- Date published:
11:08 am, July 12th, 2015 - 177 comments
Categories: housing, labour, phil twyford, racism - Tags:
I must admit it does not feel the best watching Labour being accused of engaging in dog whistle politics. Is it true?
The social media response is mixed with many pouring scorn on the Auckland Housing analysis methodology used without, it appears, even understanding what the methodology is. Others think that the issue concerning the flow of overseas money is a significant issue that needs to be discussed and addressed. Of course if the Government was measuring important data such as non residential purchases of houses and inflow of capital and what it is being used for this sort of guesstimate would not be required.
Rob Salmond has written a calm explanation on what the analysis entailed and in my view the analysis clearly backs up a strong local impression that there is a problem. He makes it clear that the modelling used did not automatically assume that a foreign surname depicts a foreign purchaser. For instance the surname “Lee” triggered a 40% possibility that the purchaser was ethnically Chinese. The analysis is more nuanced than Keith Ng suggests.
Some non Labour commentators have been careful in their response. Daniel Mclaughlin says this:
On the other hand, I do find the logic of what Labour are trying to say fairly convincing. In his post Keith converts the percentages in Labour’s analysis into raw numbers and seems to think that demolishes Twyford’s argument, but I think he’s wrong. I haven’t done a big fancy regression analysis to figure out the likelihood that the sales in Labour’s dataset can be accounted for by Auckland’s resident ethnically Chinese population, but I think the chance is very small. Maybe Labour’s right? Maybe a lot of the buyers in their data are foreign based Chinese investors?
Unfortunately we can’t tell based on what we’ve got. But we do need to figure out a way to talk about the ongoing impact of China on New Zealand without (a) the entire conversation being written off as racist or (b) offending Chinese New Zealanders. Feels like Labour’s just set us back aways there.
I could not agree more with his second to last sentence although I do not necessarily agree with his last sentence.
Russel Brown said:
Focusing on non-resident Chinese investors isn’t necessarily racist either. There actually aren’t any other countries with trillions of dollars of capital looking for places to go, and the Chinese credit and investment environment is very weird, as evidenced by the recent drama on the Chinese stock markets. It is entirely possible that Chinese capital (and credit) is distorting our badly-regulated residential property market.
But this just isn’t good enough data to go out and say so with, especially when you’ve dragged residents into it.
And Bernard Hickey’s tweet summed things up well.
If only we had some proper data on residency and ownership, this Auckland housing debate wouldn't be so painful
— Bernard Hickey (@bernardchickey) July 10, 2015
The basic problem is there is $21 trillion US in Chinese Banks looking for a return, any return. Some overseas residential property, such as Auckland’s, is attractive because it is in a stable jurisdiction and is a bolthole in case of disruption at home. And with suggestions that current restrictions on the export of capital could be relaxed the potential for overseas purchasing of local real estate will only get worse.
Different Western nations have felt the effect. For instance in the United States last year Chinese topped Canadians to rank as the biggest foreign purchasers of U.S. homes by sales and dollar volume. In London Chinese buyers accounted for 11 per cent of all property transactions worth above £1m in 2014, up from 4 per cent in 2012. In Canada inflation real estate inflation through Chinese investment resulted in the hashtag #donthave1million taking off amongst young Canadians who were increasingly being priced out of the possibility of home ownership. And in Australia there has been talk about a “Wall of Chinese Capital” hitting the property markets of Sydney and Melbourne.
A recent Sydney Morning article contained this comment from an ethnic Chinese Property developer James Tee:
“We have been tracking this for two years,” says Tee. Those outflows from China are compounded by the flight of capital out of Canada which is now “bursting” to find a home in Australia.“There is a mountain of liquidity. China is bursting with flight capital,” says James Tee.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.”
Australia has more restrictions than New Zealand in that there is some measurement of capital inflows its use and residential investment is directed to the construction of new houses. But there are predictions of a possible $60 billion investment in Australian houses by Chinese interests over the next six years.
There is a complaint about why Labour made this about Chinese. The problem lies with the Chinese Banking System and the threat it poses to our economic stability and to the aspirations of our young and poor. Attacks on the accuracy of the methodology ignore what is happening on the ground in Auckland although I agree that the presentation of the data should have concentrated on the money and not on the people.
The foreign money is certainly the issue. Perhaps Labour should have concentrated on this to the exclusion of everything else.
fact is that without the comments of Phil Twyford we would actually not having this discussion at all.
fact is, that Labour has asked on more then one occasion that National should create a register that tracks who buys what in NZ. As always National politly declined.
fact is, that more and more people are saying the same thing, namely that their neigbourhoods are being bought up by what appears to be ethnic chinese, they may be kiwi born chinese, or chinese with a PR, but in more and more cases it seems that they are not living here, nor speaking the language etc.
making these observations is initself not racist, and if it is, let’s please never ever mention race as a factor in smoking, crime statistics, obesity, low level participation in education etc etc etc.
was the attempt to shine light on a phenomen that has been discussed for a while now a bit clumsy? maybe, but in abscense of facts what is labour to do? Wait until Nick Smith does his job, or for our National Party Overlords to finally provide us with data in regards to the sale of ths Country?
Fwiw, i would also like to know who much acres of farm land have been sold to non resident/citizens of NZ, how many businesses have been sold to non resident/citizens of NZ, and how many private properties have been sold to non resident/citizens.
So, no don’t feel uncomfortable about what was said, instead simply ask for the information to made available to the public as fast as possible.
Fwiw, i would also like to know who much acres of farm land have been sold to non resident/citizens of NZ, how many businesses have been sold to non resident/citizens of NZ, and how many private properties have been sold to non resident/citizens. – Sabine
For 2013 & 2014 only: “OIO statistics show foreigners bought 26,405ha of New Zealand-owned land to December 2014. For the previous year to December, foreigners bought 65,954ha.” http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/65621748/More-of-NZs-farmland-in-foreign-hands
And the main buyers are noted here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/property/news/article.cfm?c_id=8&objectid=11393727
It was ham fisted and amateurish, but more importantly demonstrated in spades that labour hasn’t got a clue, the people or the ability to successfully run a modern export driven country.
Labour is so bad it makes SYRIZA look professional and competent.
so you are going to ask National to provide the country with the information about foreign nationals buying up slices of NZ?
