubble that very quickly inflated and then popped.

      Most financial commentators I’ve heard talk about the situation in China are saying that it is unlikely to impact on the wider economy, because the stock market in China is a much smaller part of their whole economy than it is in the US or other countries. It was also all pretty much paper-wealth.

      • Lara 32.1.1

        It closed at 3,877.8 on 9th July. That’s 26% below the high of 5,023.1 on 5th June.

        Yes, it may now be back down to where it was in mid March, but that’s still a drop of 26%. Which still means a great many people involved in that market will now be in serious trouble.

        And that chart? That’s EXACTLY what a blow off top and major correction look like.

        It’s all paper wealth! Particularly in a bubble.

        • Jenny Kirk

          Bryan Easton on The Pundit is suggesting something similar, Lara. I’m no expert in these matters, but unless those Chinese authorities can relieve that stress, then things look like they could get a bit shaky for a while ! Forgot to mention – this is a scenario Bryan Easton has “imagined” !

          The Chinese financial authorities are doing their best to relieve the stress, but we cannot recall a similar occasion when actions by the authorities have been totally successful. Aside from the impact of the financial stress on the Chinese economy, which is now our largest market ….. there is a mysterious connection between the Chinese financial system and the Auckland housing market which may result in the latter coming off the boil….

          • Lara

            From what I know no government or authority ever anywhere has been able to stop a market fall when panic sets in.

            It’s irrational, it’s human. And it just keeps happening from time to time.

            It’s usually preceded by a sharp upwards spike in price, a decline in volume until the end when you see a quick spike in volume.

            And then it’s ready to fall into the abyss. And it’s not pretty.

            I’ve been watching the property market in China with interest for a few years now. They have “ghost” cities of new apartment blocks which are uninhabited. Owned by investors, expecting capital gains. Typical bubble stuff.

            If we think this will not affect us… we’re rather naive.

            • Colonial Viper

              yep i am expecting the Chinese market to suffer several consecutive legs downward indispersed by mini-rallies which the smart money will sell into.

              global ramifications are unknown at this point: China is now a much bigger part of the global financial system than it was during the Asian financial crisis more than 10 years ago.

      • Bill 32.1.2

        So millions of people, as well as institutions, didn’t borrow money at given interest rates on the premise that the return from shares would allow them to pay off the loan plus it’s interest and leave them ahead of the game?

        Hmm. I don’t think so.

        • Lanthanide

          Generally it is difficult to borrow money for the purpose of investing on the stock market, precisely because it is so risky.

          So if they borrowed the money with some other stated intent, and put it on the stock market – all fool them, they deserve what they get.

          If they borrowed the money with the stated intent on putting on the stock market, then presumably they were paying an interest rate to the bank/lender that was deemed an appropriate rate for the risk they were taking on. If they didn’t, all fool the bank/lender.

          Anyway, just reporting that all the commentators I’ve heard on this subject have said that it likely won’t be a big deal to anyone outside of China. I’m not going to second-guess them.

          • Lara

            Actually, trading with leverage or on margin is pretty common outside of China. I don’t know what the rules inside China are though.

            • Colonial Viper

              my understanding is that there has been a massive amount of leveraged trading in China, and margin calls are now a big problem.

              • Lara

                Yep. That’s what I’ve read too.

                Those people are going to be wanting to raise cash. And fast.

                If they’re a reasonable chunk of owners of Auckland property…. our bubble will burst. And a bubble it is.

  33. Tautoko Mangō Mata 33

    Opposing foreign ownership of land is not being racist. While people are thinking about this issue, can they also consider how things will be here if TPPA is signed and it will not be possible to favour local services over services supplied by foreign multinationals.

    National – allows sale of NZ land to foreigners who are non-residents.
    National- if TPPA signed, our sovereign rights will be severely diminished as well.,….

  34. Heartbleeding Liberal 34

    This was a very unwise move. I know of one Asian family who support Labour who are appalled by this racism.

    • Paul 34.1

      Yet the vast majority of those polled by the Herald support stricter rules on foreign buyers buying houses.
      Who to believe?

    • dukeofurl 34.2

      I know another asian family , not chinese, but who are active in the property market, and are unhappy chinese buyers can pay prices well above what a property is worth as a development.

