Lots of big stuff going on at the moment, but other stories are significant too. The extent of the coverage of this blunder will be worrying the Nats –
National Party MP Paul Goldsmith has been accused of racialising the housing crisis after making a bizarre statement to a man who questioned him about National’s lack of a capital gains tax.
Mr Maharaj said Mr Goldsmith interrupted at that point, saying “Yeah, well, you’re [Indian] and she [Ms Parmar] is Indian. You just need to accept it. That’s the way it is.”
Mr Maharaj said he was left in shock.
“I was really disappointed that you could bring up race in a housing crisis when there are 26,000 people in Auckland alone that are homeless.”
“Just because you’re Indian has got nothing to do with it.”
Maharaj, who is half-New Zealand European and half Fijian-Indian, said he posed a “serious question” about whether National MPs’ tendency to own more houses than other parties’ MPs clouded their views on initiating a capital gains tax.
He said that when he used National MP Parmjeet Parmar as an example, Goldsmith interrupted him to say, “yeah well, you’re Indian and she’s Indian, you have to accept that’s the way it is”.
“It really staggered me — for a politician to say something racially offensive,” he said.
“When a young person has a question about the housing crisis and capital gains tax … isn’t that a valid question?”
He says Mr Goldsmith interrupted and said: “Yeah, well, you are – and she is – Indian. You just need to accept it. That’s the way it is.”
Mr Maharaj says he was shocked by the comment.
“[The Minister] was saying that Indians buy lots of houses,” says Mr Maharaj. “Does that have anything to do with the housing crisis?”
Matt Billington, 18, witnessed the exchange, and was also shocked by the Minister’s comments.
“We were like, ‘What? Did he really just say that?'”
“You can’t categorise an entire race of people, and say, ‘Oh, that’s just the way it is; they own multiple houses,'”Mr Billington says.
“It’s a categorisation which, as a Member of Parliament, is disgusting. That’s no way for a human to behave, let alone someone holding a position in the Government.”
An apology from Goldsmith is in order.