The *maximum*, *potential* fine if you fail to provide an IRD number is $25,000.
Would be nicer if the penalty were confiscation of the property, eh?
Also, homes that are purchased to be the “owners main home” are exempted from the requirement. Fairly easy to drive a bus through that one.
IRD wanted it to apply to all house sales for everyone, including NZ residents. Government disagreed – because they want to leave loopholes open.
I support the tax being applied to every home purchased whether the owner lives in the home or not. After all every home purchased is an investment.
It’s not a tax.
Doesn’t stop the use of proxies or agents.
There are loop holes galore in this one – Australia has tried to band aid it, but whether that will help? Also a lot of people on student visas act on behalf of family while they are here to purchase a house (currently nothing wrong with this).
A lot of NZ originated agents are making money out of this – expect a virulent defence.
I think an IRD number for every purchase is the first point of call, people will be more conservative when they realise they are left holding the cards. Also allows for taxation records should they be needed in the future.
Why would National do that? they are making millions a day for their nest eggs
What utter Bullshit BM. It was on money and anyone who has half a brain knows it. As said in this blog it is all about foreign money flooding our housing market and quite simply pricing out New Zealanders. What the hell is good about that!
And the fact is National are totally to blame for sitting on the arses and watching this mess explode.
And where did you come up with “the ability to run a modern export driven country”. Not only has that nothing to do with housing but ironically its all National have ever had insofar as exports go, to allow our property/assets to be sold off to the highest overseas bidder!
Auckland is a international city, comparable to Sydney, Melbourne etc.
It’s not Pigsknuckle, Otago.
Auckl;and comparable to Sydney and Melbourne haha
Sure it is Colonial Rawshark, a whole lot of white people feeling uncomfortable that their white New Zealand , oops, I mean white Australian policy, failed.
lol – that is funny
Hey mate, leave your put-down comments about Otago out of this. My province suffers under monetary policy aimed at controlling your city’s house prices, but I haven’t been making anti-Auckland comments, because:
a) I’m an adult, and
b) it’s not relevant or helpful.
Maybe you have something to learn from us down here in the South.
No, its education level is lower.
Like Sydney and Melbourne, but smaller, poorer, and dumber.
Auckland is a international city what a joke its traffic jamb at the bottom of the world
Yes, it is; everybody is welcome to exploit us, so long as they have the money. Perhaps they’ll have second thoughts when the market inevitably corrects itself.
yeah right good one…….its all about the money for you isn’t it!!!……don’t worry about anyone else….you’d make a great butt plug for shonkey or hotchins or hoskings…….unbelievable
How are bridges in northland going?
Found all that public land for housing in auckland yet?
Key read the advice from IRD yet?
Mcully and the Sheep deal – competent?
And current debt 100 billion
dv don’t forget the brighter future and rock star economy
And many many more.
Naked rightwing ideological posturing is an unedifying spectacle so you’ll forgive me if I avert my eyes.
PHIL Twyford’s reputation has suffered a big blow. Labour needs to speak on this issue through a more adequate spokesperson. Are there a few votes in xenophobia? Yes. Ask Winston about it, but they are not worth pursuing.
Go look at the comments on stuff or other websites. I think you’ll find the vast majority are in support of Labour, and they also recognise that this is not a racist attack.
Profiling by last name to apportion blame on a perceived economic problem has been done before. But they lost WW2. I guess Labour don’t want the Asian vote. Twyford is indulging in hamfisted nonsense that Winston indulges in. Is this a strategy. Does he have proof that all those people with scary foreign sounding names aren’t NZ residents or citizens buying through the one real estate company he obtained date from ( let’s assume it exists as he won’t name it).
“Does he have proof that all those people with scary foreign sounding names aren’t NZ residents or citizens buying through the one real estate company he obtained date from ( let’s assume it exists as he won’t name it).”
No, and he’s not claiming he has proof.
He’s simply saying the 40% vs 9% proportions of buyers vs permanent residents needs to be explained.
The most likely explanation is off-shore investors are making up the numbers. This fits with the average house-buying Aucklander’s perception that open homes and auctions are full of Chinese buyers, especially with auction bids “by phone”.
“He’s not claiming he has proof”. Bullshit that’s exactly what he’s claiming but won’t back it up with evidence. The reason he used this data was to prove what Labour are claiming. FFS why else would he wank on about it. Jesus wept, you’re dim.
“…and I believe on the strength of these numbers, that off-shore, Chinese investors, are a very significant part of what’s going on.” @ 1:57, Phil Twyford, The Nation
“we believe that it’s about 95% accurate, and it certainly points to a very strong conclusion.” 2:46
“but if this data shows, and I believe it strongly suggests, that off-shore Chinese investors have a major presence, possibly as high as 30% of the houses sold by this real estate firm over a 3 month period, then that is very significant” 4:05
Phil is *not* claiming this is proof, he is clearly saying that the reasonable inference to draw from this data is that they are off-shore.
Realblue – so, you have actual data you can provide to us? After all, if you want to win this debate, just… “Give us the facts, ma’m/sir”.
Give us the facts.
Go demand your ‘proof’ from the Tory govt you support.
“Profiling by last name to apportion blame on a perceived economic problem has been done before. But they lost WW2.”
Truly? You’re making Nazi references?… So, presumably asking for a register of foreign owners and/or restricting sales of properties to offshore buyers is somehow synonymous with The Final Solution. You’ve convinced me! Why didn’t I see it before?
Perceived? I would argue apparent. You know an interesting thing that came up in pre-election surveys is how many people had Labour/Green NZ First cross-over leanings. A lot of Nazis in NZ then, we should start making cars, economic problem solved.
Mind you, the average Kiwi does look like a complete dumbarse when viewed from below the sand where my head is.
I wonder how many times today I’m going to here the variation of the theme ………….”I’m not racist, but…”
Seriously folks, Twyford screwed the pooch on this one. Any number of ways he could have presented this, and he went for the race card. He did not have to, he chose to.
One way or another you can get over your racism, and work with working people for a better society. Or you can hide behind your white angst, at being called on your racism.
The topic is housing, getting people into houses which are not over crowded, warm, safe, and liveable.
The reality is, the market can not provide solutions. Never could and never will, when there is a buck on the line.
So offer solutions rather than play the blame bloody game – I’m sick of the blame bloody game.
The Tory scum, made this mess – use your brain to get us out!
Yep, and I will add that as long as we allow tens of thousands of people to keep flooding into Auckland yearly, and allow hot money to keep pushing into Auckland, Auckland house prices will keep climbing.
Having just watched the clip, yes, I agree that Twyford definitely slanted this towards the buyers being Chinese far more than was warranted, and he should have couched it in more general terms of foreign buyers, and he had plenty of opportunities to do so. It did come across as a racist dog-whistle.
So I agree on that.
Hopefully however, Labour’s messaging over the next week will pivot towards the core of the issue, and acknowledge the limitations of the data they have available.
It’s quite possible, for example, for a further 20% of houses are being sold to off-shore Australians. But the methodology that was used (because the only data they have to go on is surnames) simply cannot distinguish that as a signal amongst the data set. The methodology can clearly highlight the ~40% Chinese buyers, and so the argument on foreign ownership necessarily has to mention that they are Chinese, because if it doesn’t then there’s no basis for a discussion:
Person 1: “It seems that one nationality has bought up many more houses in Auckland that would be expected based on their proportion of residents, according to the census”
Person 2: “Oh yeah? What nationality is that?”
Person 1: “Can’t say, it’s a secret.”
Person 2: “So you don’t really have any evidence, at all, then?”
Person 1: “If I said the nationality, everyone would accuse me of being racist.”
The idea that “we had to throw Chinese people under the bus or we couldn’t say anything at all” is a diversion. Lamia Imam (make assumptions about her surname at your own peril) has a few other suggestions:
Both 1 and 2 are far weaker than the approach that was taken.
#1 is easily rebutted with “so you have secret information that you’re not publishing; why exactly are we giving you special air time on The Nation, again?”.
#2 is actually racist, by focussing on Māori and Pasifika names and proposing the government do something to specifically help those groups. By implication this is saying that NZers of other ethnicities, regardless of their financial circumstances, don’t deserve help. Tariana Turia tried to get Whanau Ora restricted to Maori only; this was scotched outright by National has being racist and unacceptable. A lot of feeling of racism amongst lower-class white NZers is that they see themselves as poor and hard-done by, but see brown-skinned people getting special treatment. #2 is just more of the same of this failed approach.
They’ve already been doing 3 for years – since before the last election. Phil did number 4 already when he presented Labour’s policy on The Nation.
“#2 We are concerned about the lack of representation of Māori and Pasifika names on the list which suggests to us that any policy needs to include ways we can increase Māori and Pasifika home ownership given housing poverty among these groups are the highest in the nation. The government has continuously failed address this problem.”
That isn’t racist – it is a counter to racism.
But using surnames as a proxy is not something I’d agree with or the results give credence to.
@ adam …re “Twyford screwed the pooch”… somewhat distasteful
….and you are one who morally defends the Catholic Church?
Gawd, it’s like a Jeremy Kyle show, all this drama and squawking.
There is a SERIOUS absence of data and planning around Auckland Housing.
Very rich are the only ones to benefit, and getting richer by the day, and the damage to heart and soul of Auckland is irreversible.
Labour have made AN ATTEMPT to raise concerns about foreign ownership, and as usual, huge distraction from the right (and even some on the left joining in).
Keep it real New Zealand, it’s not a reality TV show, where commentators/journo’s are voted on or off the show by how many “likes” you get.
Agreed. It’s distressing to see some on the left being as ignorant and dismissive of Phil Twyford’s message as they are. It’s like Phil Quin and Josie Pagani have procreated little Labour critics all over the place.
It’s great to see this finally being discussed in earnest and it just goes to show that New Zealand is so, so dumb that Phil Twyford had to present it in the way he did for anyone to sit up and take notice.
The government won’t take notice; their whole economic policy depends upon Chinese capital, but nor will they wade into Twyford on this as they know the best way forward for them is to hope the conversation goes away once again. It’s not election time and to attack Labour on this will only draw more attention to the lack of data which is what Nazional is trying to hide in the first place.
Be brave, and keep it up, Phil Twyford!
I doubt Phil Twyford is the least bit concerned about the Quins and Paganis of this world. Their reputation in the Labour party and the Labour caucus would be close to 0/10.
And dropping fast!
When Lehman Bros and AIG detonated the GFC, there weren’t any subsequent calls to isolate NZ from the western banking system.
NZ fully opened itself up to foreign capital flows in the 80’s and 90’s. Successive Labour and National governments promoted freedom for international capital and hot money to move in and out of this country, stuff our exchange rate, etc. A problem which we have known about for many many years.
Is Labour seriously proposing clamp downs on international capital flows (also known as capital controls)? Personally, I don’t believe it.
If Labour wants to make Auckland housing affordable, by international standards of affordability Auckland housing has to be priced within 4 or 5 multiples of the typical Auckland income. And that’s not happening, is it.
there only one way to make housing affordable a market crash
The problem isn’t China, or Chinese people, or China’s banking system; or ( a ludicrous suggestion) that Chinese people might be looking to flee China – the problem is that buying up properties as investments which can then be rented out or sold on, is profitable.
So. Limit allowable rent (link it to GV in a way that a rent can never pay a mortgage). Remove housing supplements.
Introduce solid tenancy/ squatter rights.
Then Chinese or Kiwi or German people can be welcome to buy all the properties they want.
There is ample evidence Bill that one of the motivations is to diversify investments and to also have some money overseas. That is why there are quite a few investment properties in Auckland that are currently and seemingly permanent vacant.
See http://www.metromag.co.nz/city-life/property/running-on-empty/ for an indication of the size of the problem.
Except that they actually are part of the problem.
Too big to hail
Panicked super rich buying boltholes with private airstrips to escape if poor rise up (Yes, China will also be having issues with that as their inequality rises)
That would be mathematically impossible as eventually the mortgage will be paid and the owners will then get income for doing nothing. End result will be that the owners got a house through someone else paying for it.
There’s a problem with foreign investment. Some of that problem comes from China. It’s an important discussion to have and we need to find ways to press the government to take action.
Here’s the problem: we’re never going to, now. Because from every time we raise the issue the Nats will cry “you just hate people with the surname Lee”. And the only people to blame for that are the ones who went to the NZ Herald – a paper notorious for beating up race issues – and told them “look, our data shows foreign Chinese people are buying all the houses!!!!”
Labour was doing really good work highlighting the Auckland housing crisis, the lack of a government plan, Nick Smith’s woeful incompetence, the dangers of speculation, and now it’s trash. Because either someone really just wanted to blow the dogwhistle, or someone took a blow to the head and forgot how this issue plays out every single time it’s canvassed.
I’m sorry, micky, but the horse has bolted. Trying to salvage Labour’s credibility with long-winded explanations about how “this isn’t really about judging people based on their surnames” is a fool’s errand.
Sorry that is bullshit Stephanie. Labour needs to harden up, not apologise when the truth hurts some peoples feelings.
Better a few people get hurt feelings and we make progress on the social/economic devastation of the housing crisis. Than being all prim and proper and not being able to discuss or do anything to fix our society for all.
But it’s not “the truth”. The methodology, assumptions and conclusions have been thoroughly criticised by people far more expert than me at statistics.
Making this about “hurt feelings” is another diversion. The point is even if not a single person were harmed by this assertion, it would still be wrong for Labour to make racial assumptions about property investors for the sake of a few panic-sowing headlines.
+ 1 Agree entirely
Stephanie what Phil Twyford presented is called evidence. And here is respected statistician Rob Salmond discussing his workings to produce this evidence.
When this evidence is added to the international context and what we see on the ground then I think the evidence is compelling and we get close to “truth”, being there is significant number of foreign buyers in the Auckland property market who are contributing to the housing crisis -many of whom are from China. This is the same judgement of the “truth” that Canada, Singapore and Australia have made -all of whom have tightened rules on foreign purchasers of property in recent years.
Of course if we had a government who cared about housing affordability we would have had irrefutable data years ago as the following link makes clear. We would not have needed to use the Salmond /Twyford name based methodology. http://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/76476/david-hargreaves-says-government-has-run-out-excuses-not-collecting-detailed
Stephanie I note you only reply to your favoured theme of racism -dog whistle politics. You do not discuss posts about the housing crisis. Do you care about the housing crisis? Do you think it is important? Have you made a judgement that Phil Twyford and any who support him do not really care about housing affordability? That they are using the issue to abuse a minority group and gain from the majorities approval?
I believe most kiwis, including Phil Twyford are genuinely concerned about housing affordability and that is what motivates this debate.
Do you have a more cynical view?
Phil Twyford shouldn’t worry one little bit about the PC brigade we all know its the bloody truth bleeding over sensitive intellectuals be damned labour needs more of this ordinary people don’t give flying hoot about the PC band wagon they want a roof over there heads
Stephanie what Phil Twyford presented is called evidence.
Yes, I’ve read Rob Salmond’s posts. Did you bother to read the ones I linked to which criticised that “evidence”?
I have to ask because you apparently didn’t read the very first paragraph of my comment which you replied to, in which I did, indeed, acknowledge the housing crisis.
Stephanie maybe Labour could have waited until a better way to gather the data was found, but the Natzi’s were always going to make that difficult. I think Phil Twyford had to play the cards he was dealt with, not the cards he wished he had.
I think Phil Twyford has made a compelling case to support his call to ban foreign investment in the residential housing market and I disagree strongly that the way he has gone about it has spoilt his message.
You of course are free to disagree. We all come to democracy from different angles and we are probably the better if we respect that…..
Except that Labour weren’t just looking for a few headlines, but looking at an actual problem ie what we pay them for.
There is good reason to believe that the name data contains some valid information – however much you might prefer that it did not.
The Gnats are scum and do not give a monkey’s about racism, sexism, graft, fraud, necrophilia or nerdlingering – but you’ll buy their faux outrage.
Fine – just don’t try to sell it to us.
And countered on the same website Stephanie,
It’s not about ‘hurt feelings’ it about the possible truth. Cloud it with racism if you like, but that gives you a retarded investigative approach.
A single person? Really… the world just does not work like this, and never will. Sh*t this winds me up. Death of the left.
It’s easy for this government and it’s misguided supporters to undermine the debate. Just throw a few allegations of “racism” around, and that (National hopes) will close down the debate.
Though that didn’t stop Don Brash with his now infamous Orewa speech in January 2004.
Of course the Nats are spitting tacks on this matter. They don’t like one of their core knee-jerk strategies being hijacked by it’s opponants.
I think we can agree Steph that if there is the faintest chance in the future that something Labour does can be interpreted as dog whistling they should not do it …
oh c’mon, David Cunliffe went skiing for 3 days in NZ, whilst Key was in Hawaii for 10 days, and look at the drama then, so don’t tell Labour to keep their head down, that’s exactly what National want
There wasn’t a faint chance, micky. This *is* dogwhistling. It’s silly to pretend this backlash wasn’t a completely predictable consequence of using racial assumptions about people’s surnames to stir up xenophobic panic.
Reread what I wrote. I am not arguing that this particular instance involved only the faintest of chances that dog whistling was involved.
Then I don’t really know what the point of your comment was, micky. You’re defending this issue – in which it was 100% guaranteed Labour would be accused of racist dogwhistling – then saying dogwhistling should be avoided.
Rubbish, Stephanie. Phil Twyford might have been working hard on this issue but it’s wrong to say he was making much headway outside of Parliament.
It’s the softly, softly approach you advocate which has lead the left precisely nowhere.
The issue simply must be brought into the open, kicking and screaming if necessary.
Yeah, even at the cost of targetting some groups of NZers as collateral damage. Thanks buddy.
It’s quite clear that Twyford’s story concerned speculatory behaviour from overseas, something which you deliberately minimise in favour of the dumbed down line proffered by those not affected by the problem and those that would be affected if the problem were addressed.
As a Chinese NZer, I’d just like to say, fuck you. I’ve never minimised the negative impact of “speculative behaviour” in the NZ property market whether it is from overseas or local speculators.
There’s been a lot of throwing out the baby with the bathwater on the topic of the Twyford story. You and others have mistakenly become obsessed with the delivery, rather than the intent.
