Racism more than skin deep for Nats

Written By: - Date published: 10:06 am, November 25th, 2011 - 16 comments
Categories: class war, national, racism - Tags:

The following post is reproduced with permission from The Hand Mirror:

I received the letter below which I am posting with permission from the author. I’m sorry, but it’s not enough to have your party leader make public platitudes about the importance and value of diversity. If the rest of your MPs don’t have the courage to call out discrimination and to challenge racism, then those platitudes are just a sick joke.

Priyanca tells me she was the only brown face in the room at this event. I’m so sorry that she had to sit through this kind of thing at a public meeting.

Dear Editor,

Never before was structural discrimination more blatant than at Monday night’s public meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and Wairarapa MP John Hayes at the Royal Hotel. I attended this meeting along with about eleven other members of the public and left the meeting feeling physically ill.

The conversation began with a discussion around economic issues, primarily related to the forestry industry in the Wairarapa and Hayes, in a bid to assert that high youth unemployment in the region is the result of individual choice as opposed to the lack of employment opportunity, referred to a group of 25 youths who were keen to be employed in the forestry industry of which 22 failed a mandatory drug test. This comment was met with much sighing and shoulder shrugging by a number of members of the audience and by Hayes himself. The discussion quickly deteriorated into a session of benefit-bashing, migrant and refugee-bashing and culminated (for me, as I was unable to take much more and left the meeting shortly before it drew to a close) in Hayes vociferously denouncing MMP as an electoral system that does not work as it “forces” the government to address issues that they had not even mentioned before they came into power – like the foreshore and seabed issue.

A member of the public who was fed up with the social welfare system was resentful that hardworking taxpayers had to support tax bludgers and made a reference to the “900 turbanheads [referring to Sikh men who wear turbans] who are driving our taxis in Wellington” who were misusing the welfare system (I could not quite make the connection between driving taxis and benefit fraud) and his remark was acknowledged with a number of nodding heads and although the Deputy PM attempted to joke that he liked the “turbanheads” the seeds of discrimination were already sown.

The seeds were carefully nurtured during an ensuing discussion on state housing, the “poor job that Housing New Zealand was doing” in ensuring that tenants did not sublet their state homes and fertilised by the Deputy PM’s comment about refugees who “often did not speak any English” and only too easily got straight onto the Emergency Benefit, moved on to the Unemployment Benefit and did not work “even for a day.” Mr English commiserated with audience members who felt that state housing was a waste of time and promised that his government, if re-elected, would ensure that they took a hard line towards state housing. I find this especially interesting considering funding to state housing was slashed by fifty per cent in the 2011 budget from $18.1 million to $9 million despite research that indicated an increased demand for state housing possibly exacerbated by a global economic recession[1].

Department of Labour research[2] on the economic impacts of immigration 2005 – 2010 points to “investment-induced productivity growth when the number of immigrants increased.” According to the same report, the 2006 census indicated a migrant population of approximately 927,000. It then quotes a research study that estimated that this migrant population had a positive net fiscal impact of $3,288 million in the year 2005/06. The study then compares this with the New Zealand-born population of 3.1 million which had a lower net fiscal impact of $2,838 million.

What I am trying to say here is that migrants make a positive economic contribution to New Zealand despite documented evidence of structural discrimination. Inward migration has also contributed to diversity in terms of food, music, festivals and if we want to go back to economics, contributed to the growth of the tourism industry. Refugees are people who have undergone severe trauma, terror and experienced the loss of homes and loved ones prior to coming to New Zealand. They are accepted into the country under the government’s Refugee Quota Programme on humanitarian grounds.

Given that New Zealand as the host country stands to benefit from inward migration, there are myriad government initiatives to address ethnic inequalities and target structural discrimination. As a result of this, I would expect the current government to set certain standards towards fostering race relations and was appalled at the blatant prejudice and lack of information displayed by the Deputy Prime Minister and this region’s incumbent MP. As a migrant myself, and one who has never accessed social welfare benefits, I was disgusted by the tone of the meeting and the perpetuation of a stereotype that migrants and refugees are bludgers of society.

