Revisiting the Chinese-sounding-names story

Written By: - Date published: 6:15 am, November 25th, 2017 - 249 comments
Categories: housing, journalism, making shit up, Media, racism - Tags: ,

Russell Brown has a post up at Public Address revisiting the Chinese-sounding-names debacle in 2015. It’s based on a talk between Brown, bFM reporter Jogai Bhatt and data journalist and former Herald reporter Harkanwal Singh. Singh was working at The Herald when the Chinese sounding names story was run and describes what went on and the problems with how The Herald handled the data and its own white cultural bias. There’s also a good explanation of what data journalism is and how/why it’s important.

Brown describes Singh’s commentary as “polite and pleasant and occasionally pretty brutal on issues of data and diversity”. I found Singh’s descriptions of the problems of having a team of journalists and editors that were predominantly white with only one Asian person particularly erudite (and no, he’s not saying that being white is bad, so please let’s not go there).

This is a difficult issue and set of dynamics for NZ. We have a serious problem with anti-Asian racism. To put it bluntly in the context of this post, if the left/progressives and NZ generally want to have meaningful conversations about migration and/or the housing crisis we need to learn how to do that without being racist. We’re not there yet, but it’s past time we made this a priority. One of the solutions is to listen to what Asian people in NZ have to say and pay attention.

Here’s the video of the talk, but please also read Brown’s post for context. Keith Ng’s post from 2015 is worth (re)reading too.

Moderator note: I’ll be moderating tightly in this thread. Please take note of the part of the Policy that talks about not using tone or language that has the effect of excluding others. The priorities here are to share the PA story and provide a space for discussion that is inclusive. Specifically generalisations about race or ethnicity will be moved and short bans issued where people are unable to make this an inclusive space. Considered comments are welcome. Please read Brown’s post and watch the 11 min video before commenting. 

249 comments on “Revisiting the Chinese-sounding-names story”

  1. Andre 1

    Let’s not forget a key point about this debacle: we don’t have good information about the citizenship and/or residency status of the ultimate beneficial owners of New Zealand property because the government refused to collect it. Even after the pressure built to the point where National felt they had to be seen to be doing something, the measures they introduced were the merest light once-over that does nothing to drill down to the real facts.

    As far as the “asian-sounding names” debacle goes, it looked to me like Rob Salmond really did do a good faith attempt to get a handle on how much “asian-sounding name” property buying activity was likely to be from recent foreign money versus citizens born here and permanent immigrants, given that the only data they had was fairly unreliable. I’m really disappointed that Keith Ng’s 2015 Public Address piece appeared to ignore the nuances of Salmond’s analysis and cherry-picked bits out of context in order to be able to shout “racist”.

    James Ting-Edwards’ comment at about number 11 in Brown’s Public Address piece does point to an alternative way to show there really was a problem with unexplained money flooding in. But it would do nothing to help identify where that money was coming from.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1

      it would do nothing to help identify where that money was coming from.

      We don’t need to know that though. As James Ting-Edwards says:

      That “magic money” came from somewhere, and is a legitimate domestic policy target regardless of its source in terms of countries, geopolitics, or cultural ties.

      The problem is the effect that “magic money” has on the domestic housing market. Not where the money originates. We know it can’t be explained by domestic borrowing.

      • Andre 1.1.1

        Seems to me where the money is coming from is still worth knowing.

        If money is flooding in from somewhere with a problematic culture with rampant kleptocracy and corruption, say Russia for instance, then I’ve got more concerns about it than if it’s coming from somewhere that the general cultural values are somewhat closer to ours, say Canada as an example.

        • tracey

          I do not know if this is relevant to the point about where the money comes from but I was put in mind of the Panama Papers and the tightening of rules by requiring an identifiable name and address. This resulted on only one third of those Trusts complying. Two thirds folded tents and left… Many ways to skin a cat when you know what you are targetting?

          I havent forgotten Key was dragged kicking and screaming to that change screaming ” we are not a tax haven”. Maybe not but that means those Trusts were used to hide something other than tax evasion cos off they scuttled.

          When the experts knew what they were looking at they were able to introduce a mechanism that saw to the problem.

          • Andre

            That’s certainly another good argument for collecting a lot more comprehensive information when large amounts of money are moving around.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            The mention of Canada and corruption got me thinking of Trudeau and the Paradise Papers.

            • simbit

              Canada very corrupt, at least my neck of the arboreal (Saskatchewan), and also a lot but racist than many would suspect. All very politely done of course…

              • What’s becoming clearer over time is that the West is very corrupt. Even nations with significant anti-corruption laws have significant corruption that’s never held to account. Take the rumours of the US Democratic Party apparently hiding sexual abuse claims so as to have the Clintons in power.

