- Date published:
8:08 am, July 3rd, 2020 - 55 comments
Categories: health, health and safety, national, Politics, racism, racism, same old national, uncategorized - Tags: covid-19, Covid19
Holy dog whistling racism. I can’t believe this happened.
In the past month we have had Todd Muller dying in a ditch about a MAGA hat, a white National Party front bench selected and then this.
Clutha Southland MP Hamish Walker has blown really hard on the racist dog whistle and complained that kiwis returning from India, Pakistan and Korea were ready to invade Queenstown, and no doubt bring Covid with them.
A National MP has been slammed for penning a “racist” statement singling out quarantining Kiwis returning from India, Pakistan and Korea.
The Government this afternoon said it was investigating whether hotels in Queenstown and Dunedin were feasible as managed isolation and quarantine facilities.
In response, MP for Clutha-Southland Hamish Walker issued a press release saying it was “absolutely disgraceful” communities hadn’t been consulted.
“These people are possibly heading for Dunedin, Invercargill and Queenstown from India, Pakistan and Korea.
“I’ve already had many calls, texts and emails from residents who do not want people in quarantine in Queenstown.”
He claimed up to 11,000 people could be destined for quarantine in the south.
This brings back memories of what Todd McClay said a few weeks ago about Rotorua but has an overt topping of racism. McClay had the foresight to only imply race, not broadcast it. He said this:
“It’s outrageous the Government has bused newly arrived international passengers into Rotorua under the cover of darkness to quarantine them in the CBD,” says Rotorua MP Todd McClay.
“As many as 239 newly-arrived people are quarantining in two hotels in Rotorua, and the Government didn’t even bother to tell locals that they were moving these people from Auckland to Rotorua.
“Rotorua citizens woke on Sunday morning to learn that these passengers arrived in up to four buses between 10pm and midnight last night and have been given zero assurance about health and safety. There are reports that hotel workers were not even informed that quarantine passengers were arriving.”
McCLay says it is not good enough.
“Rotorua people made huge sacrifices, along with the rest of New Zealand, during lockdown. Some have lost jobs, businesses and livelihoods in the process.
“The Government couldn’t even be bothered to show them the courtesy of informing them before turning their hotels into quarantine facilities.”
The MP is demanding the the Government answer the following questions:
Has every person arriving in Rotorua been tested for Covid-19? Has anyone displayed symptoms and signs of Covid-19? Where have the passengers come from? Will they be confined to these hotels or are they able to exercise as has been reported in Auckland? What precautions have been taken to ensure hotel workers and their families safety? Why wasn’t the Rotorua community informed before busing people here for quarantine? How many other hotels will be used and how many people will be quarantined in Rotorua?
“The public have lost confidence in the shambolic quarantine system. Rotorua needs answers now,” says McClay.
When you reread McClay’s comments they were pretty racist, just not overtly so. I mean “newly arrived international passengers”, “cover of darkness”, “[w]here have the passengers come from”?
The vast majority of people in quarantine are returning kiwis. They may be returning from India or Pakistan or Korea. But most of them are returning from Australia, England and the US.
To somehow suggest that people of a certain ethnic background are a threat in a pandemic is a new low for National, one that I have not seen them transgress for some time.
And it just jarrs. On Tuesday Todd Muller was asking about how the country could open up its border with Australia. He is a fan of resuming travel norms as soon as possible.
But people from Australia are good, but India, Pakistan and are Korea bad? Notice Hamish referred to “Korea”, not “South Korea”.
Walker’s statement has been taken down from National’s website. And this morning on Radio New Zealand Michael Woodhouse was all Colonel Klink on it and said that he had not taken the 15 seconds necessary to read the statement or be briefed on it. Ignorance is clearly bliss and also a political diversion tactic.
Don Brash’s Iwi Kiwi thinking is still alive and well in National. This could be a really ugly election.
Update: Hamish Walker has been interviewed on Radio New Zealand and has stood by his comments. He has said he was talking about risk and was not being racist. He said it is about the countries the kiwis are coming from and not their race. It was about the live cases in New Zealand and what countries they are coming from. He also said the Minister does not know where they are coming from.
In particular he said:
Our current live cases in New Zealand are coming nearly all from Asia.
A quick perusal of the Health Ministry’s website and using the fingers on both of my hands and the toes on one of my feet confirms the numbers. The infected cases have come from: