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Labouring it.

Written By: - Date published: 6:13 pm, July 19th, 2015 - 179 comments
Categories: labour, racism, Social issues - Tags: , ,

A week after deciding to fuck a hornets nest by sallying forth with a xenophobic dog-whistle over  NZ’s housing market problems, how’s it going for Labour? Some within the party had expected a bounce in the polls and, well…the Colmar Brunton poll out today has Labour up 1%. So the bump hasn’t happened. Labour are flat.

But wait,  it gets better.

The amount of political capital burned by Labour on their ‘Chinese money’ nonsense, might well be showing up in people giving Andrew Little absolutely zero benefit of the doubt when he made statements around the ‘Fire at Will’ legislation that could uncharitably  have been interpreted as back peddling.

Them’s the breaks – thoroughly deserved.

Now, I guess Labour could double down on their ignorance and arrogance and decide they just haven’t been base enough in trying to ‘sell their message’. Or they could cut the crap and get back to being a solid and conscientious social democratic party of the left. That means they’d have to work, and work hard, to regain the trust of a substantial proportion of their base that is, quite frankly, sick and disgusted.

Which way will they go?

We’ll see.

179 comments on “Labouring it. ”

  1. Anne 1

    How about you take 10 minutes to read this Bill:


    Just replace Vancouver with Auckland and you’ve pretty much got the picture.

    • Bill 1.1

      I’m utterly bemused by this nonsense being peddled by more then a few who deny that Labour were dog-whistling.

      No-one has claimed that a problem doesn’t exist. No-one has being saying that off-shore money being invested isn’t a part of the problem.

      In fact, quite a few people who have decried Labour for their xenophobic framing have gone to pains to point out that affordability is not just an Auckland issue.

      Meanwhile, quite a few who have taken the innocent ‘What racism?’ line and who have gone so far as to accuse those pointing to the specificity of the xenophobia* as being themselves somehow xenophobic or racist, have been content to essentially focus on the potential vote winning consequence of Labour’s ill-considered and inflammatory line.

      I’m actually heartened by the flat-lining as it just might indicate that NZ isn’t as racist or xenophobic as Labour seemed to assume…or as xenophobic or racist as commenters on ‘ts’ given the number of dodgy or thoughtless comments submitted by self identifying leftists here.

      *Chinese money in Auckland = bad. But US, German, UK etc offshore money pumping house prices all over NZ for some time now = apparent deafening silence.

      • Lanthanide 1.1.1

        I was disappointed with Phil’s framing of it, on The Nation. I think he went out of his way to play up the Chinese angle of it, when he could have taken the opportunity to expand on it being ‘foreigners’ in general (while still explicitly acknowledging the Chinese).

        So I do think Labour were deliberately dog-whistling in their initial raising of it. The followup from Phil and others I thought was better, but still a little dog-whistly.

        However, what they said resonated with the public and presented data on an issue that National have simply been lying about, and everyone knew it.

        So while I find their specific tactics distasteful, I think the strategy was a good one, and will do more good than harm in the medium to long term.

      • Anne 1.1.2

        *Chinese money in Auckland = bad. But US, German, UK etc offshore money pumping house prices all over NZ for some time now = apparent deafening silence.

        That’s not a good comparison imo Bill. It doesn’t matter a hoot who the primary protagonists are… whether they are British, German, Italian or Americans the anger here in the north would be just as palpable. Would that be perceived as racism? No. It’s just because they happen to be Chinese…

        And there hasn’t been a deafening silence about foreign investment in other parts of NZ. This government have encouraged it, and the media meekly follow by playing down the problem.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          And there hasn’t been a deafening silence about foreign investment in other parts of NZ. This government have encouraged it, and the media meekly follow by playing down the problem.

          Who signed the FTA with China and said that it was a great thing for the future of NZ/China economic relations? Like the Auckland property bubble, the roots of this problem go back many many years, far before John Key.

          • leftie

            @Colonial Rawshark

            Really surprised at your comment, would have thought you knew better.

            FTA with China was signed in 2008 after Labour took it to parliament and put it to a vote.

            It is the key National government who have abused it.

            • Colonial Rawshark

              So why does Labour keep putting through stuff which is so easy for National to abuse, especially when Labour knows that at some stage, power must change hands to National – that is not a surprise.

              Further Labour believes in free trade and free investment flows with China. That’s why they crafted and signed the deal.

              • leftie


                Labour got the support of parliament before they signed the FTA which was to create a trade surplus, which it did. Who would know that John key would abuse it like he has done?
                Nothing is watertight. Look how the Key National government has found loopholes to get around our laws, and if they can’t then the Nats change our laws to suit.

        • BM

          Foreign investment has been encouraged for the last 30 years.

          Clark really got the ball moving and when she dropped it Key picked it up and kept running with it.

          Is NZ better off with foreign investment, yes
          Should there be a bit more control, yes I think there should, especially when it comes to residential property.

          • Michael

            Well said. The problem is non-resident ownership of residential property in our big city; by framing it as one of “yellow peril”, Labour blew the racist dog-whistle loud and clear. The problem is exploitation of vulnerable workers, to whom the 90-day fire-at-will law denies access to justice. By framing it as retaining that law, but somehow making it “fairer”, Labour announced its willingness to dance to capital’s tune and ignore the plight of the people it was formed to represent. Way to go.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Is NZ better off with foreign investment, yes

            Nope. All countries are worse off with foreign ownership.

            Really, we have absolutely no need for foreign investment. None at all, we get nothing from it but we do end up paying rich foreigners lots of money from our work. We spend lots of effort propping up the true bludgers.

            • Stuart Munro

              Foreign investment can be quite helpful in the hands of skilful governments. Like any other phenomenon, it is comprised of beneficial and detrimental possibilities. Good governments secure the benefits and minimise the costs – gibbering troupes of hebephrenic buffoons like the current government secure the costs without deriving any benefits for NZ.

              A skilful government would prioritise investments that bring skill or capacity to NZ, rather than volatile capital, the economic equivalent of white sugar. But our current government are too stupid to live, and frankly too stupid to leave in power.

              You might compare it to a car – a very useful thing used in moderation and with care, a danger to everyone including the driver in the hands of drivers lacking maturity and skill like the $101 billion losers Bill & John.

              • Draco T Bastard

                A skilful government would prioritise investments that bring skill or capacity to NZ, rather than volatile capital, the economic equivalent of white sugar.

                Think about what you’re saying there and then consider what investment is and does. Once you do that then it becomes obvious that we don’t need foreign investment and get nothing from it.

                If we need skills then we can either:

                1. Develop it ourselves using R&D
                2. Hire people with the necessary skills from offshore for a time to train people here
                3. Persuade some people with the necessary skills to immigrate here

                On the point of capital what we’re actually talking about is infrastructure and we can, and will, build that ourselves from our own resources anyway. We may need some information first but we can either buy that information or do the necessary R&D so that we can develop that information ourselves.

                The main reason why most of the foreign ‘investment’ in NZ is just buying up NZ firms seems to be because the new foreign owners want the IP that the business owns. NZ, and the business, would have been better off leasing the IP to the foreign company.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  China used joint ventures to acquire foreign technologies and knowledge. That’s what their dairy factories here in NZ are about.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    And also why they’re allowing Fonterra to create dairy farms in China. All the knowledge in them will be duplicated ASAP and I doubt that Fonterra will get to keep them.

            • Chooky

              +100 DTB…Tibet an extreme case in point as regards the Chinese ‘investment’

              ….ooops… invasion and takeover … ransacking the environment, swamping the Tibetans with Han Chinese population, torture, genocide ….and destruction of Tibetan religion and spirituality in the cause of materialism for China


        • maui

          +1 Anne, it doesn’t matter who it is. It could be Australians, and Labour would have every right to do the same thing, to say that it’s Aussies that are making up 40% of buyers in Auckland. Do you think the public would take that lying down, I don’t think so.

          The fact that NZ citizens are completely priced out of the market in NZ’s biggest population area is the issue. I gather most kiwis don’t like foreign ownership, but they can put up with foreign owners buying up land in isolated locations around the country. When you have foreign buyers in a concentrated area and average properties costing $1 million people are going to get upset.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            what are you talking about; ordinary Kiwi workers were priced out of the Auckland market by 2005/2006. The comfortable professional middle class are the ones being priced out of the Auckland market now.

            • maui

              Well 10 years on obviously more people are implicated in this, if the median price has gone up by more than 200,000+ dollars since.

              There has to be a critical mass where enough people start wanting/voting for housing affordability and maybe that’s going to happen soon. Alternatively everyone just gives up and expects to be renters for the rest of their life.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Except Labour is not proposing to do anything to make Auckland houses “affordable” (house prices at 3x income).

                Perhaps affordable for those on $150K p.a…

        • Bill

          Real estate agents in Australia, Britain and Canada are bracing for a surge of new interest in their already hot property markets, with early signs that wealthy Chinese investors are seeking a safe haven from the turmoil in Shanghai’s stock markets.

          So, some people are quite reasonably predicting a future event to impact on an already fucked situation in reaction to something that’s only unfolding now.

          Around 91,000 wealthy Chinese sought second citizenship between 2000 and 2014, according to a report by residence investment broker Lion Global, a factor that is fuelling demand to buy foreign property.

          Most of these individuals, defined as those with net assets of US$1m or more excluding their primary residences, are moving to the US, Hong Kong, Singapore and Britain.

          That reporting aside, and it’s been acknowledged that foreign money is a part of the problem, the current issue for NZ politics: for the Labour Party in particular, is that xenophobic dog-whistling has no justifiable fucking place in party politics.

          (You were able to note there was no dog-whistle in the Guardian piece, yes?)

    • leftie 1.2



    • Brendon Harre 1.3

      Thanks Anne. I put your link up on Bernard Hickey’s reasonable article on foreign investment into the Auckland housing market. I also did some analysis comparing Singapore’s stamp duty versus Australia’s non-residents cannot buy existing housing policy. Here is the link.


    • Chooky 1.4

      +100 Anne…and I know you to be a true New Zealand moderate but committed Labour supporter of long standing….many long standing New Zealand Labour supporters think as you do…

      • Anne 1.4.1

        Thanks Chooky. I have only just picked up on this comment. I certainly see myself that way. If my local Labour colleagues are anything to go by, they also see it the same way because they have also had negative experiences of the Auckland scene.

    • D'Esterre 1.5

      Thanks, Anne. Another piece here on the same subject:


      The comments are interesting as well. Has the comment thread on the Auckland situation reached this stage yet?

    • D'Esterre 1.6

      Thanks, Anne. Here’s another piece on the same theme:


      Have a look at the comment thread. Would comments about the Auckland situation have reached this level of anger?

      • Anne 1.6.1

        Wow… that is exactly what is happening in Auckland and yes, they are right. It is fueling anti-Chinese sentiment and that is very worrying. The problem seems to be though that some of the wrong people are currently being targeted with the tag of being racist.

        Quote from your link:

        That anger has contributed to a simmering xenophobia in Vancouver, a multicultural coastal city long known for its inclusiveness. With virtually no official data on foreign buyers available, many of those squeezed out of the market are left to believe the worst. That has residents like Xia pressing the government to track international buyers, scrutinize the source of their funds and tax property speculation, before the anti-Chinese sentiment gets out of hand.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    Or, we could just wait until the next lot of polls come out, and we can properly gauge reaction to the stories of the last week.

    Since the Colmar Brunton survey began on the same day the announcement was made, there’s a good chance that people sampled on that Saturday and Sunday, and even Monday, simply hadn’t heard the story yet.

    Since the majority of poll respondents are collected in the first few days of the poll, it’s hard to really say how much this poll reflects the issue Labour raised.

    • Sacha 2.1

      Totally, Wish media would lay off over-interpreting a single poll. Andrea Vance did that with the Roy Morgan one.

      Trendlines count. Dots don’t.

      • Colonial Rawshark 2.1.1

        I do agree with both your comments – I think the late Jul/August polls will be telling. Nevertheless Bill has made his point – Labour has fucked up and burnt off a lot of its left wing ‘broad church’ credibility, and unnecessarily.

        • leftie

          Disagree with you CV.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            Well, I believe land purchases by non NZ citizens/PRs need to be banned – I trust on that we have common cause.

            • leftie

              Yes CR, but on everything else you are just raving.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                I feel strongly about a position Labour has taken, and I will let them know about it.

                • leftie


                  What’s new? it is the usual LP hatefest.

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    This week, they deserved it. And if they deserve it next week, so they shall reap.

                    • leftie


                      No, Labour don’t deserve it, but National sure do. Get off your soap box.

                    • Bill

                      So ‘leftie’, you condone political parties issuing xenophobic dog-whistles? Maybe you reckon the ends justify the means and all that? pfft

    • Bill 2.2

      Just a thought, but if you’re right in suggesting that a fair few of those polled wouldn’t have heard the housing dog-whistle, and if I’m right on my reasoning behind the general negative reaction to the Fire at Will comments, then that in tandem could suggest that Labour support is actually dropping.

      Hmm. As you say, wait until the next set of polls….

      • Lanthanide 2.2.1

        Except the fire at will thing is not going to be reported on Monday night news. I doubt it was reported tonight, or yesterday, for that matter. The Auckland housing comments were reported for several days and garnered significant column inches from all sorts of different media outlets.

        Little’s comments might possibly have brassed off some Labour members – but what are they going to do, vote for National? No, they’d go to the Greens, if they go anywhere at all. On the other hand, Labour’s highlighting of the foreign investment going on in Auckland, *after* National have refused to do anything and people can see it for their own eyes, can only win votes off National (and maybe NZFirst).

        • Bill

          The 90 Day Bill might not be reported, but it will seep through by and by. My only point on that was that those who have responded have been negative in their response. If that’s due to the dog-whistle, then Labour might be finding a drop in support medium and long term…on top of no short term bump.

      • leftie 2.2.2

        Hello Bill,
        You have replied to a comment I made, but unfortunately there was no reply function available for me to respond.

        What xenophobic dog-whistles? To repeat the sentiment of a comment made yesterday. What I see here is the usual Labour beat up. Labour is damned if they do, and damned it they don’t. If anything, your anger is misplaced, it should be directed at the National government.

        [lprent: The Reply button cuts out when the level of indented replies hits 10. Otherwise the comments could reply down to single characters. This is a limit set somewhere inside wordpress. ]

  3. Craig H 3


    Dr Smith has not much to say other than wait and see.

    Meanwhile, the comments are vociferously anti-National and pro-Labour on this particular topic, so it’s getting some traction, regardless of its poll results at this stage.

    If nothing else, regardless of the nationality of investors, there’s a real narrative building behind this, and the effects could be felt for months or years to come.

    • Clemgeopin 3.1

      Thanks for that link, Craig H.

