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National wants to open up our borders, unless you are Indian, Pakistani or Korean

Written By: - Date published: 8:08 am, July 3rd, 2020 - 55 comments
Categories: health, health and safety, national, Politics, racism, racism, same old national, uncategorized - Tags: ,

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.

From Amelia Wade at the Herald:

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:

  • India – 15
  • Australia – 8
  • United States – 3

55 comments on “National wants to open up our borders, unless you are Indian, Pakistani or Korean ”

  1. I Feel Love 1

    As a South Islander I want to distance myself from this arsehole, I saw this last night and got really angry at this dick, we welcomed the Syrian refugees here in Dunedin so f* ck this Nat MP.

    I’ll add, they’re kinda equating these new arrivals to pedos, “consult the community”, where would National put these new arrivals, Manus Island???

  2. Incognito 2

    I think what riles Walker and possibly National is that he might have less enthusiasm for lobbying for compassionate exemptions and early release from quarantine like Bishop did for Thelma & Louise from the UK. I mean, what’s in it for him or National? It is pure unadulterated self-interest, as usual.

  3. mac1 3

    Woodhouse "said that he had not taken the 15 seconds necessary to read the statement'".

    The same defence that Stuart Smith MP pled when he tweeted approval of a National Party staffer's obnoxious tweet about Ardern. He hadn't read all of five lines, either.

    They're going to have to learn to read, to check up and not take their colleagues on blind trust, then aren't they?

    Not that they do with their factions, leaks and broken loyalties.

    • observer 3.1

      And the same defence Todd Muller used when asked about National's misleading attack ads on Lab/Greens – the "leader" said he hadn't seen them.

      He needs to front this today. I'll give him credit for his response to Nick Smith's "Nazi" outburst, Muller didn't dodge, he quickly condemned it. He can't dodge this one either.

      If nothing else, he must defend his own MPs, of Korean or Indian ethnicity.

    • Chris T 3.2

      It is like Lees Galloway and Sroubek's application all over again.

      • mac1 3.2.1

        It's like………. enlightenment is sought. Tell me how the racist tweetings of a Southern Man, for which he has been at least admonished, are 'like' whatever happened with Lees Galloway and Sroubek, the criminal drug importer.

        Please.

        • Gabby 3.2.1.1

          Agreed, nobody seems to have pulled the wool over Hamie's eyes, it's all his own doing.

  4. You_fool 4

    Sergeant Schultz not Colonel Klink for the I know nothing routine….

    Also, 15/26 is sort of kinda nearly all…. if you take nearly all to be more than half… like nearly all of National MPs are idiots

    • mac1 4.1

      Like all good leaders, though, Colonel Klink and leader Muller alike have to recognise and deal with poor performance in their underlings.

      Shulz never got a performance review. It's time many National MPs got performance reviews from their leader, their electorate selection panels and their voters.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      Yep, Schultz

  5. Ad 5

    Xenophobia in this time runs rampant on the left as well as the right.

    If National is smart they will frame the entire election about re-opening New Zealand.

    Helen Clark, Sir Peter Gluckman, and Rob Fyfe are about to lead this as a civic debate.

    From last polling there's at least 9% of voters in play for either National or Labour.

    We can leave the fear-vote to NZFirst.

    • observer 5.1

      This is racism, not xenophobia. They are New Zealanders who aren’t white.

      The debate about re-opening is entirely different, because it is about who else can enter the country (students, workers, tourists etc).

      • Ad 5.1.1

        Nothing wrong with naming and flagging countries. NZ Immigration do it all the time. Those with the highest rates per capita and uncontrolled outbreaks – the likes of Belgium, the Netherlands, and the US – should all have black plague flags flying on them.

        But we are well overdue to to start naming and praising the countries where it is pretty much under control, and prepare to re-engage with them properly.

    • AB 5.2

      "Helen Clark, Sir Peter Gluckman, and Rob Fyfe are about to lead…"

      What if we don't want to be led by them – is there some mechanism whereby we can remove their (self-appointed) 'leadership' in this matter?

      And Muller will of course endlessly and misleadingly reference them all the way up to the election, so they've thrown him a lifesaver.

      • Ad 5.2.1

        From next week debate will be joined proper.

        This week has just been the opening salvo.

        The same pressures we felt internally to get out of Level 4 will be felt to get out of travel+trade lockdown – except they will be amplified on a global scale.

        • Sacha 5.2.1.1

          Except this ‘pressure’ is on behalf of only a narrow range of interests in tourism and export education.

          Let's see that balanced against the risks to all of us. And ambitious policy on replacing those parts of our economy with more sustainable ones.

        • Poission 5.2.1.2

          The paper is a spiel on open problems,

          While we pin our hopes on a vaccine, it could be much further away than the hype suggests. Can we afford to wait out another year, two years, or even more in almost total physical isolation? And at what cost? This is not just affecting tourism and export education, but also the many ways in which New Zealand projects and leverages its place in the world.

          Economic cost over peoples health and wellbeing?

          Overseas countries envying NZ?

          Are we really economically distressed,or resetting to a more sustainable society?

          https://informedfutures.org/wp-content/uploads/Re-engaging-NZ-with-the-world.pdf

          • Sacha 5.2.1.2.1

            Thanks for posting that. Seems founded on a belief that the way the world does business has not changed:

            The internet and video conferencing can take us only so far. We will need face-to-face contact if we are to maintain and grow the flow of goods and services into New Zealand.

            This country needs its global connectivity. We have gained significant advantage through our stringent lockdown and early elimination of the virus allowing the domestic economy to reactivate.

            But we will rapidly progress to a position of relative disadvantage if our trading competitors are able to engage with our customers and suppliers in ways that are not possible for us.

    • Enough is Enough 5.3

      I have a feeling they want to frame the election around opening the borders. Muller need to provide some answers though rather than just posing the question time after time.

      The rest of the world is beginning to reopen borders on a strategy of managing the disease rater than eliminating it.

      Can we stay isolated from the rest of the world for the medium term?

      • Ad 5.3.1

        Right question.

        • Muttonbird 5.3.1.1

          Wrong question. The right question is, "can the rest of the world match our commitment?"

          Answer is already in. “No.”

          • Enough is Enough 5.3.1.1.1

            That's not really a question that needs answering because the rest of the world has no intention of matching our commitment.

            So what do we do?

      • Muttonbird 5.3.2

        All in the Northern hemisphere, right?

        The reality is, Covid 19 has killed the people it's going to kill in those countries because those countries let it, either deliberately or by extremely poor management.

        Managing the disease after it has done its work is a rather simpler job than saving actual lives.

      • Ed1 5.3.3

        "I have a feeling they want to frame the election around opening the borders." That is of course nicely framed to be ambiguous – expect a lot of that as the election draws nearer. To some, 'opening the borders' means letting other than New Zealanders back, to others it means doing away with isolation / quarantine and testing. There is a gap between those of course, but he other important issue is just how many people coming in can we cope with, especially if we want to keep the current isolation / testing etc regime for a while yet. So lets then suppose that Helen Clarke and others are not saying to stop isolation / quarantine / testing. On that basis, how many do we expect? Is it OK if the airlines bring in 500 in one day? All to Auckland? Or should there be limits? How many more want to come anyway? We are talking about potentially charging New Zealanders that go from NZ and then want to come back – are charges being proposed for international students ? Is there any point if they are only going to get Zoom meetings anyway? Are we prepared to give priority to non-New Zealanders who pay all costs themselves?

        The question is what is each of those speaking through news media really referring to? Are there some people we really do not want travelling anyway (eg non-New Zealanders over age 80 say who may just clog up our health facilities if they catch something on the plane . . .

        It may make business happy to say "we must open the borders"- but what does that mean?

    • peterh 5.4

      I have just finished the civic debate, my result How long is a piece of string

      [Fixed error in user name]

    • swordfish 5.5

      From last polling there's at least 9% of voters in play for either National or Labour.

      I have my doubts … https://thestandard.org.nz/one-news-cb-poll-june/#comment-1722997 … reinforced by the latest Curia with Labour up on 55.

      Suspect the swing away from Labour since May has been much milder … 3 or 4 rather than 9. Let's see what the next round of polling tells us.

  6. Robert Guyton 6

    National Party candidate for Invercargill, Penny Simmonds declared some weeks ago that Queenstown must be used to quarantine foreign students on route to her Southern Institute of Technology; students from such countries as Walker named on his "black list". I don't recall his objections materialising then.

    • Ad 6.1

      Given that the government is already planning for quarantine hotels in Dunedin and Queenstown, looks like National was right.

      • Graeme 6.1.1

        Everyone, that's Walker, Boult and mates were reported as being in favour of Simmonds' proposal. When Government announced they were looking at using Queenstown facilities for quarantine of returning New Zealanders the same people were like 'well, hang on a minute'

        Reality, the risk from trying to quarantine young people in a party / adventure town is going to be like herding cats. Returnee quarantine of mostly mature people, maybe a bit more controlled. And they won't be putting high risk people down here, too far to adequate health care.

        Penny Simmonds was just trying to advance the remuneration package of her day job, which would be directly tied to the income SIT derived from overseas students.

  7. Sacha 7

    China's OK though, right Hamish?

  8. Monty 8

    Hey Mickey

    Whilst it was a poor to single out those countries you could have balanced your article by stating this is not only National but also NZF and who can forget Twyford and his Chinese sounding names comments when trying to score a political hit on the then Government but ended up offending some of the Chinese community in New Zealand.

    • observer 8.1

      Nice try with the "what about" but there is one important difference. The "names" issue was met with widespread criticism from people on the left. I recall it well, because I was one of them.

      Still waiting for any condemnation of Walker on the Right. Feel free to let us know when they speak up.

      • Tc 8.1.1

        You won't, you will see a lot of this from national.

        Plausible deniability, manufacturing consent all with the politically odious hooton pulling the strings.