              • McFlock

                Starlight tours.
                It turned out that a recurring problem of Saskatoon first nations men going out into winter nights drunk and unprepared and freezing to death was actually the result of Saskatoon police officers ditching them in the wilderness in the middle of winter.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          However, while you’re sorting out the “corrupt” investments from the rest, and going through all the (years of) diplomatic and legal problems involved, the “magic money” is still distorting the domestic housing market.

        • D'Esterre

          Andre: “If money is flooding in from somewhere with a problematic culture with rampant kleptocracy and corruption, say Russia for instance….”

          Produce the evidence of this, if you would be so good. And not press reports quoting the opinions of “experts”, from the likes of NYT or WaPo. Or the BBC and other British outlets, come to that.

          And while you’re at it, similar evidence of Canada’s saintliness in this regard would be appreciated.I wasn’t aware that it was such an exemplar of virtue.

          Provenance may or may not be of moment, but it’s unwise to assume that money from polities which share our values (whatever that means) will always be from unexceptionable sources.

          • Andre

            If you really need to be educated about the parlous state of business and social culture in Russia, then you’re probably beyond any help I can give you. But here goes anyway; try googling something like russia kleptocracy examples


            which will bring up all kinds of things like this comment from Thomas Piketty


            or this from someone that got deeply involved in it until it became too personally hazardous


            With respect to Canada, my wording was “… general cultural values are somewhat closer to ours, say Canada as an example.” I didn’t say Canada was exemplar of saintliness. Nor would I assert New Zealand is exemplar of saintliness either, for that matter.

            • D'Esterre

              Andre: ” this from someone that got deeply involved in it until it became too personally hazardous”

              Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! The Magnitsky myth, huh? Surely you don’t believe that twaddle? I see your link and raise you this:

              Nothing you’ve posted here comes as a surprise. Once upon a time, I’d have swallowed that lot uncritically, too. But one too many pieces of propaganda of this sort – long on vituperation and short on actual evidence – pinged my bullshit antennae.

              Remember what happened to the Russian economy under that old lush Yeltsin’s dubious leadership: wholesale thievery on the part of the oligarchy, enthusiastically egged on and supported by the US neolibs. Remember, too, that Yeltsin won the 1996 presidential election only because the CIA rigged it for him.

              In the late 1990s,Yeltsin was persuaded to step down in favour of the little-known Putin, then PM. This move could be facetiously characterised as “a political transition process following consultations with key stakeholders”, spurred by widespread unhappiness over the wrecking of the economy under Yeltsin. Putin was subsequently elected president at the next election.

              The Yankees initially had no issue with Putin’s election. But they came to detest him, on account of he stood on their hands and prevented them stealing any more of Russia’s assets.

    • D'Esterre 1.2

      Andre: ” we don’t have good information about the citizenship and/or residency status of the ultimate beneficial owners of New Zealand property because the government refused to collect it.”

      Indeed. And it’s a problem that goes back a ways. As I recall, Twyford and Labour were trying to bring this issue out into the open: hence the “Chinese-sounding names” imbroglio.

      Twyford and Salmond got such data as they had from the real estate agency to which, in our Auckland days, we used to refer as Barefoot and Thompson. And that data showed buyers to be disproportionately Chinese. Up to that point, it was the closest we’d got to having anything more substantive than anecdote, as to who was active in the Auckland market.

      Of course, one could also infer this from the very large numbers of Chinese agents employed by the above agency, along with many other agencies. And many Aucklanders did infer just that.

  2. I think Labour was on a hiding to nothing with this. As you say, NZ has a problem with anti-Asian racism. Which then means that, if White people in Labour have reason to think there’s a recent flood of investment money from China that’s contributing to the Auckland property bubble, but the government isn’t capturing information that would confirm it yes or no, there aren’t really any ways of looking into it that don’t look like anti-Asian racism.

    Especially if the nation’s anti-Asian racists then start conflating NZ property purchases by Chinese residents with property purchases by NZ residents of Chinese ethnicity. Wholesale PR clusterfuck guaranteed.

    • Anne 2.1

      Especially if the nation’s anti-Asian racists then start conflating NZ property purchases by Chinese residents with property purchases by NZ residents of Chinese ethnicity. Wholesale PR clusterfuck guaranteed.

      Do you mean Chinese non-residents? Because most of them are… even if they had nominated/hired “NZ residents” to do the actual purchasing. There may not have been any data gathered by the Nat government (deliberate of course) but most Aucklanders knew it because they witnessed the scenes at auctions, or were living alongside properties that were being sold to absentee Chinese nationals. I am surrounded by such properties.

      Edit: one of those purchasers is a “NZ resident of Chinese origin” and he has every right to be there. No-one – I repeat no-one – I know has any quarrel whatsoever with Chinese NZer neighbours. The majority are excellent citizens.

      • tracey 2.1.1

        I am wary of what most people think they know. That is why we need data…

        • Anne

          We knew what was going on because we saw it. We were living among it. Many of us had direct experience of the consequences. It pissed me off. It pissed off a great many people. We were not being listened to. Finally the Nat. govt. was forced into taking action and hey presto… most of them disappeared.

          It doesn’t matter a hoot where they come from – Siberia, Lapland, Timbuktu – they can piss off if they think they can buy our land and then return from whence they came. Time someone also updated the latest on Peter Thiel.

          • tracey

            I also saw instances of it Anne but I could not tell you how many Pakeha were doing the same thing because of assumptions made that they represent themselves at auctions.

            I just think the “Asian” aspect is a huge red herring. James Cameron, Taylor Swift etc own HUGE tracts of land in NZ…

            • Draco T Bastard

              James Cameron, Taylor Swift etc own HUGE tracts of land in NZ…

              And they shouldn’t be allowed to. As simple as that.

              Of course, neither National nor Labour will even look at passing law that achieves that as they’re both still stuck with capitalism and the supposed free-market.

              • tracey

                I agree but they are not the focus of the angst of many of those opposing foreign ownership. The Chinese have that “honour”.

                • weka

                  They are in the rural SI 😉 Doesn’t carry the same kind of context though right?

                • D'Esterre

                  Tracey: ” but they are not the focus of the angst of many of those opposing foreign ownership. The Chinese have that “honour”.”

                  Nope. Many of us – not just South Islanders – are extremely concerned about this. We want it to stop. Now. But nobody asks us what we think…

            • mikes

              Sorry Tracey but if you ever attended the weekly Barfoot and Thompson residential property auctions in Manukau (The largest real estate auctions in the country I think) then you’d understand a bit better where Anne is coming from.

              I did attend almost every week and out of hundreds and hundreds of people there would literally be 10 or less Caucasians in the room, sometimes none at all. This is a simple fact based upon observation with my own eyes. It is not racist or anti Asian or anything else, simply an observation. (Sad that I feel I have to add that last sentence)

              • weka

                Well if I went to local auctions it would be full of Caucasians. Why is that not a problem? Genuinely curious.

                • greywarshark

                  wela Aren’t you being disingenuous?

                  My favourite story about sharp housing practice is the Indian who had looked at a relatives property and had details about it, and put them up on the net under his own business name, with a price rise already incorporated. The property was still for sale by my relatives, he hadn’t put any money, no deposit or anything, and had the blatant cheek to be competing against the agents who had the listing.

              • tracey

                How many of the Caucasians were not NZ residents mike?

          • Rosemary McDonald

            “We knew what was going on because we saw it. We were living among it. Many of us had direct experience of the consequences. It pissed me off.”

            Anne, it also pissed off and greatly concerned some in the real estate industry at the time.

            About a year before the 2015 ‘Chinese sounding names’ shitstorm I spent a few ‘waiting for a bite’ hours with a couple of real estate agents holidaying in the Far North. Their office was on the north shore, but they handled sales over the greater Auckland region.

            Business had been good. Very, very good. And while they and their clients were laughing all the way to the bank on the back of totally ridiculous house sale prices, there was growing concern within the industry that there was something not quite right about the sudden influx of seemingly unlimited funds from individuals from mainland China.

            Yes the market was competitive, but there came to be an expectation that no matter what was a realistic top bid on a property…there would be a buyer from mainland China who would bid higher…and often by tens of thousands more than the previous top bid, and win the auction. There seemed to no limit to the funds available.

            There was, for a while, an attitude (and there probably was a racist element to this) of an ‘if they’re dumb enough to pay those prices then why shouldn’t we exploit it’. This wore off, as it was noted that instead of these properties being rented out as used to be the norm with absent owners…because there was often a mortgage to repay …they were being bought with cash and left empty. (New Zealand having trying tenancy rules and frustrating minimum notice to evict regulations…made life difficult when the new owners were ready to develop.)