And are helping National to another term because of that mistake.
bullshit – it is the mistake of those who cannot see what a gift the gnats have been given, deliberately. If both the bathwater and the person being bathed was thrown out (and I find that analogy distasteful personally) look to Phil for the reason why, cos he did it.
What do you find distasteful? The analogy, or the expression itself? It’s an old and well used expression in English in case you didn’t know and it is perfectly descriptive of the way certain punters are crying racism while ignoring a very real problem for this country.
sorry – I have felt emotionally affected by the recent deaths of small children at the hands of their caregivers and somehow this analogy connected with that. Yes it is a well used analogy and yes you (and me as well) can use it whenever we want. Not trying to stop you.
“You and others have mistakenly become obsessed with the delivery, rather than the intent.”
I wonder why that would be? Maybe its because Labour has gone and painted a big fat target on my forehead, and the foreheads of a lot of people that I care about, due to their badly judged dog whistling “delivery.”
Cry me a river, mate.
Twyford has done a courageous thing for the benefit of all low-income and young New Zealanders but you want to make it all about you and your friends.
+100 Weepus beard
Psst: even Asian people can be “low-income and young New Zealanders”. That’s why it’s a serious problem to imply all Asian people are evil foreign property speculators, and if you think that’s not what Labour did here, I have a swamp kauri tabletop to sell you.
Way to wilfully miss the point for the 100th time, Stephanie.
Hey Weepus beard you clearly have no idea what is driving up Auckland house prices and what it will take to make houses there affordable for median workers again, but you enjoy your empty posturing and backing of dumb counter productive politics.
Stephanie what is your problem? The issue is and has been from the start with Phil and Rob’s announcement been about foreign investors making our property boom worse -not kiwis of whatever discription trying to get on with their day to day lives of -home, work, family, whatever ….
Calling a tactic of anti-Chinese racism “a courageous thing.” LOL
Sorry mate, but as vile as this tactic is, its not going to do a fucking thing to bring Auckland houses back to 3x or 4x household income.
Why the fuck not? Let us find out the facts – if we’re being driven locally by foreign speculators, whats the harm in reasonable internationally accepted restraints?
What is there to lose unless you over egged the basket? If so bl**dy tough, houses are like the stock market now a la Havard – free up that personal capital.
Nobody cried for me ’cause I bought a car with a bad gearbox.
And this is exactly how the left excludes itself from almost any sensible debate on global affairs. The moment we attempt to address any issue which involves unconstrained, unregulated global power hurting the sovereign and legitimate interests of a nation or peoples – we start throwing the ‘racist’ or ‘xenophobe’ label at each other.
And shut the debate down.
I appreciate you have, literally, some skin in this game. I get where you are coming from. But equally you have been vocal about many issues around the American empire wielding its power in ugly, stupid and damaging ways. Many, many examples from the TPPA onwards. Do you feel that all these things you have said about the USA makes you ‘xenophobic’?
Ask yourself; where does the real locus of power reside in this matter? With ordinary New Zealanders, or with a very narrow segment of already wealthy people speculating at our expense?
Spot on RL. This is class verses possibly racial discrimination.
RL the main point i am making is that Labour had a hundred ways to use this data to force a real discussion on foreign money buying Kiwi land and Labour (assuming Twyford got approval to do what he did from Andrew Little’s office) decided on the cheapest one.
MS if Labour was making a point about class versus race then Twyford would also have been pointing out many wealthy resident investors buying up portfolios of 20, 50, 100 Auckland houses. He didn’t.
edit – I’ll add that NZ Labour clearly doesn’t understand the history of race tensions around anti-Chinese sentiment around South East Asia and the Pacific. How every decade or so race riots in Fiji mean that Chinese store owners have their businesses burnt down etc.
Yup – you have said this quite a few times already, although you remain vague on suggesting any alternatives. Because I think you know that no matter how you sugar coat it; the facts remain.
But any chance on addressing the questions I did ask?
CV – Can you suggest how else the buyer info could have been used to highlight the influence of foreign money?
Because it seems to me the info is what it is, and they either had to run with it, or refuse to touch it.
you asked the following –
The things I have said point to an elite class in the USA, the 0.1% or 0.01% who are making life miserable for ordinary Americans as well. So no, I don’t think my comments are “xenophobic.” Further, this wasn’t merely Winston acting to form making these claims on TV. This was the NZ Labour Party.
The latter of course. Of which Labour decided to pick out Chinese people.
Like I said, I am waiting for Labour this week to broaden this case for stopping hot money from overseas flowing into NZ and to stop local speculators cornering housing stock and driving up prices.
It doesn’t help that Labour did not spend any time or effort in the last month leading up to Twyfords little episode on TV building up a full context for his revelations. Its political amateur hour.
ER – you build a political case over a month or two months where Twyford’s revelations fit into the picture of a problem caused by big money flowing into the Auckland property market, where both local and foreign speculators are playing a strong role to jack up prices, and what Labour’s policies around sorting this out are.
Then when Twyford announces his data it makes sense, especially when he further underlines that the problem is hot cheap money from overseas from all sources, and that there is also a problem with local speculators accessing cheap easy credit to leverage up and get in to build massive portfolios, using interest only mortgages etc.
In other words, build a full case up and contextualise it over some time.
Or, just go for the cheap easy shot and point at Chinese names on a list.
So, dogwhistle over a few months, then make the big reveal?
The things I have said point to an elite class in the USA, the 0.1% or 0.01% who are making life miserable for ordinary Americans as well.
And how does this relate to Chinese ‘hot money’?
Given that the average workers annual wage in China is about U$4700 – I’m guessing that the kind of person who can invest a million dollars in foreign real-estate is not your typical Chinese ‘mum and dad’ either.
TRP – I’m waiting this week to see if Twyford’s revelations are part of a plan by Labour to broaden the issue beyond a crisis being caused by Chinese to what the real issue is – hot foreign money flows fukcing with our economy and our property market. And of course, what Labour plans to do about it.
Or will we see that Labour has no such comprehensive plan and that pointing fingers at Chinese people (or their Chinese business agents) is as far as it goes.
We already know that Labour have a plan. It’s Labour party policy to limit offshore speculation in housing.
And that’s the issue right there – the problem is ‘hot money’ bubbling up NZ asset prices and taking over NZ land. Not ‘Chinese hot money.’