      352 reader comments! I only read a few. Here are four comments, all from the first page, which got quite a few up votes:

      [1]This is utter garbage. The rest of the world is wise to the fact that millions of Chinese are desperately trying to get offshore investments for fear of internal restrictions of their money and we have a meaningless sideshow on surnames because we have no reliable data. Politicians should grow up and deal with an increasingly serious issue
      Reply +26

      [2] National’s inaction is costing this country its home ownership possibility, for many it is now just a dream. A few years of what is happening now and it will be just a dream for a whole generation. This is not a racist issue, i tis a fact that predominantly asian investors are speculating big time in the wide open unregulated NZ property market both residential and commercial. Time for National to go this time around, they are spectacularly failed free marketeers and allow the likes of China to call the tune. Problem is two more years is a very very long time in the current property market. What is happening now is a disaster.
      Reply 4 replies +31

      [3] Smith has been checking with his boss and JK is personally very quiet on this – wonder why? Probably worried about the drop in support. Mr Smith, just introduce a foreign register and disprove Labour’s suggestions. We have had the typical Nat distraction line, in this case ‘racism,’ but it’s not flying with most Kiwis. Labour have opened debate on foreign ownership and the Nat response is to shut it down, they have no comment on the level of offshore ownership, because they don’t really care. That must be it, because as good Kiwis, concerned about their fellow New Zealanders, they would have done something about it – wouldn’t they?
      Reply +28

      [4] National have their collective heads stuck in the sand. That a large amount of Chinese capital is being freed up for investing offshore is acknowledged in China as well as internationally. This capital flowing into speculative purchases of residential property is a phenomenon seen across the world – in Canada, Hong Kong and other countries. Is it racist for China to point out these facts? For Canada and Hong Kong; or just when the labour party points them out? The only gutter politics here is spinning this as racist.
      Reply 3 replies+41

      • Marvellous Bearded Git 3.1.1


        Brilliant Clem. These comments show how the issue is playing amongst the NZ public. Labour are on the right side of this argument.

        • Clemgeopin

          Thanks. I think MOST people who are honest will know the truth about the foreign capital predominantly from China pouring into Auckland pushing the house prices to sky rocket and making it well nigh impossible for ordinary resident Aucklanders, including MOST resident Chinese to buy houses. Everybody can see that…except the fools that have dishonestly turned it into a race issue. It is nothing to with that. It has everything to do with non resident overseas Chinese trying to get their money out of China for whatever reason, causing us the locals a massive problem and a huge disadvantage.

          The right wing hypocrites and other nuts denying this huge elephant in the room by framing the serious issue as a racist issue are either fools or liars in my opinion.

          • Colonial Viper

            I think MOST people who are honest will know the truth about the foreign capital predominantly from China pouring into Auckland pushing the house prices to sky rocket and making it well nigh impossible for ordinary resident Aucklanders

            This is utter bullshit; Auckland house prices were deemed “seriously unaffordable” back in 2006 at 6.6x the median household income. “Ordinary resident Aucklanders were pushed out then” – now it is the (formerly) comfortable middle classes – who all gained handsomely through that previous period – being pushed out.

          • leftie


            +100 Well said.

      • Chooky 3.1.2

        +100 Clem

      • leftie 3.1.3



  4. “The amount of political capital burned by Labour on their ‘Chinese money’ nonsense, might well be showing up in people giving Andrew Little absolutely zero benefit of the doubt when he made statements around the ‘Fire at Will’ legislation that could uncharitably have been interpreted as back peddling.”

    The polling was prior to Little’s throwaway line about changing the 90 day law.

    • Bill 4.1

      The polling was prior to Little’s throwaway line about changing the 90 day law.

      Well yes, but that’s the point.

      The reaction to Andrew Little’s line on the 90 Day Bill drew a hell of a lot of negative comments here and on facebook. I’m suggesting that may be due to political capital having been burned.

      If he’d made the comment before the housing comments, would people have been so unforgiving or vociferous in their condemnation?

      We can’t know. But I suspect not.

      edited to correct “that’s beside the point” to “that’s the point” in the first line.

      • I disagree, Bill. The reaction was because some people will seize on any opportunity to bash Labour and some other people couldn’t see that it was a beat up. No actual harm done.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Previous Labour language on the right to fire was to “scrap” or “abolish” National’s legislation. Little moved to far softer language and it is no surprise people noticed.

        • Kinda resenting the implication that anyone who criticises Labour is either (a) just a hater or (b) stupid.

          • te reo putake

            Well, don’t imply that! I didn’t.

            • Stephanie Rodgers

              Your entire second and third sentences imply nothing but that, actually.

              • Nope. Sorry, but you’re wrongitty wrong wrong wrong. I implied nothing, my words mean exactly what they say.

                • Bill

                  Two statements made in that comment.

                  1. Some people just ‘Labour bash’ whenever the opportunity arises.
                  2. Some people were just too thick to realise the reporting around the 90 Day Bill statement was a beat-up.

                  If there’s a third category, you want to say?

                  Otherwise…leave out with the tedious ping pong match, aye?


                  • I never said the latter thing. You’re making it up, Bill. I assume you’re upset you got the 90 day reference wrong in the post.

                    • Bill

                      The beat-up reference wasn’t in relation to the 90 Day Bill? Okay. My bad. What’s it referring to then?

                      And if you could point me to where I got any reference to the 90 Day Bill wrong in the post, it’d be much appreciated.

                    • I reckon you’re doing it tough tonight, Bill, and there’s no point my making it worse, so I’m gonna exit this discussion before things get really shitty. Ciao.

                    • Lanthanide

                      TRP trying to get the last word in an argument yet again, without actually addressing the question asked.

                    • Honestly, I’d like an answer too. Your comment is pretty straightforward: “The reaction” to the 90-day issue was “because” “some people” just want to bash Labour and “some other people” “couldn’t see it was a beat up”.

                      Maybe there’s a planet on which this doesn’t mean “the people who reacted negatively to the 90-day issue are either haters or stupid” but it’s not in this solar system.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Not being able to see something doesn’t indicate anything other than bias – and we all have one of those. If you want to say the reason for that bias is stupidity, then we’re all stupid.

                      I agree.

        • leftie

          @Te reo putake

          That is exactly what it looks like, the usual Labour beat up. For some, Labour is damned it they do, and damned it they don’t. Don’t understand why their anger is not more directed at the National government.

      • Karen 4.1.2

        I agree with you, Bill.

        I was already feeling very disillusioned with Labour and Little over the Chinese name story, so the apparent back down on repealing the 90 Day law has just added to this.

        If they don’t start acknowledging that focussing on Chinese names in the way they did has made Chinese New Zealanders feel more vulnerable in the next few days , and Little doesn’t make it absolutely clear that the 90 Day Trial law is to be canned and any replacement will be agreed to by the CTU, then I don’t think I can support Labour any more.

        It is a question of values.

        • Herodotus

          Like many who have questioned the manner that Labour brought this issue to the front page. How else with very limited resources could this have been promoted ? Most of what is happening is lacking formal statistical data and can be only supported by anecodotal commentary. John Key can dismiss any comment as lacking support, and he has countered any one on the matter in such a way.
          No one has come up with an alternative as to how any data could have been captured, in a timely manner and then how to manage the release. Whilst this had some fragments of being amateur it still IMO it still displayed how :missing” the govt has been on this issue
          IMO many “left wingers” do more to assist National than help the cause. Julius Caesar “Divide et impera” comes to mind

          • Michael

            A Labour government that needs racism and oppressive treatment of vulnerable workers to obtain office is not worth putting there.