      • Heartbleeding Liberal 34.2.1

        Make the issue about foreign buyers then. This business about Asian sounding last names is utterly pathetic and makes me disgusted to have voted for this party the last time around. Is there really any value in targeting the xenophobic vote?

        My last name does not sound European or Maori in origin, i guess that means that to Labour, the burden is on me to prove that i am a New Zealander.

        • Paul

          I think most people are making the issue about foreign buyers.
          The NZ Herald is a rag so cannot be counted on as reliable.

          • marty mars

            you keep cherry picking paul and it ain’t cherry picking season. For example the herald – believe some but not other bits depending on whether it supports what you believe see and then reread 34.1 – on the latter you quote a poll from that publication and later you dismiss them as a rag.

        • b waghorn

          Oh ffs calm down did you watch the interview?

  35. Mrs Brillo 35

    I cannot see the racism in observing that one country’s citizens are engaged in such and such a legal activity in our country. If true, that is not racism, it is reporting.

    It is the legal status of that activity that we are rightly calling into question, its size and its flow-on effects. And that is something the government is refusing to provide hard data on – fingers stuck in ears and a loud chorus of la la la.

    Nor is it racist to seek to protect the future of our own citizens and workers above those of foreign interests. Most countries do that, and it is called effective government.

    (I sometimes think New Zealanders have racism on the brain, primed with a hair trigger, falling over ourselves to demonstrate how right on we are. Okay, job done, righteous anger demonstrated, we’re super.)

    Now let’s move to looking how we can make our country affordable for our own grandchildren, so that they do not have to work as busboys, shoe polishers, street vendors or coolies after we have been recolonised by stealth. There are plenty of examples of countries where this was allowed to happen. You’ve probably holidayed in one and met the friendly locals waiting on table.

    If our rules are disadvantaging our own citizens, change the rules. It’s up to us.
    If on the other hand, we want carry on the sell off, pocket the dosh and say tough bickies to our kids, that’s up to us too. And race has nothing to do with that.

    • Paul 35.1

      I totally agree with you.
      This discussion is about the rights of residents in this country to afford all accommodation. It is not racist to question the effect non-doms are having on this basic human right.

      • Jenny Kirk 35.1.1

        agree 100% Mrs Brillo and Paul. I thought Phil Twyford on The Nation this morning kept on making that point : he wants the government to take this issue seriously because it is damaging the future of our own citizens.
        But this government does not care about our citizens – so they’ll try to turn this into a racist argument instead.

    • Scintilla 35.2

      Well said Mrs Brillo.

    • Sacha 35.3

      Yes, those Australians and Americans who have been buying up our property need to be told where to go!

  36. Malconz 36

    I’ve worked a lot in China, and I think there’s another aspect to this story that needs to be considered. Try buying a house there – quite simply, you can’t. So in my opinion, what’s good enough for them should be good enough for us. The cries of “racism” are missing the point. The argument isn’t racist, it’s political.

    • Paul 36.1

      I totally agree with you. This is about the rights of citizens to live in their own country.
      To besmirch this rightful discussion with labels of racism is to attempt to shit down an important discussion.
      Does a global elite have the right to transfer their wealth across nations, thereby impacting on locals’ ability to live affordably in their own country.
      The people of London suffer the same problem. A lack of regulations.
      Most countries’ governments look after their citizens.
      The neo-liberal hell that is NZ only looks after the global elite, so well represented by its Merrill Lynch PM, Mr. Key.

      • Sacha 36.1.1

        So make the argument about reciprocal rights. Not what someone’s surname sounds like.

        • ropata

          dude the problem is that there is no public data available EXCEPT Rob Salmond’s analysis based on surname ethnicity. don’t blame Labour for trying to get SOME facts into the discussion.

      • greywarshark 36.1.2

        This is from the link provided by Brendon Harre at 41 below. Canada acting decisively and reasonably while we stand sucking our thumbs and wait for someone from afar to tell us what to do.

        Due to the bubble in Canadian house prices and ensuing concerns over social dislocation, Canada’s government shut down its investor visa program last year. Some 40,000 Chinese visa applicants with a minimum loan to governments of $C800,000 were handed back their capital.

        “That’s roughly $32 billion,” says Tee. “The Canadian government said: ‘We don’t want your money anymore’ and that capital is now hitting the Sydney market.”
        “There is a mountain of liquidity. China is bursting with flight capital. They can’t go to the US, they can’t get it into Singapore anymore, or Hong Kong.”