            On the whole, real estate agents are not stupid and they could see where this trend was heading and which groups were going to ultimately pay the greater price of rampantly upward residential property prices. Renters, and first home buyers. The real estate chains could also see that cashed up Jafas were taking their $$$ out to the provinces and enjoying(for a brief while) the thrill of also having enough cash to outbid the locals. And so it goes on. ( I have also spoken to some of those cashed up Jafas who moved to the provinces…they know now they contributed to their children and grandchildren being unable to buy a home…but at the time they were spooked by the narrative that retiring baby boomers were going to bankrupt the country and that they needed to fund their own retirement.)

            And while there was justified outrage at the lack of solid data to justify the claim that a sudden influx of seemingly limitless mainland Chinese dollars and a totally unregulated market were seriously skewing Auckland (and ultimately New Zealand wide) house prices (which was stupidly promulgated by Labour and shamelessly exploited by National)…there were good reasons for the panic button to be pushed that were temporarily lost when the brown stuff hit the fan.

            The real estate agents I was chatting to that day in 2014 told me that some in the industry were talking about advising the gummint there needed to be some sort of intervention toot sweet. Others in the industry (who were also very well aware that there had been a fundamental shift in the profile of buyers of Auckland residential properties and this could have a negative economic and social impact) argued against advising regulation saying the market would stabilize eventually.

            I wondered, when the shit storm hit in 2015 that provoked such distress, which group withing the real estate industry got the ear of the Labour Party. And ensure another three years of unfettered residential property sales.

            Machiavelli at play?

            • Anne

              Thanks for all that detail Rosemary McDonald. From my own knowledge and experience that’s seems to be what happened.

              The problem is, after the noisy howls of rage when Phil Twyford tried to get a “conversation” underway, I think Labour is doubly shy about bringing it up again. The Labour-led govt. has pledged to introduce legislation to halt the sale of property to off-shore buyers, but the devil will be in the detail. Let’s see what they come up with.

              • weka

                Noisy howls of rage about the racism. Let’s not forget that bit.

                “The Labour-led govt. has pledged to introduce legislation to halt the sale of property to off-shore buyers”

                Not quite. They’re going to restrict sales of existing residential housing stock. Residential, industrial and rural land will still be up for grabs. Which I think tells us some things about the values underpinning Labour’s position.

                • Anne

                  Lets see what they come up with.

                  • weka

                    I thought they’d already said. Is there something more to come? They intend to adjust the OIO handling of rural sales but nothing major from what I remember. Am I missing something?

                    • Macro

                      Yes weka – the problem with the OIO for rural sales has always been that it nothing but a rubber stamp. The rules are perfectly clear – land should not be sold off to foreign ownership unless it can be demonstrated that the new owners will make a significant improvement to its productivity. This has almost never been the case – indeed in my own experience – we sold a property just north of Auckland to a overseas buyer. To my knowledge they have never visited the property since its purchase in 2010 (the wife walked over it before they made the offer and the husband viewed it on google earth). I completed real estate exams and worked briefly as an agent in Auckland around 2000. I viewed the property earlier this year and it has been left to run down dreadfully.
                      When we sold the property my wife and I discussed this – should we accept the offer or accept a lower offer from a NZ buyer? If we rejected the higher offer from the Chinese buyers were we being racist? We did not know what their intentions were with respect to the land which we had cared for for 25 years, and from indications they could have further developed the wetlands and native plantings we had already begun. Had they wanted to sub-divide then under the district plan the only way that could be done was through a wetland of 2 hectares. It is still not clear why they bought the land as nothing has been done. Had the OIO rules been enforced that sale would not have proceeded. (the land was over 5 Hectares)
                      “Any other person or organisation must get consent to buy or lease certain types of land:

                      Rural land larger than 5 hectares”

                    • weka

                      the problem I have with Labour tinkering with the settings is that National can then just tinker them back the other way when next in power. Labour need to be doing something that changes the culture enough that by the time National are in again, NZ is protective of its legislation around land.

                      The rural land one is tricky because some overseas owners are doing a better job with the land than local ones. I can see better solutions to that than what we have now though.

              • Rosemary McDonald

                “The problem is, after the noisy howls of rage when Phil Twyford tried to get a “conversation” underway, I think Labour is doubly shy about bringing it up again.”

                Maybe that was the point of the exercise?

                Rates are tied to current property valuations which are set using sale prices…with massive expenditure required to meet costs of infrastructure to meet increase in population…there will be little will to see property valuations fall.

                Labour/NZF/Greens are going to have to come up with a fairly radical and innovative plan to make an edible omelette out of this pile of cracked eggs.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              The ethnic origin of the speculators is completely irrelevant to the economic and social consequences.