Instead of tearing the social fabric of this nation apart, I would like to see the National Party work towards educating themselves first before professing to be inclusive and addressing underlying structural causes instead of playing the blame game. It would be great if, along the way, they would also develop some compassion for fellow human beings.

Regards,
Priyanca Radhakrishnan


[1] Otago Daily Times. (2011, May 20). State housing funding cut in half. Retrieved November 23, 2011, from Otago Daily Times: http://www.odt.co.nz/news/politics/161442/state-housing-funding-cut-half

[2] Department of Labour. (2010). New Zealand Research on the Economic Impacts of Immgiration 2005 – 2010: Synthesis and Research Agenda. Wellington: Department of Labour.

16 comments on “Racism more than skin deep for Nats”

  1. jaundiced 1

    This is hearsay – no evidence offered.

    Publish a transcript of the meeting so we can make our own interpretations.

    Incidentally are you aware that Priyanca Radhakrishnan is a member of Grassroots Labour? Perhaps this information should have been disclosed so that the political affiliation is clearer?

    • RedLogix 1.1

      So are you asking for a tape recording of the meeting?

    • Eddie 1.2

      Are you calling Priyanca Radhakrishnan a liar? If people tell you something happened to them, you take their word unless you have contrary evidence. Retract or be banned.

      Demanding a transcript of a public meeting is the single stupidest thing I’ve ever seen from a rightie on this site…. including burt.

      There’s no law against being a member of a political party. And I don’t go google stalking everyone who dares to put forward their real name in the political discourse. Unlike you.

  2. Barbara Strathdee 2

    I am appalled to hear that these dinosaurs still exist. And are free to emit their disgusting opinions outside of their own homes.

    I have visited state flats in Wellington and have wondered why they remain for months in such bad condition – the reason no doubt being the cuts you write of.

    Can we vote these racists out tomorrow? YES… we must.

    • Im not at all surprised .I have been listening to thes Tory Red Necks most of my life.Im sorry to say that many are my former fellow country people
      who usually start their conversations with teh old coutry is not what it used tom be” W

    • Im not at all surprised .I have been listening to these Tory Red Necks most of my life.Im sorry to say that many are my former fellow country people
      who usually start their conversations with the old coutry is not what it used to be” We all know what follows.Then they start on Maori . What is a shame about the above comment is that its too late to get out to the Sihk community before the election tommorrow .

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1

        What is a shame about the above comment is that its too late to get out to the Sihk community before the election tomorrow .

        No it’s not. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this letter was already making the rounds.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    This is a blog and so not dependent on some evidential based approach that suits you juandiced, so go fuck your self. Credibility or otherwise of contributors is built up over time in my observation.

    Good point Redlogix.

  4. Bill 4

    Some things never change. There was another Deputy PM of a Nat government who told me straight to my face (twice) at a public meeting to ‘go back where I came from’. Maybe there’s an immigrant bashing requirement in the job description?

    • Vicky32 4.1

      “There was another Deputy PM of a Nat government who told me straight to my face (twice) at a public meeting to ‘go back where I came from”

      Unbelievable! I remember being told the same thing, at primary school – which was hilarious! My accent comes from my father… 🙂

  5. mac1 5

    Remember Lockwood’s ‘small hands’ comment in 2008?

    Mrs Mac1 went to a meeting then where she sat amongst some National women who muttered racist comments amongst themselves while the National candidate got up to answer a question involving that issue and who then went into a shocked silence when the aforesaid candidate actually condemned the racism in the issue. So, it ain’t always necessarily so.

  6. hoom 6

    Speaking of racism…
    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2011/11/amusing_cartoon.html
    … aaaand that would be part of why I don’t normally go there.

  7. Turpentine 7

    “If people tell you something happened to them, you take their word unless you have contrary evidence”

    Like when Darren was accused of sexual assault?

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    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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