        On a side bar in the same site, there is the story of the Australian Reserve Bank making seriously wrong assumptions about the market price for housing. The critic says that the statement that it is 30% undervalued is bunkum. The regulators are actually AFU. Better they take a therapeutic break from figures and go into business running a pickle factory. (And the Resve Bank gentleman is called Dr Tulip. The name reminds the reporter of the Great Tulip Bubble of earlier centuries which seems familiar with today’s doings.)

  37. Facetious 37

    How wrong I was for thinking xenophobia was the exclusive domain of Winston Peters and NZF. It has now infected Labour. Very sad to see.
    Mr Twyford has blundered big time.

  38. North 38

    “Very sad to see” yeah right, my arse. You’re spanking the trolling monkey Faecetious……as per…….

  39. Save NZ 39

    Good on Labour, someone needs to say it!

    Hate the way the Nats are trying to wreck our country via destroying the already weak RMA by pretending that this is the problem NOT the real problem which in places like Auckland, is overseas money buying up our property and the monopoly on building materials and outrageous prices on connecting and supplying power and water.

    Thank god Labour has got over ‘offending someone’ and actually using statistics to back up the findings.

    No one is saying they are against Chinese coming to NZ, (or anyone else) it is buying up property with overseas money so that locals become tenants in their own country that is the problem and the speculative developers that are changing the way property is built and our city is organised. i.e. 30m2 un family friendly studio apartments for the poor and 5 bedroom 5 bathroom mansions for those with money. Contrast that against the 50’s state house model with 3 bedroom 1 bathroom detached with garden places that most families were housed in. Now local families are in a car! Something is wrong!

    • keyman 39.2

      there not affecting your rights all the next generation is asking for is the same opportunity that you had when you bought your first home that is a home in line with local income levels that doesn’t take intergenerational wealth to buy or take 50 years to pay off i don’t think thats a lot to ask for its about intergenerational justice thats all we want a level playing field .

    • Ffloyd 39.3

      Just plus !

    • Save NZ 39.4

      And the Aussie developers are now to buy our state houses!

  40. Save NZ 40

    Just go to some Auckland Auctions for those who are in denial about the extent of the problem.

  41. Brendon Harre 41

    A massive wave of Chinese money was rejected by Canada. It is now heading down under. What are the Natz going to do?

    • Sacha 41.1

      Grab their ankles?

    • b waghorn 41.2

      Key welcomes any money coming into the country he has stated that dairy , Christchurch and Auckland housing is what is driving growth in nz .
      This being the case the nats will do nothing unless there polling tells them to act.

    • Save NZ 41.3

      @ brendon

      Ask for a donation.

      Off the books.

  42. adam 42

    Twity Twyford strikes again.

    “I taut I taw a ashwan tat a creepin’ up on me houses.
    I did! I taw a ashwan tat as plain as he could be!”

    I think Mr Twyford, its time to stand down and claim the pension, you racist ninny.

    Far out, really, did you miss the memo, it’s the twenty-first century. And just in case you missed it here is how you attack national on the housing bubble you twit!

  43. maui 43

    I’m not sure why all the hoo-haa, the real issue is that Twyford was wearing a dark blue tie in the interview!

    • Colonial Viper 44.1

      brilliant. and is Labour willing to halt the flood of hot money and hot credit into the property market? Nope, of course not.

      • te reo putake 44.1.1

        It’s still Labour policy to restrict overseas purchase of NZ property last time I looked.

        • Colonial Viper

          then Twyford should come out and say that Labour is banning foreign ownership of houses as well as all farm land over 5 ha.

          This was Labour policy last year. Lets hear Twyford back it up, now that they have raised the issue to the front page.

          • te reo putake

            Dunno what farms have to do with this specific issue, but no doubt NZ First will bring it up in coalition talks! The housing issue is covered in Labour policy already, as you know.

  44. Ad 45

    If anyone wonders why it’s so strange that new NZ immigrants start off voting Labour, then switch to National, Twyford’s comments give a clue.

    National have been winning Auckland from Labour for the last 3 terms, with great Chinese support. Labour clearly wants to keep pissing all over the Chinese vote and donor, and retreat back to the poor of South Auckland for any remaining vote.

    They are continuing to narrow their appeal in Auckland. Flat dumb politics.