              When some dapper young fellow from Wall St. shorts our housing market, is that going to be any better?

              • mikes

                No it’s not going to be any better, but in this situation it wasn’t the ‘dapper young fellow from Wall St buying the houses… But I agree, the ethnic origin of the speculators is irrelevant. What is relevant is are they a NZ Citizen or permanent resident, are they a trust or company, are they an international student buying on behalf, etc.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  I’m not so sure.

                  Have a look at the graphs etc. Bill linked in comment 9.

                  The emergence of a disparity between housing stock value and domestic borrowing (starting in the mid-2000s) provides plenty of evidence without needing to assess the precise origin of the investments.

                  The dapper young fellow, by the way, borrows the property portfolio, sells as the market falls, waits for it to reach a sufficiently low value, then buys the assets back, hands them back to the owner with an appropriate cut, and keeps the difference.

                  At least, that’s my blundering understanding of “shorting” a market.

        • CLEANGREEN

          yes tracey is right because I was in Kenya when the chinese flood came there, and inside two years kenya had been taken over by chinese bussiness that killed off tradional business operated by the indigenous kenyans.

          Beware the flood of asian migrants if the data cannot identify what is happening here..

          • weka

            See, this is the problem I have. Why are you concerned about Asian migrants and not all the others? When you focus on people migrating here from Asia you make the conversation about race and ethnicity and that has negative consequences for people, including NZers.

            • mikes

              Weka, Cleangreen in their comment should have stated Chinese rather than Asian in their last sentence for sure. An honest mistake maybe / hopefully? Assuming Chinese was the intended word, that makes sense as it was Chinese interests that Cleangreen observed in Kenya.

              • weka

                I would have asked the same thing if they’d said Chinese. Why are you concerned about Chinese migrants and not the others?

                “Assuming Chinese was the intended word, that makes sense as it was Chinese interests that Cleangreen observed in Kenya.”

                I just don’t see how you can focus on that as if there aren’t people from all sorts of nationalities causing problems, unless you want to make it about specific ethnicities.

    • tracey 2.2

      For me, if the issue is foreign buyers, where they all come from is irrelevant in terms of making it about “Asians”. To that end we collect data on the basis of foreign buying, do not divide it into nations, and then act on the data. This will only be a problem if there are some foreign buyers we are happy with and others we are not and there is a clear divide down country lines. But that is revealling too.

      • Psycho Milt 2.2.1

        That’s fine in theory, but if the sources of foreign buyers are suddenly increased by a population of a billion people whose government gives them compelling reasons to want to move their money offshore, that’s one hell of a point source for the influx of money. It is of course possible to identify such a point source and make it a priority target for investigation without reference to the ethnicity of the billion people involved, but in an environment of anti-Chinese racism that’s a big ask.

        • weka

          Why would you need to though? Why not simply take a position of to own land in NZ you have to have to be a citizen or have residency?

          I’m not even sure we need data to do that, because its a sovereignty issue, but if we do need data to make a case for better legislation then why does it need to be about one country?

          • tracey

            This ^^^^

            decide what our position is and then formulate from that. Otherwise, it appears we are legislating to stop the Chinese from buying and why is that worse than any other foreigner buyer? New Zealand Company anyone?

          • Psycho Milt

            Oh, sure – my ideal solution would be that we ban foreign ownership outright because it’s not in our interest. But the “Chinese names” thing was in the context of foreign ownership being permitted but there being reason to suspect it had increased rapidly due to Chinese capital. For sure it’s better not to have that context to start with.

          • Pat

            “I’m not even sure we need data to do that, because its a sovereignty issue, but if we do need data to make a case for better legislation then why does it need to be about one country?”
            I can answer that from my position ( dont claim to speak for anyone else.)

            There are two main reasons why Chinese non resident investment is of great concern…..
            1) the sheer volume available to invest

            2) the drivers for that investment

            While we should measure and monitor where all DFI comes from and ends up in the absence of that data observation /empirical analysis led to the conclussion that the likely main source was mainland China.
            Unfortunately return on investment was not the main driver,rather securing accessible funds outside the reach of the Gov and doing so before restriction, this is not necessarily so for investors from other jurisdictions.


            We could indeed impose a blanket ban on all DFI but that would have major repercussions for the entire economy so a measured and targeted response based on reliable data to achieve the desired outcome, which is a market that is supported by (and largely for) the local economic drivers.

            None of that has anything to do with race or ethnicity.