            • Herodotus

              No one here every thought that the B&T data unexpectedly became available at a opportune time that would embarrass our govts lack of activity in a matter that is extremely topical and not only has political capital but also has a direct impact into many peoples immediate daily situation.
              The framing of this being racist, as reiterated by your comment, Michael is at odds with any definition of the word
              As opposed to a right wing govt that has taken away much more in protection towards the worker ?
              Many want a Labour Party to agree with there own philosophy 100%, yet many right wingers IMO are more than confortable if their views are in alignment with national only in the matters that directly affects them and any other issues are of no relivence.

        • Mike S

          You call yourself a Labour supporter????


      • Matthew Hooton 4.1.3

        Nobody (well, almost nobody) has even heard what Andrew Little said about the 90 day issue, so it can neither have helped nor hurt Labour.

        • Bill

          My facebook feed, which isn’t geared towards political stuff, suggests otherwise. And there was a fair amount of hullabaloo on it here in both comments and posts.

          • Matthew Hooton

            doubt it reached general public consciousness though.

            • Bill

              What I’m saying Matthew is that those who have responded to the 90 Day Bill thing have been, on the whole, negative and critical. And I’m picking that’s because Labour have burned political capital with their base due to their xenophobic dog-whistling.

              Had Labour not done their housing stunt in the xenophobic way they did, or if the 90 Day Bill comments had preceded the dog-whistling, then I’m of a mind to believe that Andrew Little would have been given lee-way (benefit of the doubt) on what he said.

              • Matthew Hooton

                Ah, gotcha now. That may be right.

              • Mike S

                “burned political capital with their base”

                Not with their base Bill. Just with a minority of supposed Labour supporters who clearly have had no experience of real racism and who simply won’t accept the truth.

                • Bill

                  I’m white – greyish/pinkish actually.

                  Anyway, obviously I can’t be on the receiving end of racism if that’s what you mean by ‘experiencing’. But I have been on the receiving end of discrimination and bigotry. And from those things I can extrapolate or compare and so both recognise and condemn racism. Clearly. And then, if my life experience doesn’t give me the necessary perspective, there is always listening to and acknowledging those who say they are experiencing being on the receiving end of racist shit.

                  There are, admittedly, others of a whitish/grey/pinkish hue – including some within Labour and the party’s wider support – who, because they know it all, have no need to open their ears and minds to the experiences of others. I’m not that omniscient.

        • Mike S

          I agree.

          Gawd! That makes me feel slightly uncomfortable.

      • Olwyn 4.1.4

        @Bill, 4.1: I think that the negative responses to the framing of the housing issue and the 90 day bill comments both point to a deeper issue of trust. Both instances suggest that many grassroots Labour people are still to be convinced that their parliamentary representatives are on their side. The recent history of infighting and the lack of clarity about values that Stephanie posted on a few days ago are still taking their toll. http://thestandard.org.nz/labour-values-are-more-than-a-talking-point/ People tend to like Andrew Little, but the trust that has been steadily diminishing since 2008 has yet to be rebuilt. Until it is, it will be hard for people to distinguish between a strategic or tactical move and an affirmation of position.

        • Anne

          I do have to wonder though just how widespread this element of distrust now is within the Labour Party membership Olwyn. As Mike Williams pointed out on RNZ just now… “two people out of a membership of around 15,000 have publicly resigned.” That doesn’t mean to say others haven’t resigned (or are threatening to resign) without making a public spectacle of it, but I suspect they would be a relatively insignificant number. My own observation has been that since Andrew Little took over as leader the membership has coalesced behind him very well. Certainly the caucus has not been so united in years.

          • Olwyn

            I don’t think that lost trust can be rebuilt instantly, even with a promising new leader. As with a marriage that has gone through a bad patch, it takes time and quite a bit of good faith for trust to be restored. I like Andrew Little myself, and voted for him, but I can also understand the unease with which the two things under discussion are being received by some people. Once a clearer picture has emerged as to Labour’s present direction the unease will probably dissipate as well, provided of course that direction proves to be one that members and voters generally accept.

            • Anne

              I don’t think that lost trust can be rebuilt instantly, even with a promising new leader.

              Agreed. But I wonder whether the angst these two issues have created is about perception rather than the ‘lack of trust’ that built up after 2008. But as you say, time will tell and I cross my fingers and hope Labour can dispel any unease in a propitious manner.

              Can I say it’s nice to discuss the circumstance without rancour. Thank-you Olwyn. 🙂

  5. leftie 5

    Think you are wrong Bill, thankfully you are only speaking for yourself.

    • Michael 5.1

      I think there’s been a lot of reporting and comment on Little’s fire at will flip flop. FWIW, I reckon he should say:
      1. Fire at will employment laws will go under a Labour-government.
      2. Probationary employment periods will stay.
      3. Any worker (or employer) who believes they were unfairly treated at any time during the employment relationship has access to justice, in form of a competent and independent adjudicatory body (mediation or Alternative Dispute Resolution proceedings notwithstanding.
      Nice and simple. We all know where the Workers party stands on a litmus test issue affecting its credibility.

    • John Shears 5.2

      +1 leftie

  6. Saarbo 7

    An angry post Bill. Im part of the Labour base that supports their direction 100%. BTW, haven’t met anyone that doesn’t agree with Twyford’s approach given National’s refusal to gather immediate accurate stats on Foreign buyers.

    • Colonial Rawshark 7.1

      Labour did something necessary, but did it badly.

      And one of my main criticisms is that taking foreign buyers out of Auckland MAY somewhat slow down AKL property market price increases – but that is all. So to me it looks like cynical political point scoring.

    • ankerawshark 7.2

      Me too saarbo @7

    • Colonial Rawshark 7.3

      out of those you talked to, were any Chinese NZers.

    • leftie 7.4



    • John Shears 7.5

      Thanks Sarbo well said Bill seems to on another planet.

      • leftie 7.5.1

        @John Shears


        • Stuart Munro

          Speaking for myself, I think racism is a card that is played too casually and too often. It often reflects poorly on the claimant in a kind of honi soit qui mal y pense way. But then I’ve seen in used offensively by Russian slave ship operators to silence criticism.

      • Bill 7.5.2

        Another planet from you, John Shears? Perhaps.

    • Bill 7.6

      Not an angry post at all Saarbo.

      Don’t know what to think of you pinning your acceptance of xenophobia to the mast. Maybe you simply can’t recognise it, y’know, a bit like many men can’t recognise clear instances of sexism? I dunno.

      Actually, I hope it’s just that you can’t recognise it, as opposed to you being both able to recognise it and happy to condone it.

  7. Tautoko Mangō Mata 8

    Come on, Labour, cut the crap and keep the messages clear and concise.

    The one I want to hear right now is
    STOP the TPPA ( or NO to TPPA)

    (If you need any persuading, just picture yourselves being in Govt and being threatened with a $500 million ISDS lawsuit from Chevron, or Phillip Morris or Newmont if you want to protect the environment , or seeing Pharmac’s money going half as far due to increased patent times!).

    • Colonial Rawshark 8.1

      Labour will not commit to withdrawing from the TPPA. Again, I see that as a sign of Labour being very partial to what kind of foreign buying up of NZ it will tolerate. Bear in mind that the point of the TPPA is to freeze China out.

    • Macro 8.2

      Hear! hear!
      That’s what I want to hear from Labour too. None of this “we’ll wait and see” crap. Anyone with half a brain knows what it entails, and none of what it entails in any way shape or form is good for New Zealand.
      We have had enough of these open borders, and Free trade deals (but never fair trade deals) allowing NZs economy to be raped by all and sundry. Yes I know it’s your legacy Labour to the few remaining workers in New Zealand…. so when are you going to apologize and fix it?

  8. infused 9

    Labour just needs to enter the 21st century.

    Where is this massive list of 90 day trial abuses? Labour said at the time they would start a wall of shame… so where is it?

    BM and co said way back in 2008 what Labour were doing wrong and you all rubbished it. OAB said for years Labour were going to win and it hasn’t happened.

    I still don’t think Labour gets it, nor its supporters.

    • Lanthanide 9.1

      “Where is this massive list of 90 day trial abuses?”

      Unfortunately, just like foreign owners of property in New Zealand, National refused to put legislation in place to collect the data on this. So until such time as some organisation that has a proxy for this information leaks it to Labour, we just won’t know.

      So if you want to defend the policy, you should be lobbying National to start collecting these stats, so then you can prove your position correct. Instead of just blindly stating it to be the truth, like you are.

  9. adam 10

    My problem Bill, is because labour is a divided house, they can’t listen to a reasonable left wing argument.

    The left and right inside labour are in a forever war, which spills out in public every so often. I think it was te reo putake who said – “it was great to see labour working together so well last week” or words to those effect. If that was them working together, God help us all.

    I’ve said before the broad church argument is a joke, and the last week has proven just how much of a joke that is. Even if labour was the so called broad church – would have a broad church party, eaten a part of itself – just to get votes? Maybe, maybe that is what they mean by broad church.

    Can the left inside labour please stand up? Any chance of that? I see and read from many labour party activist here that they want the best for our community. They are also dam nice people. What has had me so upset over this last week, is watching them play second fiddle to a ill conceived and executed plan around the housing issue. They have also defended, points I thought any lefty worth their salt would have not defended, but condemned. It’s been depressing. Very, very, depressing.

    Every time I think the labour party is not some scum sucking, bottom feeder, dredging the soul of working people, it slaps me in the face – to remind me that the parliamentary wing is just that. Come on you activists inside labour, is it your party? Or the party of the rich – who may throw you a few bones?

    • Colonial Rawshark 10.1

      Philip Ferguson might say that as ever, Labour remains the party of the ruling classes and the bosses.

  10. vaughan little 11

    the post is pure fantasy.

    there is a very remote chance that you’re right about the shifts in voter preferences, but you have no way of knowing, and you’re overlooking far more plausible scenarios.

    you and many others, including many usually reliable people, have lost your reason over this.

    [ You commenting on the correct thread here? There is no mention of voter preferences in the post. Maybe you meant to comment on the ‘TV One Colmer Brunton Poll’ post?] – Bill

    • adam 11.1

      Spoken like a true devote of liberalism vaughan little. If all else fails attack peoples sanity, and call them crazy. How delightedly original, if it was not so sad, and if I had not heard it all before.

      Where did you learn your rhetoric skills, the school of – “I’m right, and the rest of you are just so stupid”?

      • vaughan little 11.1.1

        Not liberal; thomist, with a side of personalism. you’d be hard put to find someone more antiliberal than me. also, since i’ve raised my thomist credentials, you’ll be pleased to know that i’m not using the concept of reason in order to abuse anyone.

        it has dismayed me to see the low quality of reason and character in the arguments against labour’s stand on housing. for one, opponents aren’t setting twyford’s campaigning in the context of labour’s strong egalitarian tradition. even an 18 year old seminarian knows that you use context to interpret text. so how come seasoned politicos don’t get that? this is a baffling degree of thoughtlessness.

        and then there’s your comment – jumping from my ‘unreason’ to your ‘attacks on sanity’ ‘crazy’ and ‘stupid’.

        i can sympathize with minor parts of CV’s attacks on Labour over this issue, but the post at the top is purely wrongheaded – to paraphrase william dalrymple, he has ridden the donkey of passion into the field of unreason.

        • adam

          Are you being deliberately obtuse? Who on the left attacked labour and there stand on housing. If you look at what has been said, over and over. It is the framing and presentation of the debate (not the argument – the debate itself) was a stupid xenophobic cheap shot.

          Has anyone said the debate should not be raise? NO.
          Did anyone say transnational investment was not a bad joke, at your average working Kiwi expense? NO.
          Have many who criticised labour also wanted to expand the debate? Generally, yes.

          Unreasoned, please tell me how you jumped to that position. Because all I’m seeing from you is a shallow emotive argument, accusing the author of a shallow emotive argument. Now there is a word for that…

          • vaughan little

            the belief in and anger over some sort of xenophobia is unreasonable for starters. but that’s not what i was talking about.

            the argumentation re: andrew little’s credibility vis a vis his 90 day fire at will comments taking a hit due to labour’s stand on housing is simply wonky.

            so that’s my answer to your question about why i think these guys’ reason has been affected.

            also your tone is a bit, you know, double shot espresso at 7am….

            but that’s a bit of a problem all round at the standard, and i occasionally indulge myself. dudgeon is a sometimes food.

            yesterday in comment 2 on open mike, i translated from skykiwi (nz’s biggest chinese language website, and one of nz’s biggest websites overall) a report they did on the 13th of skykiwi commenters’ attitudes toward labour’s press release. responses were diverse. comments on the article were not entirely negative: 67 commenters saying it was racist, 36 saying it wasn’t. another article has 26 commenters supporting labour’s position and 21 opposing.

            this is not an out and out case of xenophobia. i recommend that you read the comments on the original article (google translate is rough but it’ll get you in the ballpark), there are some good ideas in there that i haven’t come across in english language discussion of the problem.

            • adam

              So you whole argument is only 46% of Chinese found labour racists. Therefore, It’s unreasonable to call labour xenophobic. To quote Pepelo Pepelo “Interesting”

              So let me ask again – are you being deliberately obtuse? Or do you just not understand racism is? Or do you not understand power differentials? Because quite frankly I’m confused – it seems like a 2 year old saying, they did not eat the jam – when the jam is all over their face.

              And do you think there are no correlations in politics between cause and effect? All Bill did was surmise, that Little was not given a free pass by the left of his off the cuff remark – because of a earlier snafu by labour. You know, “a possible” cause and effect.

              • Bill

                I wonder what percentage of women polled said that John Key’s behaviour around a cafe waitress wasn’t in any way sexist? Probably a fair few. Would that then mean that JK wasn’t being sexist?

                • vaughan little

                  the burden is on you to be listening to people in the chinese community on this. and not just the ones who share your persepective. don’t let hatred blind or deafen you. stay open.

                  all the best.

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    vaughan little your attempt to take one websites comments as being representative of the Kiwi Chinese community – of which I am a part of – is plain overreach.

                    Labour has seriously fucked itself and it won;t realise how seriously for quite some time to come.

                    • vaughan little

                      well, the piece i translated crunches about two thousand people’s opinions, but by all means, if you don’t want to know what they’re thinking, call it overreach and ignore it. or provide a more comprehensive set of translations, if you can be bothered. but then…

                      such offhanded dismissal of immigrants’ opinions gets me thinking though – maybe for you it’s not even about them.

              • vaughan little

                if you wanna understand power differentials, try buying a house at an auction in auckland. heh.

                look, there’s a screaming match, and there’s a discussion. anytime you want to you can quit the screaming match and join the discussion.

                but you’re gonna need to rehinge yourself. i mean, obtuse, jam…. you’re not doing yourself any credit.

                i’m saddened that my post on chinese opinions seemed to get not much attention, and i’m saddened that this is your response to the data. it’s as though chinese people’s thoughts on this stuff don’t matter.

                far as racism goes, i’ve seen a lot, in nz and in china where i’ve lived for coming up seven years. so i’ve done a lot of reflecting on it. i’ve discussed it with a lot of foreigners here, and i’ve discussed it with chinese friends back in nz. so i’m a thinking, experienced, caring human being. and, nothing of what labour has done, i recognise none of it as racist. and nothing in the “you’re racist!” crowd’s online comments suggests that they are anywhere close to comprehending how someone like me could exist, let alone listening to people like me.

                so, there’s that.

                i mean, i’d prefer the company of the guys who tried to stuff me into the boot of their car cos i was a foreigner to the screamy screamy “you’re a racist” crowd. at least with them you feel that there’s some kind of dialectic going on…

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  o i’m a thinking, experienced, caring human being. and, nothing of what labour has done, i recognise none of it as racist.