    IMHO Chinese and Indian and US real estate capital continues to be the only thing keeping the entire NZ economy floating at the moment. We don’t have to fall on our knees and thank our lucky stars for that, but nor do we have to complain either.

    • Save NZ 45.1

      Hello, the Nats are desperate to get more Chinese in, and anyone else cos guess what, they vote Nats. Apparently the only politician most Asians can identify is John Key.

      Personally feel it is good for Labour to now be differentiating between Labour and Nats on policy.

      • Please provide some citations for your assertions, or you might also run the risk of looking kinda racist.

        It’s also a bit racist to just assume “Chinese people vote National” as though it’s some robotic reflex. Maybe you could re-read Ad’s comment and ask yourself if Chinese people who don’t vote for Labour have a pretty good reason not to.

    • Mike the Savage One 45.2

      I remember rather well, how many Indian migrants, and also Polynesian migrants loyally voted for Labour, and many still do, because they felt they got some appreciated “support” from their Labour MPs with getting fair (helpful) treatment with immigration challenges. Mt Roskill and Mt Albert electorates come to mind, same as some in South Auckland.

      So in that sense, something similar seems to be happening with other migrants, who are welcome and “assisted” also by the present government and MPs of the parties belonging to it.

      This has always struck me about New Zealand, how certain favours, quite legal ones, get returned with some political preferences and loyalties, showing in voter support, often for a lifetime.

      Maybe Labour MPs have due to having been in opposition since 2008 had too little “leverage” to make this well established process work for themselves, as it seems to be easier to “achieve” things when the MPs belong to parties in government.

      What suits one side of the political spectrum obviously suits the other one as well, hence so much ACT support in Epsom electorate from new Chinese migrants, and I witnessed a lot of this last general election. And National is popular, as the migrants they favour are business savvy ones, often well qualified ones, with a very pro capitalist mindset, so naturally they will tend to vote National, which has contributed to the last election results.

  45. TheBlackKitten 46

    This silly bullshit PC racism slogan is taking the attention away from what the real problem is. Take a look at Kiwiblog and Whail Oil and you will see that they are singing from the same song sheet. Ever wonder why that is?
    The real problem is that the Auckland housing market is now unaffordable for the average wage earner. Why is that? Who is paying these exuberant prices that are out of reach for the average wage earner. We know it’s not the average kiwi but due to both the Clark and Key governments refusal to collect data on housing sales, we don’t know who is buying our property from under our nose. Quite a pathetic state of affairs really and a black mark that future generations will curse us for.
    Yes, this is a very clumsy collection of data from Labour, but it’s good to see one of their members actually making an attempt to look at a big key economic concern to kiwis rather than wallowing in some PC dogma about gender based selections for their party.
    To read the whinging about racism on this site really does confirm to me how far many left wingers have drifted and have become distracted with PC dogma at the expense of looking out for the economic concerns of the average kiwi. At least Twyford is giving it a go. How about we focus on the real issue here and demand to find out just who the fuck is pricing everyone out of Auckland instead of worrying about some bullshit PC slogan of racism that will do fuck all in giving the average kiwi a chance to buy a house in Auckland.

    • This silly bullshit PC racism slogan is taking the attention away from what the real problem is.

      Nope, reducing the issue of Auckland housing to “people with funny surnames are the villain” is what’s taking attention away from the real problem.

      • Lanthanide 46.1.1

        The only person making that reduction is you, Stephanie.

        If the real estate sales data had a simple tick-box for ethnicity, they would use that. Unfortunately, it does not. So they have to use a proxy from the information they have. The only proxy they can use is surname. Is it perfect? No. Is it 100% accurate? No. Is it 90% accurate? Probably not. Is it reasonable to assume it is 60-70% accurate? Yes, it is.

        So, given 9% of the resident population identify as Chinese in the census, and the rough analysis of surnames suggests that ~40% of the houses sold in this period were to Chinese people, some explanation for the discrepancy is required.

        Given that 45% of the houses over $1,000,000 were sold to people with the Chinese-sounding surnames, this further suggests that this group of people buying houses has much more money available to buy houses than the average NZer who could not afford a $1,000,000 house.

        To say “oh, this data isn’t 100% accurate therefore we should not even attempt to learn anything from it” is not actually a helpful stance to take.

        National deny there is any foreign speculation occurring, deny that foreign buyers make up any significant proportion of Auckland house buyers and are refusing to do any data collection on it. So this is the best data we have. Hopefully it will force National to do the right thing and start collecting the data, so then we truly can see where the buyers are.

        Here’s Rob Salmon’s article about the analysis (he is the one who actually did it):

        • The only person making that reduction is you, Stephanie.

          Oh, I must have imagined all those gleefully panicked “FOREIGN CHINESE BUYERS!!!” headlines that were all over the place yesterday.

          • Lanthanide

            Ok, you and the simplistic non-thinking MSM. Not sure why you’d want to run their lines.

            Nice to see you ignored the rest of my reply and didn’t even try to engage on the topic or debate it, though. I did spend quite a bit of time typing it out and trying to convey the idea in a reasonable manner. But if you’re just going to ignore it, then I won’t bother in the future.

          • RedLogix

            I’ve carefully read every comment you’ve made on this thread Stephanie:

            Lot’s of accusations that we are all racist bastards.

            Not so much acknowledgement of there being an actual problem impacting ordinary kiwis here.

  46. Ad 47

    BlackKiitten when Labour start preaching about the cost to the health system from non-Resident Samoans, or indeed complain about non-Domiciled Indians taking school places from kiwis, or in fact complain about all those awful Godless Indinesian boat people soaking up our refugee resources, then your “it’s all pc gone mad” rant would hold.

    Twyford didnt go for them for one reason: because they’re Labour supporters.
    But he could go for Chinese because they generally aren’t – they vote and donate Nat.
    Twyford is not so naive as to pretend there’s no politics in this.
    It’s all politics.

    If Labour get a poll bump on this, shame on them.

    • Colonial Viper 47.1

      Labour’s Orewa.

      • Ergo Robertina 47.1.1

        No that’s glib. It’s not Orewa. Have you read Hollow Men? If you had you might not say that.
        In its aftermath journos were asking for evidence for the privilege claims; as there were none of any substance, the Nats fell back on the good old tactic of getting irritable with the journalist.
        The attack was designed solely to stir people up about a non-issue, using dirty tactics and no (not just ropey) evidence.
        The Chinese buyers story is clumsy and I believe a mistake for Labour.
        But it’s not designed to whip up hatred or jingoism, despite what more reactionary quarters of both the right and the left might claim. It was a shock tactic to highlight the Government’s denial and negligence in dealing with the influx of foreign money inflating the Auckland market. And it backfired.
        It is frustrating – the National Party floats above all of this seemingly impervious, still doing well in the polls, despite having become detached from the interests of New Zealand and not serving its interests. A bit like the Auckland property market.

        • Colonial Viper

          you’ll convince me its not Orewa if Labour steps up with comprehensive proposals to take foreign money out of the Auckland property market. Where are they?

          As for National floating imperviously in the polls: thats because Kiwi voters dont see any other serious alternatives that they can stomach switching to.

          • Ergo Robertina


            Labour’s policy is to ”restrict the purchase of residential property by non-residents, so that they will only be granted permission to purchase a residential property if they intend to live here” – and its position has been reiterated in the past day.
            Plenty to criticise in how Labour’s used this data without resorting to false claims that it hasn’t got a policy response to the problem.

            • Lanthanide

              What CV means, is if Labour institute a policy to stop foreigners buying land, full stop.

              It doesn’t matter that Labour have a policy that does what he said, what he wants is actually something else.

              • Ergo Robertina

                For CV to claim Labour can’t raise the issue of foreign speculators unless it wants to ban all ”foreigners” buying land is obvious nonsense.

  47. Paul 48

    My partner is Chinese.

    Twyford and Little are saying that Chinese sounding names are indicative of a problem for New Zealand – seriously? How the Hell can anyone try and defend this? For this to be raised by a LABOUR party is disgusting.


    • cogito 48.1

      Can Kiwis buy residential property in China?

      If not, then the Chinese can keep their sticky mitts off NZ property.

    • Lanthanide 48.2

      No, they are not saying that.

      They are saying that ~40% of sales in Auckland to people with Chinese-sounding surnames, compared to the 9% of Chinese living in Auckland from the census is a dramatic difference in buying patterns that should be explained.

      One explanation is that the houses are being bought by foreign residents who happen to be Chinese.

      Given the house price situation in Auckland appears to be in a bubble and out of control, and the well understood dynamics that increased demand pushes up prices, this analysis suggests that foreign buyers (some, or perhaps most of whom happen to be Chinese) are pushing prices up out of reach of residents (of any ethnicity).

      Politics is fundamentally the debate about how resources should be allocated and distributed through society. Housing is a particularly important resource that should be allocated with care; it is a valid political question as to whether houses should be freely available to foreign investors without restraint.

    • Mrs Brillo 48.3

      Way to miss the point totally, Paul.
      I’ll spell it out for you, concisely, because you seem to be hard of understanding:

      Auckland has a property bubble, properties unaffordable for local buyers who are being outbid and thus shut out of the market by offshore buyers.
      Government will not collect data, and is slow to adopt any meaningful solutions to this problem. Large real estate firm assists with the collection of data, Labour analyses their data and throws up the surprising result in its indicative findings that the names of buyers indicate a massive Chinese dominance in the Auckland bubble market. Furthermore, most of these appear to be offshore buyers.
      Chinese national investors appear to be targeting Auckland and some Australian cities, having been excluded from Canadian investment.
      Other parts of New Zealand – Bay of Islands, Waiheke, Queenstown, Wanake, Nelson/Golden Bay may also be being targeted by offshore buyers, but there is no current mechanism for gathering data on these buyers or their nationalities.

      It’s not about “All Chinese are crooks laundering money” – it’s about not having the propery market stacked against our own citizens OF WHATEVER RACE by allowing offshore buyers to push up the prices and availability of our housing.
      It’s about government unwillingness to take meaningful action to promote the interests of our citizens.

      Get it now?

  48. geoff 49

    This government’s popularity and the net worth of Auckland home-owners is closely tied to the continuation of the real estate bubble, which is why I suspect that even dog whistle politics wont be enough to persuade Aucklanders to vote against National.

    This is why Labour/Greens are fucked. Any policy from them to bring some sanity to the housing market, to use the state to build houses and reduce demand, is never going to be popular in Auckland. They love seeing their house prices sky-rocketing.

    The only thing that could wreck National is the bubble bursting.

    • Lanthanide 49.1

      “Any policy from them to bring some sanity to the housing market, to use the state to build houses and reduce demand, is never going to be popular in Auckland. They love seeing their house prices sky-rocketing.”

      I don’t agree. It’s a tight-rope, negotiating between the existing home-owners who like to see house prices going up, and the people who would like to own houses but can’t.

      I’d suggest that many home-owners wouldn’t mind a period of 1-3 years where house prices plateaued or perhaps even saw slight drops of 1-2%. But they wouldn’t likely stomach much more than that.

  49. Ad 50

    Dead right Paul.

    When regular commentator Phil Ferguson complained yesterday about the history of Labour’s anti-Chinese racism, I really thought “typical Marxist idiot”.

    Nope, he was spot on. More righter than expected in fact.

    Already on this thread people are gleefully saying; “I was at an auction and the Chinese got it again …ta daaaa!” ….

    Wait for stories of Chinese being booed at auctions to start, being taunted on the streets, yup, this is what Twyford opened up with full consciousness.

    • cogito 50.1


      But it’s fine for the Chinese to thumb their noses at struggling kiwis is it, flashing their fat wads of off-shore cash?

      kiwis of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chin*s.

  50. Galeandra 51

    It’s corrected back to where it was mid-March…..

    Correction arrested by government fiat, perhaps? ie Stock market suspension, and blanket ban on anyone with more than 5% of a company’s stocks from selling for the next six months.

    • Lara 51.1

      Like I said, there’s nothing ever anywhere any government has been able to do to stop a market crashing once its begun.

      They can try to stop people selling, but they can’t do it forever. The more they try to stop it the more the panic intensifies.

      I’ve been analysing markets (many of them) every single day for over six years now. I read books on this topic just for fun, every day. I do have some clues about what I’m talking about.

      But anyway. Lets wait and see? I’ll be watching key price points on the HSI along with SSE Composite and the US markets with interest this next month.

  51. keyman 52

    twyford for the the 99 percent at last someone in labor not afraid of the PC mob .
    its national who are the licking the boots of speculators crooked money disenfranchising new zealanders from there own country for fuck sake they cant afford to rent in there own country. we have a pm who is only interested in lies and pulling pony tails the tory scum start yelling racism when the flow dirty money is threatened go Phil go labor you have my vote back.

  52. Save NZ 53

    Not sure how property controls can be considered racist when the Chinese and Australians both have them for immigrants and foreign investors in their countries. Are they racist too?

  53. TheBlackKitten 54

    @Stephanie – Sorry can’t click on replies to comments as I am using an IPad.
    As I said, the data is clumsy but it is an attempt to see who is pushing housing prices up in Auckland. Instead of holding up the racist card, why don’t you concentrate on the issue. The issue is that housing is no longer affordable for the average kiwi in Auckland and these high prices are being met by someone. What we should be focusing on is who that someone is? Instead of trying to deflect the attention away from the issue by holding up the racist card (which is what they are all doing on Whail Oil and Kiwiblog) how about we dig further, how about we try gathering more data and see if what Labours data has suggested is correct. What happens if it was, would you still cry racism then?
    There are a lot of Asians bidding at auctions, not just in person but also on phones from China who have big money. I think we need to concentrate and investigate to see if they are what is creating the issue for average kiwis in Auckland.

  54. Anne 55

    Interesting. These will be people who, in large part, live in Auckland and the surrounding regions. Ooops… I’ve made an assumption based on probabilities and not on officially sanctioned research. Shame on me. Bring in the Thought Police and arrest me for insubordination.

    On a serious note, here is the thought of one reader:

    At least they’ve made a start in trying to measure this problem. Meanwhile, the government steadfastly refuses to collect any data on this whatsoever.

    And why is that? Could it be that a significant number of these rich off-shore buyers – including those of Chinese origins – are donating through trusts and other off-shore entities to the National Party’s well stuffed coffers?

    • Lanthanide 55.1


    • Mrs Brillo 55.2

      Absolutely. Hole in one, Anne.

    • Mike the Savage One 55.3

      People who believe that immigration and especially investment in NZ are totally “neutral” and not connected to political decisions by governments are plain naive. There have always been interconnections and it has happened under both Labour led and National led governments.

      This present government prefers migration that supports the pro business, pro neo-liberal kind of policies it wants to push, and the migrants fitting that agenda love this government, and this government loves the migrants being attracted.

      Just so as it happens that we have more Chinese immigrants, that may simply also be so, because over recent decades Mainland China has boomed, grown and a sizable number of Chinese have become very wealthy. Some of them fancy greener pastures and at the same time opportunities, and New Zealand is just half a days flight away, so they take the opportunity.

      Of course National and ACT will not stop this migration, nor seriously stop larger scale property and other investment coming from the same region, as it suits their agenda. It pushes up house prices, and since many National voters belong to the half of the population that still can “afford” to own property, that benefits their voters also. Hence all the vested interests are quite happy, and as the rest of the population is politically disillusioned or now marginal, they get away with it, and do not bother with bringing in a register for residential home buyers.

      It seems this government is so hell bent on letting this continue, as they have no other solution to “grow” the economy in a quality way. Just let immigration create “growth”, and they can carry on boasting about GDP and job and business growth, until they faint.

      As long as the till rings for developers, for builders, landlords and investors, this government will turn the other way and ignore any other consequences, as long as it can.

  55. TheBlackKitten 56

    @Ad – Perhaps so but let’s not forget what the issue is at hand here. I think that we all agree that there is an issue with housing affordability for the average Kiwi in Auckland. We need to find out why that is. Labour have actually made an attempt to do this and unlike you, I think this is one of the best things they have done in a very long, long time. Why because they are focusing on a key economic concern that affects a lot of people instead of PC dogma.
    Perhaps you and Stephanie don’t like the way they have collected their data as it steps on the toes of the PC rules. But what happens if what their data suggests is really true. What would you think if hard concrete proof was presented that ticked all the PC boxes that still showed that Chinese are indeed pricing the average Kiwi out of their homes in Auckland?
    We need to find out what is creating this and my congratulations to Labour for actually making an attempt despite how clumsy it may be.

  56. RedBaronCV 57

    If residents are being kept out of the market by a wall of foreign cash – no matter what the source- then unless there is some political will to tackle it then we will start getting the rise of parties like UKIP – nasty though they may be.

    • Scintilla 57.1

      Amazing how NZ keeps following the UK political pattern, isn’t it? So much for rowing our own boat. I predict a big bump for NZF and the rise of a UKIP style party, let’s see, who of the Nats would lead such a thing – Collins? I always picture Judith in leathers with a whip.

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