        • tracey

          “but if the sources of foreign buyers are suddenly increased by a population of a billion people whose government gives them compelling reasons to want to move their money offshore, that’s one hell of a point source for the influx of money.”

          So it is not foreigners buying land in NZ that is an issue but the numbers of them buying land? Is that what you are saying? The problem with that is if you don’t notice a trickle, your carpet has to rot before you know the floorboards are damaged.

          What is the policy? Foreign ownership or not? What are the exceptions if any are required? How are those targetted?

        • mikes

          How can you have “anti Chinese racism” ?? The Chinese are simply people from China, not some separate Asian race, so you’d have to call it anti Asian racism or maybe anti Chinese sentiment?

          • weka

            racism refers to ethnicity and nationality. I suggest you start listening to Chinese people if you want to get up to speed on what kinds of racism they experience.

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    Harkanwal Singh provides valuable insight into how media bias works, although he makes his old colleagues out to be more blunderers than connivers.

    cf: the witless stupidity of whoever made the comment about integration.

  4. Pat 4

    Good post and links. Andre’s note re James Ting Edwards comment was informative and 2 years on still needs answering but I would suggest that IF that was the only approach taken to the issue the public interest wouldnt have occured….does that justify Labour’s or the Herald’s approach?…certainly not, but the question still needs answering.

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    We have almost 3 billion people from this region of the world spread across 20,000km and indeed globally, why do we still lump them all under the meaninglessly broad umbrella term “Asian”? We might as well go back to calling the entire region “The Orient” at this rate.

    People that one might consider as “Asians” almost never ever self-identify as “Asian.” They strongly identify as say, Taiwanese, Korean, Japanese, Singaporean, Thai, etc. and generally don’t ever want to be mixed up with being a member of another group. At most they might occasionally self-describe the entire geographic region that they are in as “Asia” but that’s about it.

    “Asian” is a generic label that white skins apply to others which does not recognise the true diverse identity of the region and the people.

    • I agree. Offensive term steeped in horrible history. I refuse to use the term Asian unless I have too.

    • tracey 5.2

      Great point CV.

    • Meh. “White people” and variants thereof also refer to a range of ethnicities, none of which would self-identify as “White” ahead of French, Australian, Czech or whatever. Everyone knows who we’re talking about when we say Whitey though, for all that the term “does not recognise the true diversity” of the people being referred to.

    • Bill 5.4

      Just like “European” doesn’t recognise the true diverse identity of the region and the people then?

      It’s a rough but useful, geographically based sign-post.

      • Colonial Viper 5.4.1

        Useful for what purposes exactly?

        The English, French, Germans and Italians at least share an alphabet. The Vietnamese, Koreans, Chinese and Japanese do not.

        • Bill

          For discerning geographical origin or location. (I’d have thought that was patently obvious from my previous comment)

          • Colonial Viper

            Discerning geographical location across 6 or 7 time zones anywhere from say Mumbai to Islamabad to Ho Chi Minh to Shenzhen to Kyoto?

            Yes, that’s very useful, like saying someone is “African” is useful in describing their geographical origin or location.

        • marty mars

          Yep it is 1984ish grouping that is pretty meaningless imo.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.5

      White skins is a generic label that CV applies to others 🙄

      • weka 5.5.1

        Obvious from his comment. What are you rolling your eyes at?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          The use of generic terms that don’t recognise diversity.

          • weka

            You object to the use of the term white?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              See Bill’s comment at 10 regarding the diversity represented by the term. I don’t object to it per se, but It’s a bit rich coming from the guy who was just paying lip service to said diversity in other groups.

              • weka

                Sure, but then I don’t think white people being called white is equivalent to calling people from countries in Asia ‘Asian’. So I’m still not quite sure if you are trying to make a point or just have a go at CV for something.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  The outcomes might be different, the sentiments are the same.

                  • weka

                    No idea what that means, and in the absence of you being willing to clear it up, I’ll take that to mean you were having a go at CV and next time I’ll just moderate directly.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Of course I’m willing to clear it up.

                      The “outcomes” refer to the effects of racism on its targets, the “sentiments” refer to whatever’s going on in the minds of the racists.

                      If I’m “having a go” at anything (as distinct from any person), it’s the absurdity of objecting to a generic label, then turning round and employing one in the next sentence.

                    • Tim

                      In general I think people get way too highly strung about this sort of thing. I’m a little bit in two minds about it though.

                      If you’re just describing someone based on their appearance then I think saying someone looked Asian or European or African or Pacific Islander or describing their skin colour is fine… In the same way you might describe hair colour/style or eye colour.

                      Because in general I think you can pick people with that ancestry/skin colour etc. etc. somewhat accurately just from appearance (obviously it’s not completely accurate). It’s true that a Korean person (or probably any Asian person) can much more easily tell you if someone looked Korean rather than Thai but for people who aren’t as familiar with those groups it’s much harder. And should we just accept that some people aren’t as familiar with some groups and instead of stigmatise them try and educate them/get on with them rather than brand them racist?

                      But for describing anything in more in depth like trying to describe why things are the way they are or generalise a group of people then obviously terms like Asian and European and African and Indian aren’t going to really cut it.

                      Also for what it’s worth I think the discussion about Chinese sounding names was important because it gave voice to concerns a lot of people had about NZ (Auckland in particular) losing its distinct identity and culture with the influx of money/people from overseas. Probably helped lead to reducing immigration which will be good for housing too.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Oh, and ahem…

    • mikes 5.6

      You could say the same about the term ‘European’. White people get called Europeans even if they’ve never left the Southern Hemisphere..

  6. Awesome analysis. The microclimates for racism are everywhere including newsrooms, including here.

    The Asian sounding names bullshit is a black mark for labour imo and as Harkanwal states it achieved the goal. The alternative commentary aroun d this issue has been outstanding – shows the quality of our anti racist journalists.

    • NewsFlash 6.1

      It did initiate a discussion in the Govt at the time when it refused to anything at all, the reality was the there was a high degree of accuracy in the presumption

      NZ has had the fastest house price growth in the world, twice that of Australia, the nearest competitor, the bottom of that list is Japan and Germany, which are almost stagnant, no prizes for guessing why that is.

      A roof over your head is probably THE MOST important thing in every bodies life except perhaps food, no country should allow the level of SPECULATION that occurred, there will long term problems to resolve to correct this HUGE mistake.

  7. patricia bremner 7

    China was concerned about money leaving China because some was from their own criminal element laundering cash.

    Labour were clumbsy, not racist.

    National played the three monkeys. Hear no evil. etc.

    Our banking system will accept anyone’s money by and large and that should change.

    The panama papers have taught us that people are always looking for loopholes to exploit.

    Governments should be protecting their populations from this, not turning a blind eye while some get rich and others can’t compete for finite goods.

    If authorities can check your ‘phone and email, they can check bank drafts or bank accounts.

    It is the will to do it of course. If they are benefiting from a rising tide… What tide?

    J.K. made 21 million selling in a bloated market.

  8. savenz 8

    Independent of any ethnicity there is a major problem with ‘demand’ on houses and social services and lowering in real terms of wages in NZ.

    It used to be completely normal for responsible government to have a strong immigration criteria so that it did not impact negatively on citizens of the country. Labour used to have language tests for example.

    Under neoliberalism it is now the trend to import/export people in order to increase profits and avoid local training.

    This impacts on housing and social services and creates a Ponzi scheme because the migrants I know face the same problems with low wages, high cost of living and it then (once gaining residency and citizenship) leave NZ to get better conditions.

    The flow on from this is also other countries are becoming sick and tired of newly minted NZ citizens using the hard won fairly open visa requirements for existing NZ citizens and residents and are closing them off for everyone. Now Kiwis can’t even work overseas themselves to seek better wages and conditions while newly minted citizens have their second passport to fall back on. They also often have access to lower interest rates or family money when buying property.

    Neoliberalism is misusing immigration to the point where it’s going the opposite way and creating the closing off of countries.

    If you don’t protect citizens rights you will start getting social disorder, Trump, Brexit, rise in Germany.

    Going on about racism out of context and pretending immigration is not an issue, is going to do the opposite. Whether you are a USA in China or a Chinese in USA you will probably feel discriminated against.

    Pretty much everyone is a migrant and started out somewhere else, but in NZ immigration has been used in a deliberate way to give a short term boost of money and keep the government in power, while not increasing productivity, not increasing training and experience levels in the locals and leaving much greater problems and ultimately less wealth and on our way to becoming a banana republic.

    NZ’ers are very tolerant and welcoming for the most part, but if you start marginalising your own citizens in favour of cheaper, richer, more experienced ones then what is the long term plan for the existing ones? The trickle down myth?

    • Ed 8.1

      ‘‘The trickle down myth?’

      The trickle down lie.

    • tracey 8.2

      Importation of migrants is to keep wages low.