Chinese rich seek shelter from stockmarket storm
They’ve been doing that for some time now. Now they have some limited information to show that they’re correct.
But they’ve only got the information that confirms Chinese hot money. Should they continue to hide that information because you think it’s racist?
sorry mate, you’ll have to point out to me where I said that Twyford should have hidden that name information – pretty sure I have said throughout that it should have been used, just not ineptly
Also Labour should have played the game smarter and had a Chinese member of the caucus release the name info, and to help deflect claims of racism
whoops there isn’t one.
Huh? Are you saying NZ voters are racist?
CV – Seriously? You don’t think there’s not a political case now for highlighting factors inflating the housing bubble?
Isn’t the housing crisis in the news every single day in some form?
Doesn’t Twyford appear regularly in the media over this issue?
This data was always going to be shaky and prone to claims of racism, no matter how well the build up was handled (and it’s quite unrealistic to suggest Labour could manage the media coverage building up to your big reveal).
softly softly never works was Hitler and the Nazis defeated by softly softly NO! no!
+ 1 Stephanie
Phil Twyford has made a balls up of this. There were much better ways to use this information .
”There were much better ways to use this information ”
Do you mean putting it out via a third party and not being connected with it?
No, I don’t think Labour should be releasing data like this and pretending it wasn’t them that did it. That is dishonest.
I quite like this post about alternatives to the way it could have been done.
Where I would disagree is that I strongly believe that only residents of NZ should be buying residential or agricultural land, and I think Labour need to come out and say this clearly. However, they also need to say this isn’t the only, or even the major, problem making housing unaffordable in Auckland.
My concern with what Labour has done here is that ethnically Chinese people are going to become scapegoats for the fact Auckland house prices are out of control, and this will mean New Zealanders who look like they are of Chinese descent are going to be the subject of even more racism than they already have to put up with.
Short memory there Karen. Over the years the left has expressed concern about overseas speculators and non-residents buying up chunks of this country – for little to no positive benefit to the nation as a whole.
It has surfaced at various points when the purchase of large pieces of farmland, high-country stations, businesses and real-estate has become public. From all sorts of countries.
For a very recent example – Bill English’s proposed sale of State housing to an Australian charity provider provoked considerable response from the left.
And on each occasion we predictably see unthinking labels of racist or xenophobe thrown at us in order to shut the debate down. (Although I admit they struggled when it came to Australia.)
Well, I am guessing that Twyford was allowed to go on to TV and state the case in the way he did because Labour’s internal polling said that it would be a popular sentiment to use.
Do you actually think that Labour has enhanced the debate around hot foreign money buying up NZ land and what to do about it, using this approach? It has made a media splash yes – but has joe public’s understanding of the issue and what Labour is going to do about it been enhanced?
Joe Public also has no time for egg-headed leftie intellectuals who refuse to stand up for his/her interests because it might be seen a ‘xenophobic’.
RL – let’s see if Labour’s red meat appeal to Waitakere Man and Woman helps it over the next few polls. Because that is what this is. From your comment you reckon it will? I am much less certain.
RL – Labour have not come out as strongly as I would like about agricultural land; they have indicated it shouldn’t be sold to an overseas buyer unless it is to the benefit of NZ. I don’t believe selling agricultural (or any other land) to overseas interests is ever in NZ’s interest.
There is also a problem with Labour’s policy of allowing overseas purchase of new builds as there is no incentive to actually rent the property out. I’d like to see a tax on anybody who leaves a property empty.
I am not worried about the cries of Xenophobia when ALL overseas purchases are included. My problem is with the idea that if you have a Chinese name you probably live overseas, and the implication that Chinese people are making housing unaffordable in NZ. Very hard to defend that as anything other than racist IMO, and I have yet to read any credible defence of this charge.
Simple to defend.
Facts are not racist.
1. Twyford’s survey while not academically robust, is strongly suggestive and should at the very least provoke the govt into releasing some proper data. It is also consistent with the experience of many Aucklanders.
2. It is also consistent with experience in Canada, Australia, the UK and other nations.
3. Due to the sheer scale of China (the top 1% of China’s population exceeds the entire population of NZ by a factor of about 3) what up until recently was a concern, is now escalated into a major issue.
4. If the issue had been dealt with years ago and the door closed on this kind of speculation – we would not be talking about it. But door remains wide open and it is impossible to talk about the issue without acknowledging that it is Chinese wealth walking through it.
5. And with this wealth comes power. And this power is being wielded to the considerable detriment of ordinary kiwis. The other name for this is economic colonisation, and in that analysis the onus always lies with the more powerful party to be responsible for and accountable for how they use that power.
Yes the ACT Party realises this power.
RL – I agree with your points 2, 3, and 4.
I have an issue with 1 because when you are dealing with an issue like this you do need your figures to be irrefutable. This research is somewhat better than it appeared to be in the Herald, but most people will not read Salmond’s justification for the figures he used.
The message out there is that Labour think if you have a Chinese name you are probably an overseas buyer and are the reason that New Zealanders can’t buy a house. As a result, it becomes very easy for the Nacts to divert the argument.
Blacks score lower than Whites in intelligence tests.
That’s a fact. It’s also easily racist when used carelessly in many different contexts.
RL, I think that local impacts from the rise of China (and the relative decline of the USA) needs to be carefully, thoughtfully and actively managed by NZ. And some decisive actions need to be taken re: how the NZ economy relates to the rest of the world.
If this weekend demonstrates the best that Labour can do to advance that discussion, I am less than optimistic.
Well if you want to use that fact to figure out why Blacks score lower, or what might be done to close the gap with Whites … then what possible objection can there be to the fact of the scores being different?
Or would you make more progress by pretending that the difference in scores did not exist and should not be talked about?
In this case Labour is looking to stand up for the interests of ordinary New Zealanders here … so exactly what objection do you have?
But otherwise I am more optmistic that the conversation is converging on some common understanding
And this is really the best approach that they could have come up with? I mean in terms of execution, do Twyford and Little really receive a pass mark on this? And how “ordinary” are these Auckland first home seeking New Zealanders that Labour is standing up for, anyway?
Seems to me that Labour is standing up for the professional kids of the comfortable middle class frustrated at being outbid by the Chinese on $600K to $900K Auckland homes.