        Get used to it, a crash or crash through strategy with truth and humanity an inconvenience.

      • Monty 8.1.2

        I agree it was poor to single out those 3 countries very stupid for a politician to do that.

        Couple articles for you countering your criticism comment also had a quick scan and didn't see you comments from you condemning it. So here is one with "what about" Orewa speech and the bulk backed Twyford in the comments. Plus another attacking Phil Quinn for resigning in protest of the use of Chinese sounding names.

        https://thestandard.org.nz/twyford-responds/

        https://thestandard.org.nz/phil-quin-resigns-from-labour/

        • observer 8.1.2.1

          You didn't see comments from "observer" on the Standard, as I wasn't here. I do have another life.

          The archives of July 2015 have many critical comments. But in any event, that is only a tiny fraction of public opinion. Much more on social media, blogs etc

          e.g An hour of reading here, just one example

  9. Melacon 9

    So, New Zealand citizens are returning, and some may come south. Why does it matter where they are when they decide to return? Please explain. They are New Zealanders.

    The Guardian newspaper regularly publishes Coronavirus world map: which countries have the most Covid-19 cases and deaths? A glance at that could explain why New Zealanders may want to leave USA.

    But it doesn’t matter where they come from: they are New Zealanders. Actually, your emphasis on country of departure may tell us more about your judgement. It may also demean us, your constituents, if there is an implication we would hold prejudicial views of certain countries. I must get on the roll. Disappointing.

    • Sacha 9.1

      Please do vote.

    • Incognito 9.2

      Could you please stick to one e-mail address when commenting here? I can see at least three different ones and it is creating more unnecessary work for Moderators. Thanks in advance.

  10. Peter 10

    The interview is brilliant. Walker shows himself to be complete tosser. His garbage bit about Megan Woods not knowing where the lives cases come from? The genius, looking after his constituents has done the heavy research to chase the information down? Like me? In the daily newspaper? Or on the Covid-site?

    https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-current-situation/covid-19-current-cases/covid-19-current-cases-details

    "These people are possibly heading for Dunedin, Invercargill and Queenstown from India, Pakistan and Korea," he said.

    Interviewer: "There are high rates from the likes of the United States, United Kingdom, why single out those three particular countries?"

    Walker: "I'm not singling out those three countries at all."

    What the hell is in the water down there that sees them have the calibre of MPs they turn up with?

    • Gabby 10.1

      I guess he's claiming people are coming only from the countries he named, otherwise he is singling them out. Korea's record is pretty good though, so he's being a lying little shitweasel if he justifies himself by claiming they're hotspots.

  11. Chris T 11

    Originally the govt first closed borders with China.

    I am assuming this means they are racist as well.

  12. observer 12

    This is quite funny (probably not work safe!) –

    Muller does a weak "do not condone" response to his MP's racism and so

    the Right Wing ranters are furious with him.

  13. Dennis Frank 13

    Naughty boy, got told off:

    "Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker has been reprimanded by his leader for sending out what has been dubbed a ‘racist’ press release." https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/122029198/national-leader-todd-muller-reprimands-hamish-walker-over-racist-press-statement

    National Party leader Todd Muller said he had spoken to Walker and expressed his “disappointment” and “concern”. “I certainly don't condone what it says,” Muller said.

  14. georgecom 14

    cheap shot and dishonesty from this MP, if he was being serious he would have mentioned the US, Aussie, the UK and Europe. All have covid outbreaks, all are places Kiwis are who will return home from. I haven't even seen I reported imported covid case from Korea.

  15. Hardev Singh 15

    it is stupid MP

    New Zealand is peacefull country. This type of MP making it racist ciuntry..

  16. Stuart Munro 16

    The media, as usual, is also rubberstamping calls for border opening. This story, superficially human interest, shows how dependent NZ employers are on foreign 'experts'.

    I'm sure the guy concerned is a perfectly good rigger. So are the thousands of former deepsea fishermen trained in NZ over the last three or four decades, for whom splicing wire rope was an everyday chore.

    But their expertise can never be recognised of course – some foreigner will have the job and a work permit without the employers even looking for NZ staff. In the midst of a serious quarantine, this lazy habit really ought to be brought to a close. NZ needs the jobs. And, no, we don't need many of the foreign workers some employers are used to using at the drop of a hat.

  17. georgecom 17

    I assume Walker also means the Phillipines in his comments. India, Pakistan, Korea AND the Phillipines. That country has had over 40,000 cases of covid19. I am sure the farmers in his electorate will be happy when he tells them their Philipino farm workers and managers are not welcome in the South

    • duperez 17.1

      Slave labour is welcome anywhere. Undoubtedly the great supporters of the MP will not see anything wrong with his press release and his attitude. They will not recognise a sinister tone.

      The nuances of what you say will be beyond them.

      Some commenters in the ODT put the boot into the Dunedin mayor for him showing concern about Hamish Walker's attitude.

      The reality is that for his efforts Walker's majority will probably increase.

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