                  So myself, Keith Ng, Tze Ming Mok, Raybon Kan and many others in the Kiwi Chinese community have it wrong but you have it right?

                  What utter bullshit.

                  And Labour’s problem is not that it is being racist, it is that it is being two faced politically opportunist. You see, that’s what’s really fucked them, not any “racism” per se.

                • adam

                  No one called you a racist vaughan little – do you feel your being called a racist?

                  What we are saying and have said, is that the way labour has operated over this issue is xenophobic cheap shot.

                  See Colonial Rawshark comment below, I have nothing to add except I agree with him 97.8%.

          • Charles

            To be fair, I am saying the debate should not be raised, because it does not have to be raised. All other points I agree with you (Adam), which probably makes little difference.

            The reason I say the debate need not happen is because it is not a cause, and the cause is located exactly in what you present time and again: There are no Left policies in NZ, and certainly not within or from the Labour Party. If there was a influencial Left present in Labour, they would not need to talk about foreign investment in residential housing because no such thing would be possible in the wider environment. They wouldn’t have to talk about “stopping” it, because when a socially conscious government controls housing, you can’t instead have investors controlling it. Same with Industrial Relations – they either back workers, or private employers and corporates, they choose employers. When they start addressing real socialist change in the environment with real Left policies, the opportuites for racism and attacks on workers disappear.

            Now Labour want to stay Right, but whine about ideas from the Left that can’t work in a Rightwing environment.
            A few days ago I told some ingenuine fucker about how xenophobia could look like racism, and now the racist support is claiming xenophobia instead of their previous claim that it wasn’t racism just good sense. How many of these bastards can fit on the head of Twyford and Little’s pin?

            Labour’s problem isn’t framing, it’s that they’re lying two-faced rightwing bastards supported by old comfortable white folks who want to die of old age before anything changes (or people who aspire to that lifestyle), at everyone else’s cost, but don’t want to be thought of badly.

            • Colonial Rawshark

              and that’s what I am taking as cause for cynicism. Labour finger foreigner Chinese, but when it comes to the crunch, will not restructure the market to deliver what they say they want – affordable housing for Kiwis in Auckland. To do so would be to forceably move on from the free market model for housing to something far more interventionist and socialist.

    • vaughan little 11.2

      “the Colmar Brunton poll out today has Labour up 1%”

  11. Rob 12

    Well the media and Nick Smith and all you commentators here are still discussing Twyfords statements.
    Aucklanders have been debating this phenomena for much of the past 2 years.
    The debate doesn’t go away because it has substance
    It is not racist if foreigners who are not entitled to live here can buy houses thereby creating an excessive demand for our natural supply and usual demand
    As a consequence they put up the price to excessive amounts so Kiwis who do live and work here are shut out .
    I’m sure if this non productive aspect of our wealth creative market was restricted to its proper place we could all be happy.

    • John Shears 12.1

      @Rob – Well said ,No Dog Whistles no Xenophobic slants just telling it the way it is wealthy non-residents buying existing housing stock who happen to be Chinese.

    • Bill 12.2

      The debate is worthy. The way Labour framed the launch into the debate was, to say the least, deplorable.

    • Colonial Rawshark 12.3

      Auckland housing became unaffordable for ordinary workers more than 10 years ago. Now that it has become unaffordable for the (formerly) comfortable middle classes – it is a real issue.

  12. Mike the Savage One 13

    My observation remains to be the same, Labour still have no clear strategy, no clear, convincing program and plan, and no matter what attacks may be launched at the government, without offering a sufficiently convincing alternative, a CLEAR and determined direction, few voters will see the party as a valid, competent alternative.

    This poll was disappointing. I doubt though that the housing issue has been impacting that much yet on the public sentiment. That issue will not go away, and perhaps Twyford and Labour should do some more research, and present some more useful, more convincing information and arguments.

    And just trying to win “centrist” votes from the Nats, that is in itself a lacking “strategy”, as it forces Labour to move yet further to that “centre”, which has over times actually shifted to the right. Leaving the many disillusioned, the non voters of various types of people by the wayside, and doing nothing to engage with them, that is just plain stupid, I feel. Those are votes that Labour and Greens need.

  13. vto 14

    Bill you are over-reacting.

    New Zealanders like yourself need to grow up and discuss big problems in an adult way. Like they seem to be able to do it in other countries…..

    …. Chinese money is distorting our society creating all sorts of undesirable effects.


    all foreign money does this, as has been spouted for a long time now. And right now Chinese money is doing the same in Auckland (same as americans and arabs in queenstown, germans in southland farms, it goes on..) but on a massive and unprecedented scale, which is about to get worse.

    .. blah blah its all been said already blah blah…. the country is asleep on the claim of racism Bill – they see their friends and family being kept out of housing by people who don’t even frikkin live here and that is all that matters

    rant rant

    my vote turns on this very issue and has guided it the last two elections…. goes to the party with policies to ban foreign ownership of land. That is how important I see this issue – the most important to our community.

    • Bill 14.1

      What am I over-reacting to?

      I have said that Labour indulged in a bit of xenophobic dog-whistling that has not, as some expected, led to a bump in the polls. I’ve observed a negative reaction to what Andrew Little said on the 90 Day Bill and speculated that the two things (reaction to the dog-whistle and to Little on the 90 Day Bill) might not be unconnected.

      I can’t quite see where the reaction, never mind an over reaction, to anything is in any of that.

  14. Rosie 15

    Thank you Bill. That sums it up.

    It was a difficult week to be a member. First the shame and then the betrayal. It’s very frustrating when you’re trying to support them and be active in their on line campaigns, writing to MP’s under their banner, promoting Labour to family and friends etc and then have your goodwill and loyalty trampled all over.

    Any news of any clarification around Little’s statement about retaining the 90 day law (with some meaningless tweaking that appeases the bosses while failing to reassure workers) anyone? Or will this just fade into the back ground unacknowledged?

    I really would like to know asap. It really is very important. (It’s not a throwaway line to those of us who care about workers rights TRP and have had to deal with the huge amount of anxiety this bill has personally caused) I had thought promoting workers rights was a cornerstone of the Party, and to say something has big as that deserves to be questioned.

    And no I’m not Labour bashing. If I were I wouldn’t be in the Party. I’m just very disappointed and frustrated.

    • Karen 15.1

      +1 Rosie

    • The Chairman 15.2

      @ Rosie

      Is it possible Lanthanide comments above (“Little’s comments might possibly have brassed off some Labour members – but what are they going to do, vote for National?”) largely sums up the sentiment held within the Labour caucus, thus how they value the lefts support?

      In their zest to widen their support and secure more votes, are Labour taking the left support for granted?

      • Rosie 15.2.1

        Yeah, it’s a good question Chairman. I don’t know the answer to that. I really don’t. I don’t know the inner workings or dynamics of the Party so can’t gauge what their sentiments are towards their members, and what expectations they have of retaining their support when they do stupid stuff.

        I can only hope they wouldn’t be so arrogant as to assume that that support is there, no matter what.

        Loyalty has it’s limits.

  15. Tony 16

    Here’s a fact for you to consider.

    China published a list of their top 100 fugitives wanted for corruption. The third most popular destination for these fugitives is NZ:


    So that’s more than Australia, Russia, UK, France and Germany. NZ’s unregulated property market is a soft touch – the govt kept property exempt from anti-money laundering legislation passed in 2013 and the effect is being felt heavily:


    There is a huge exodus of capital from China following the anti-corruption crackdown. Canada, Singapore and Australia are tightening up their regulations, but NZ is still soft so much of that demand is ending up here.

    It would be nice to stop reading “opinion” pieces calling Labour racist and see some quality journalism done on the topic. Clearly this is a problem and while I don’t necessarily agree with the way Labour brought the topic into the MSM – they at least managed to get people talking. The government are being completely disingenuous and very few are holding them to account. Labour are at least trying.

    • Charles 16.1

      Anything China or Chinese has nothing to do with it. Now you’re telling us Chinese are mostly criminals…. except the ones that support your view that Chinese are criminals?

      Racism, right there. But keep talking about how racism doesn’t exist. I’m don’t want you to stop supporting racism, or “shut down the discussion”. We should always discuss what things might be true: For example, do aliens live on the moon? That could be a good topic of discussion. Supporters of the former Conservative Party leader would’ve been all over that one.

      Here’s the thing. Banning or supporting foreign investment isn’t the issue, or the solution. Suggesting we check “Chinese-looking” people for resident family history in NZ to ascertain “how Chinese they are” didn’t need to happen.

      The problem is that only a political Party that encouraged and condoned the kind of greed that has people climbing over the most vulnerable, or anyone weaker than them, would allow investors to control the affordability of residential housing. Only a Party who sought to divide and isolate people would allow (or condone) an environment that bred a population who think that trading in houses is the way to “get ahead” and accumulate private wealth, even just so they could be sure they don’t die in the gutter in their old age.

      Only a destructive-thinking Party could think “stopping foreign investment” was the answer to the ills in the wider social environment. The problem is one of overall economic direction.

      Only a Party that wanted to hide that could think that an acceptable response is to try to “stop foreign investment” without addressing under which environments influencial foreign investment in residential housing is possible – something that would never happen in an responsibly managed environment.

      Instead of Labour asking themselves what they are and what they have done; instead of reviewing how the wider environment might require investment in other foundational and important-to-social-cohesion areas; or how that would change the direction of the nation and eliminate the “foreign investor” question; instead of thinking about how to get people to either buy into socially conscious ideas instead of houses, or develop a policy to make the buy-in question obsolete; they choose to paint “Chinese” people as sneaky bad guys.

      • Tony 16.1.1

        Well, no I never said that most Chinese were criminal at all. And I don’t even see how you could arrive at that viewpoint? I simply published an article about New Zealand being a preferential location for the proceeds of corruption due to our lack of regulations regarding property and an absence of an extradition treaty with China.

        I’m talking about facts and I presented evidence to support my argument. You Charles, have simply done what many have done in the past week or so, and yelled claims of racism without actually addressing the points that I’ve highlighted.

        Most other countries are addressing this issue, but in New Zealand it’s racist to discuss foreign investment in our housing market. Sorry to present some facts, but you go on shooting the messenger – it’s the kiwi way.

        This is not a question of race, it’s a problem of economics – unfettered capitalism is killing the kiwi dream of owning your own home.

        • Bill

          but in New Zealand it’s racist to discuss foreign investment in our housing market

          No it’s not. But it’s dog shit to launch into the debate by issuing a xenophobic dog-whistle.

          .. it’s a problem of economics..


    • Mike the Savage One 16.2

      We live in a country where we can no longer discuss certain issues, without some overly sensitive persons jumping up and down, screaming “racism”, “sexism”, “discrimination”, “bullying”, and what else is often thrown around.

      While there are situations where such criticism is appropriate, it is near impossible to raise certain issues now, where there seems sufficient information that relate to certain groups of people, as there will be some, objecting even the naming of such a group.

      It is rather disappointing how this blinkered approach has led to the major issue being side-lined, which the Prime Minister is himself loving and exploiting, as opportune as always, as the did on morning radio shows today.

      So here we go again, John Key comes out the winner, as Labour is labeled “racist” or “xenophobic”, and we get endless silence now, almost suggesting, there is regret it was raised at all.

      Face it, there is significant foreign interest in residential real estate here, the aggressive marketing of it overseas proves it, why would agencies advertise for rentals or other properties here, if there was no interest in the mentioned countries?

      The government is to blame, for letting it come to this, and is shutting down all debate, with the same swift labeling as some here have done.

      • Bill 16.2.1

        We live in a country where we can no longer discuss certain issues, without some overly sensitive persons jumping up and down, screaming “racism”, “sexism”, “discrimination”, “bullying”, and what else is often thrown around.

        Nope. But a xenophobic dog-whistle is a xenophobic dog-whistle. And I, like many others, am sickened that the Labour Party saw fit to issue one.

        This has been said multiple times by many people. No-one who has pointed out that Labour’s framing was shit and really fucking objectionable is saying that foreign ownership and any other matters attached to housing affordability should not be discussed in depth. No-one.

        • Mike the Savage One

          Divide and rule is certainly working, as it has done in little Aotearoa NZ for many years now, especially under the present “gang” in government.

          How are you going to get unity?

          It is every one on their own out there, so many with various agendas, I see and hear it every day, people at each other’s throats, competing, buying selling, selling themselves, their hearts and souls, and who is talking about the issue of the rich getting richer, the ones with heaps of money coming also from overseas, to do as the supposed “1 percent” in New Zealand, participating in the rat-race of selfishness, to put themselves ahead of others, while others struggle to even pay exorbitant rents for an increasingly unaffordable home here in Auckland.

          Where is the “occupy movement”? Where are the protestors, where are the ones standing up?

          They are nowhere to be seen, and we waste energy about who says what, which may appear to put a certain group of people into one drawer, while it was apparently not even meant that way.

          I am close to giving up my last tiny bits of hope for the future of this country and its inhabitants, sorry, Bill.

          • Bill

            Where was the political outcry when the richer, mostly Pakeha segment of society only competed amongst themselves for the better slices of real estate and to secure the fastest growing property portfolio?

            I agree, that since we are being asked to choose sides in a game none of us will likely compete in, that a fuck of a lot is falling off the radar.

            Like many, I don’t won’t want to own a fucking house: I just want a secure home.

            but can we expect any talk of rent controls or tenant rights under any circumstances? I doubt it.

            We’re essentially being asked to feel outrage on behalf of ‘our betters’ – those who would rather be the sole ‘wealth through portfolio’ builders, who would then , undoubtedly and as they rent back to us at extortionate rates, impeach us all to work harder and wait a bit longer to enter into their ~ 20% world – as though any more than 20% of a population can be in the 20% of a population.

            Crash the market. Cap rents. Bring in very strong tenancy rights. Buyers can then buy, renters can rent. Problem solved. As a wee sweetener, all monies saved from any removal of housing supplement can go straight into building social housing for rent with no option to buy.

            • Mike the Savage One

              That is where I can agree with you, Bill, the fact that this is a debate about the wannabe home owners, and some local investors, now feeling the strong, well financed competition from abroad, to beat them to their little nest eggs and privileges.

              I have little sympathy with them also, but while I may despise some local speculators, investors and owners, we can eventually deal with them more easily, as they are based here. Some, and I would say, it will not be close to 40 percent of real estate buyers, that are investors coming from offshore, they may be damned hard to hold to account, for whatever they do.