A two worker household on $35K each is not going to be able to afford anything like that. Maybe if they were both on $70K they might.
1, It *is* academically robust and declared – be careful not to fall into the divine creator bullshit.
Twyford either had to run with the buyers’ info and what he thinks it shows, or not go near it.
By choosing to highlight the existence of this buyers’ list, he had to be upfront about why it’s relevant to the housing crisis.
That’s not just because of how the media works – needing a clear angle – but more importantly for ethical reasons.
Just saying ‘we have a list of buyers’ names which highlights issues in the Auckland housing crisis’ without being upfront would actually be a dog-whistle.
Be vague and you end up in a passive aggressive half-house, like this, from the blog you linked:
”We have been given a list of Auckland home buyers from a specific realtor and we are deeply concerned at the suggestion that somehow Chinese people are to blame for the current housing crisis.”
”We have been given a list of Auckland home buyers from a specific realtor and we are deeply concerned at the suggestion that somehow Chinese people are to blame for the current housing crisis.”
I agree this suggestion wasn’t the best. However, I’d rather Twyford just kept on pointing out that there is nothing stopping non-residents buying properties and that unless the government began a foreign ownership register the actual figure were unknown.
I’d then like him to say that there was a widespread feeling in Auckland that investors from China were responsible for a lot of the housing purchases, and if the government did not show evidence that this is untrue then there was likely to be as increase in racism against anyone of Asian descent.
For the record, I don’t think Phil Twyford is racist, but I am hugely disappointed that he used this ‘research’ in this way.
And considering how big this media reveal was, I presume that Andrew Little’s office OK’d the line he used.
Karen, lowest common denominator gets into the media, otherwise it is just people blowing the froth of their coffees in angry debates.
But it is the major reason Karen. Should we just just dumbarse this down to keep everyone unoffended?
Fodder for the right – for one, my hearts bled out.
I think this article with the international evidence and Labour’s evidence that there are more people with chinese names buying property than their resident population warrants even in comparison to similar young immigrant communities -such as the Indian community is proof that a flood of money is hitting an unprotected Auckland.
The question is not whether the person who points this out is a racist or not. He is the person pointing out what we all know is true but are haven’t been able to say -“The Emperor has no clothes”.
The question is what is the Natz government going to do about it?
Continue their Emperor in denial policy of doing too little too late. There are many contributors to the housing crisis and foreign buying is one important factor. All the Natz’s are planning to do is wait for October to collect foreign property purchase data that can easily be circumvented. Meanwhile they are saying ‘crisis what crisis -aren’t my clothes lovely’.
Or do something that will actually work -like outlawing foreign purchasers of property like Canada did and Phil Twyford is calling for, or a hefty stamp duty for foreign buyers -20% like Singapore does.
like MANY countries do. I posted about this and an analysis of our fellow Western nation as foreign ownership practices/taxes.
Nothing even if they pass legislation that apparently addresses it it will be legislation that actually doesn’t.
” if the Government was measuring important data such as non residential purchases of houses and inflow of capital and what it is being used for…”
Nick says the information he sees indicates that foreign investment is not a “major factor” in Auckland’s Housing problems.. that suggests they must be measuring something? Or is he lying?
I have it on very good authority – from someone who knows and was an MP for a number of years – that the person to whom you refer is an even worse teller of the truth than some other very senior politician whose name rhymes with donkey.
All I know is that where I work in Auckland if people with those sort of names were not doing small scale subdivisions and/or building enormous houses, I – and a whole bunch of my fellow workers would not have a job.
Jobs are a poor excuse for selling out the country. We’d be better off paying you minimum wage to do nothing.
I work in construction, and I couldn’t give a fuck about a name. This is about being pushed to the lowest common denominator, plenty of people willing to do the work in a reasonable local fee structure – unless undercut. Watch out or we’ll have what’s happening in Papua New Guinea, whole foreign prison labour gangs being brought over. And don’t think we’re so 1st world – this is the slippery slope. They were keen for it in Christchurch – pushing for the Irish, remember?
The data argument is a sidetrack really.
It is perfectly proper to regulate speculative inflow whether it is occurring at problematic levels or not – to prevent it causing problems.
For my part I want to see foreign speculation prevented, and domestic speculation constrained to a small handful of properties. House + batch + 1 seems generous to me, people owning more are clearly volunteering to contribute a great deal more to Les Brown’s transport plans.
+100 Stuart Munroe
Where there is HEAT – there often is LIGHT?
If this debate results in more accurate data being compiled on this Auckland ‘housing crisis’ – particularly the extent to which it is being used for speculative capital gain and money-laundering by foreign investors, then, in my view, that will have been a good thing – not a bad thing.
How can you have genuine transparency and accountability – without proper written records?
In my view – that’s the issue.
Isn’t it now more politically ‘common sense’ to FOCUS on this – rather than on who and how this issue has been raised and ‘headlined’?
At least Phil Twyford grasped the nettle of foreign ownership of land.
National deny there is a problem and will not collect data, knowing it will prove them wrong. Of course, National is lining up our state houses (and land) for Australians.
…who will on- sell them for a huge profit to more overseas speculators….
Why is this racist? It was an attempt to gauge the level of potential foreign national ownership on limited information available. You only have to go to auctions to get a feel, but we’re being put in an ’emperors clothes’ situation for fear of upsetting people. However, his seems not to apply when we generalise about, for example, Maori and Pasifika people over smoking, gambling, etc. and the potential burden to the state.
It’s not wrong to say certain rights in the land belong to Citizens – in fact land ownership is stated in the preamble when immigrants take the oath.
We will slowly lose our independence in this current global free-for-all. It’s time to be pragmatic about our future.
+100 Thom Pietersen….and I know New Zealanders with Asian ancestry (including Chinese, whose families have been here for many generations ) who would agree with you!
….they also want New Zealand for New Zealanders and their New Zealand children
…and a Labour Party for New Zealanders
…and a New Zealand Government for New Zealanders
To be fair to Phil Twyford – here’s what he said in the Metro ‘Running on Empty’ article, 16 April 2015:
“…Labour’s housing spokesman, Phil Twyford, describes Auckland’s real estate market as “speculation on steroids” and says the number of unoccupied houses is part of the rot.