              They may use also some people here, residents, and trusts, to be the front for their activities, hence the figure of only barely 2 percent of those declaring costs and earnings as landlords who are non-residents, who Nick Smith likes to quote. An IR3NR is an obligation for offshore investors who may earn rent or make gains on property they own here, while not being NZ tax residents. But there are always ways around this. Also some may simply buy for relatives or friends, to occupy homes, or they buy and only let to foreign students here in Auckland, and not declare rents earned to the tax department.

              I dread that part of the “market”, and they will not only be Mainland Chinese. The whole housing situation is a mess, certainly here in Auckland, and it is a top issue, that will force the government further into a corner, they have no real control and stuffed up big, and are scared to take action, which would only prove they have failed to do what was needed years ago (a register and more controls).

              Personally I would expect the state to get into the market, to build not just homes for the middle class that are affordable, but to build more state owned and managed social housing, so people who are not even able to access the market as buyers, will have a decent, safe, warm and affordable home to live in.

              Joyce, Smith and Key want to make us believe, that foreign investors may play a good, constructive, and active role in providing more supply, so people get homes, but I doubt they will do so for the poor and lower middle class.

  16. Nick Morris 17

    Come on Bill. The Only dog-whistle reaction is your own. Let the chips fall where they may. Don’t you think that the outcry would have been similar if the buyers had all been off-shore Eskimos spending those sweet oil-tar dollars, or Brits taking advantage of dumb colonial legislation, or Aussies pushing their weight around or Aucklanders using their big real estate clout to buy up the rest of the country? Just currently it seems to be left-over money from the Chinese boom looking from big returns and a safe haven.

    You can hardly blame them. Nor can you blame us for realizing that there is a big financial world out there perfectly capable of hoovering up everything we own, if it is to their advantage and protecting ourselves from them. That goes as much for ethnically Chinese Kiwis as anyone else. The point of the data was that Chinese names are way easier to distinguish than Australian or American ones (although, I concede that Eskimo ones would probably stand out too), so the likelihood of the money being sourced from off shore is the greater. The point is also that although we need better data, the doors had better be closed soon or it will end up being retrospectively enacted with much worse angst.

    The problem is you, Bill, because for you a red mist rises at the sound of the dog-whistle. Can we not just drop the bullshit and concentrate on the need for the corrective action which will protect New Zealanders in the same way as it protects Aussies and Chinese from outside incursion.

    • Bill 17.1

      The problem is you, Bill, because for you a red mist rises at the sound of the dog-whistle.

      So it was a dog-whistle. Glad that bit’s clear.

      Now, picking German or Russian sounding surnames and focusing on ‘them’would have been about as accurate as picking Chinese sounding surnames or Indian sounding ones and focusing on ‘them’.

      The difference between picking and focusing on the surnames of an identifiable ethnicity with a fucking terrible history at the hands of white NZers, over picking and focusing on the surnames from an ‘invisible’ ethnicity, should be really fucking obvious, no?

      And again. No-one has said that off-shore money pouring into property isn’t a part of the housing affordability problem. No-one has said a wide ranging discussion shouldn’t take place.

      As for Inuit, well, I’m just going to leave that one here.

      • geoff 17.1.1

        So by your logic, if the flow of off-shore money appears to be coming overwhelmingly from one country then nobody should point that out because it would be xenophobic?

        What if there was irrefutable evidence? Not just a few months of analysed real estate data but completely water-tight evidence that a large portion of the speculation was sourced from Chinese nationals?
        Would it be ok to accurately describe that situation or would that be xenophobic as well?

        This is my problem with your position, Bill. You (along with many others) are saying there are possible circumstances we shouldn’t be talking about, even if those circumstances are actually occurring, because that could be construed as xenophobic or racist.

        Sounds to me like you’ve created a new gold-standard for ‘PC-gone-mad’

        • Bill

          You don’t hammer on to the exclusion of all else. Simple really.

          • geoff

            Hammer on to the exclusion of all else?
            I’m no Labour Party fan-boi but in everything I saw of Twyford fronting this he was always at pains to explain that it was all foreign housing investment that should be banned not just Chinese.

            What have Labour excluded in presenting their findings?

            I don’t mind being wrong but every single criticism of Labour I have read (and I have read just about every damn blog post available),
            has been a piss-weak strawman or ad-hominem attack.

            • Bill

              Twyford essentially ‘sold’ an economic problem from an ethnic platform and in doing so made it an ethnic problem.

              What more is there to say on that front? Probably nothing, since so many people are determined to be blind to the implications or historical comparisons or contexts of such a maneuver.

              He (Labour) have done what they’ve done.

              • geoff

                That’s your take on it, which ignores all the context of this global economic story.

                It all comes back to my original point that, independent of Labour’s intentions or approach, you and others wish to define the discussion of this particular economic phenomena as intrinsically xenophobic/racist.

                That is not reasonable.

    • Clemgeopin 17.2

      +1 Well said.

      To me the smoking gun was the nearly 40% of the houses sold in 3 months being bought by people of Chinese sounding names while the resident Chinese population is way less at 9%. That POINTS TO overseas non resident investment pouring in. The PROOF of True or not will only be known if the Government does a back dated register immediately.

  17. Sable 18

    I heard Labour planned to build a couple of submarines and join National at the bottom of the Cook Strait….

  18. Chris 19

    “Or they could cut the crap and get back to being a solid and conscientious social democratic party of the left. That means they’d have to work, and work hard, to regain the trust of a substantial proportion of their base that is, quite frankly, sick and disgusted.”

    No, it’s too late for Labour, just plain impossible for Labour to ever get back to anything that they may have been. Way too late.

  19. Brutus Iscariot 20

    Ironically the outrage from some members probably proves that the framing is in fact a winner.

    National’s renaissance was complete when they neutered the right of the party, and focused on pragmatic populist centrism with a sprinkling of signature policies that weren’t popular themselves, but could be swallowed as part of a broader presentation to the electorate.

    The same is happening here (or at least is being attempted).

    • McFlock 20.1

      neutered the right of the party?

      Jeebus, how much worse could they get – replacing Campbell Live with Mount Eden Thunderdome Live?

      • Brutus Iscariot 20.1.1

        Well, think of a Collins Prime Ministership…

        • McFlock

          lol the distaste is worse, but I’m having difficulty picturing specific changes.

          If anything, it would be shorter-lived than the current regime because she’s too blatant about her rorts.

    • Ergo Robertina 20.2

      Nope you’re wrong; it’s the noblesse oblige element that was gradually eliminated from the National Party.

  20. Peter Bradley 21

    This is the best article I have read on this issue so far. Labor is using race in order to generate political leverage – it is a cynical and dirty strategy and I’ve lost all my respect for Phil Twyford and most of my respect for Andrew Little. I’m as astonished as Bill at the amount of comments and media coverage that see Labors blatantly obvious dog-whistle disguised as a fluffy kitten as perfectly reasonable.

  21. Drowsy M. Kram 22

    “This has been said multiple times by many people. No-one who has pointed out that Labour’s framing was shit and really fucking objectionable is saying that foreign ownership and any other matters attached to housing affordability should not be discussed in depth. No-one.”

    “No one has come up with an alternative as to how any data could have been captured, in a timely manner and then how to manage the release.”

    Boiling a complex issue down to a simple choice, would it be preferable to:

    A. Sit on the B&T information – release nothing.

    B. Release the information while dog-whistling (unintentionally or deliberately)?

    In the context of the primary post, option A seems preferable.

    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wise people so full of doubts.” – Bertrand Russell

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