“Take out the holiday homes and my suspicion is that a very significant proportion of those 22,000 empty houses are owned by speculators farming capital gains who are going to sell and make a killing down the track. They’re not interested in rental income or mucking around with being a landlord and all that entails,” he says.
“What’s frustrating is that the government refuses to even collect the data on this. Particularly in Auckland, people resent being told they’re racist and xenophobic, because they know from their own experience and their family’s and their neighbours’ experience what’s going on. And it makes them wild to see their kids really struggling to get a first home because a speculator is bidding up the prices.”
Keith Rankin agrees we need more than anecdotes to find out the real story behind Auckland’s empty houses and who owns them. “To a large extent we’re in an information vacuum,” he says. “The answers may be quite complex. But not enough people are asking the right questions.”
How about we now put our minds to the information that we need to gather, in order to get the required FACTS on the extent to which the Auckland ‘housing crisis’ is being used for speculative capital gain, and money-laundering?
Including to what extent are the 22,000 EMPTY private sector houses (2013 Census) a result of speculative capital gain, and the Auckland real estate market being used for money-laundering?
While families are crammed in caravans and garages, and the homeless are living in cars, or sleeping on cardboard in Queen Street, in this freezing winter?
Thanks Penny for getting us back to reality.
It is a about
“While families are crammed in caravans and garages, and the homeless are living in cars, or sleeping on cardboard in Queen Street, in this freezing winter?”
Very well said Penny Bright.
With any luck those who feel stung by accusations of dog whistle politics will gain the empathy to show more circumspection when it comes to accusing their opponents of the same thing.
What kind of a govt sells out its own people? It’s totally traitourous of National, and they don’t seem to care one bit. Didn’t this mess all start with Labour’s FTA agreement with China though? Before that, house prices were reasonable and Chinese did not spec buy our housing stock. Seems to me this was the catalyst moment, but National have allowed it to grow into a huge problem, and one they don’t even acknowledge.
Tenants in our own land? Yep, for our kids especially!
One other point which makes me laugh – for the average Auckland family an “affordable” house would be one which is certainly less than $500K. And probably less than $400K.
Getting rid of overseas buyers may slow down the rate of house price increases, but it will do precisely zero to make Auckland houses affordable.
‘Getting rid of overseas buyers may slow down the rate of house price increases, but it will do precisely zero to make Auckland houses affordable.’…b/s …where is your crystal ball from…China I guess..from the $2 shop.
right, a smart arse eh. Whats your definition of an “affordable” house? then explain how you see house prices in AKL dropping to affordable levels simply by stopping foreign investors
well Auck house prices used to be 3x ave wages and are now 9x.Seeing as foreign investors account for over 50% of buyers in the Auck mkt,preventing them from buyinbg existing housing stock would quite clearly impact on affordability.
3x, even 4x median household income would be considered “affordable” housing I agree.
But stopping foreign buyers – which needs to be done – is not going to cut Auckland house prices back from 9x to 3x or 4x. That’s what I meant.
Agreed Colonial V Labour needs a whole package of reforms to go with banning foreign buyers from the residential property market.
Tax reform -LVT or CGT, Kiwibuild, local government/planning, infrastructure provision reform -particulary regarding public transport for high population growth areas, reforms to improve competition and productivity in the construction/materials industry…… A whole package of demand and supply reforms -not just focusing on one measure -foreign buyers.
Labour cannot repeat National’s cynical approach to the housing crisis of being dragged kicking and screaming to implement small ineffective incremental change that is always ‘too little too late’.
An ‘affordable house’ in NZ is between $120k and $160k.
Actually, it’s entirely possible that it will crash the market and all those people who believed that they were getting rich buying houses will suddenly find themselves completely, totally and utterly broke. That’s what happens when demand drops by several thousand millionaires.
And don’t feel sorry for people – they are playing the market. Probably have to bail them out with my savings I’ve put aside while renting. Yah!
We should never bail people out – tough – that is why we need to maintain a social security net as a fair society.
we need a crash (reset) whole lot to blow up
Could those criticising the key message in Twyford’s analysis explain why New Zealand is unlike the other countries reported in the following article….
Of course we know our Australian cousins are racist?… well… OK, they are, but it doesn’t seem to halt the flow of cash from those wanting to escape (avoid/evade) a totalitarian regime, stock market instability, and maximum 70 year lease on land.
What is wrong with playing hardball to defend our patch? We should welcome those who want to invest in our business, but not our land. Or are we that sh*t/dumb.
“The Australian government has moved to look tough on the issue, introducing new fees and jail terms for those found flouting foreign investment rules. The Chinese owner of a A$39m Sydney mansion was forced to sell up earlier this year after it was revealed the property had been bought illegally through a string of shell companies.”
Why wouldn’t Mr Twyford and Mr Little disclose the source of the information, the name of the real estate company? The stakes are high for both.
Because they’re not as naive as you appear to be?
“Why wouldn’t Mr Twyford and Mr Little disclose the source of the information, the name of the real estate company? The stakes are high for both.”
Because they dont have to if they choose not to. It makes proving whether Twyfords claims are actually true impossible, but also disproving it equally difficult. Also because it was stolen private data including peoples names, and one assumes addresses, it opens up another can of worms. I’m pretty sure the clients dont want their details in the hands of a political party, regardless of their political persuasion.
Boring counter argument Realblue – fling in legality, prove it, political interests etc. It will work for a while longer – until the sheep realise. Racism, rabble, racism, rabble, theft, rabble… Truth? No – you’re to stupid to understand Mum and Dad Kiwi. Don’t get in the way of my easy money.
Even the Herald this morning is backing up Phil Twyford and Labour ….. maybe it, too, being an Auckland-based paper – is getting a bit fed-up with the rampant Auckland housing market !
See today’s Herald editorial.
Why are some of the chinese community so up in arms about labour wanting to stop foreign offshore investors speculating in Auckland housing market. If they are truly genuine NZ citizens/residents then wouldn’t they be concerned about the rising prices too. That chinese guy on the tv tonight saying we should be happy the prices are so high. Yeah right. The rates have gone up sky high by the inflated prices and many kiwis are exposed to negative equity in their homes if the prices fall and the banks recall the loans. This would put us in the position of what happened in the US.