    • tracey 8.3

      “NZ’ers are very tolerant and welcoming for the most part,” I think this may be a myth too… scratch the surface…

    • weka 8.4

      “Going on about racism out of context and pretending immigration is not an issue, is going to do the opposite.”

      Not sure what you mean there. How is the post talking about racism out of context? Or where is someone else doing that?

      I’m not shy about wanting better controls on immigration, so you can use me as an example of someone who thinks we have serious problems around that and who also pushes back against racism. They’re not mutually exclusive, which is why I’m moderating the thread tightly and pointing out that we can’t talk about migration if we don’t address racism. They’re hand in hand.

  9. Bill 9

    David Hood also has a good piece on Public Address from 2015 showing that, whereas a country’s household debt usually matches house value, there is a a 300 billion dollar gap in the case of NZ.

    And as the article points out, given that 300 billion is apparently coming from elsewhere, building houses won’t really do much good because the demand side of the housing market is unknown if the market’s open to overseas buyers.

    I guess that may be getting dealt with if the governments recent legislation on overseas buyers actually works in the way we’ve been told it will.

    Anyway. many of the comments below the article are also worth a read.

    • That’s what always pissed me off about National’s approach of “Oh we just need to gut the RMA so more houses get built and demand will be satisfied.” If the population able to buy NZ property is the entire planet, level of demand is an unknown quantity but can be assumed incapable of being filled by building a few more houses.

      • Bill 9.1.1

        I think there’s a reasonable idea of how many rental houses are required mind.

        But then, that’s not “the Kiwi dream” or some-such.

      • And that is why foreign ownership needs to be banned. Not restricted, banned.

        I’m pretty sure that the majority of people actually want that but the government won’t do it. Instead, they’ll sign us up to the TPPA and make things ever worse for the majority of people living in NZ.

      • tracey 9.1.3

        National was never interested in the demand side of the argument of supply and demand. It could have influenced demand but chose instead to fuel the market with more houses for the wealthy. I use that term specifically cos most homes being built are not int he ludicrously high “affordable bracket”. National has always favoured developers. Why else exclude them from personal liability in the wake of the leaky homes? Just builders and Designers got that. So, as the post-earthquake problems arise, builders in the gun again, but not developers holding the purse strings and driving the building decisions.

        Any excuse to make the Resource Management Act, the Developers Philanthropy Act.

        • Descendant Of Sssmith

          “National was never interested in the demand side of the argument of supply and demand.”

          Nah they were very interested in it – they were well aware of the dampening effect of state housing on demand and so proceeded to reduce the number of houses to increase demand for private ones, they were well aware that increased immigration would increase demand and drive both demand for rentals and for buying homes up, they knew well that removing stamp duty and lowering personal tax rates for the well off would mean they could pay more for houses on the market, they knew incentives to landlords through the tax system and the denial of such support for council housing would start to have councils start to look at whether they could afford to keep council housing and many didn’t, they knew the persistence they had in conveying ideologically driven ideas about councils should only do rates, rubbish and sewerage and the election of citrats to councils would also push toward councils reducing housing.

          All these thing, each and everyone was designed in increase demand. They are not stupid they know exactly what increased demand brings.

  10. Bill 10

    For a long time I’ve felt that a fair bit of racism in NZ is linked to it* being a dominant culture.

    Often enough I’ve heard how Maori are just whiners and complainers and how they are advantaged in comparison to others.

    That very much accords with the attitude of many English people when referring to the Irish, Scottish and Welsh.

    And those same English people, just like many Kiwis, genuinely just don’t “get it” when their stuff is pointed out to them.

    And yes, the British context ‘merely’ contains bigotry and discrimination seeing as how most Irish, Scottish and Welsh can walk down a street and their origins are invisible…until they open their mouths 😉

    *pakeha NZ

  11. DH 11

    I find the term ‘racist’ a little too overused. It’s often helpful to refer back to its definition;

    “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.”

    Now for Labour’s Chinese name issue to be racist there would need to be some evidence, or at least some indications, that the (Caucasian) authors of it thought they were superior to Chinese. Was that evidence evident?

    I’m not convinced NZ has serious racism problems. I see it more about culturalism; people reacting to others who behave differently than them. We all practice that to one degree or another, even within our own race.

    • Bill 11.1

      Well. Should we begin with the history of racially motivated and informed colonialism?

      The dominant culture (or whatever) doesn’t get to just put that aside as though it didn’t happen. And whether you can acknowledge it or not, the legacy of colonialism continues to impact on people from whatever side of the divide – shaping perceptions and opinions on a multitude of levels.

      edit – see my comment here that signposts some parallels.

      • DH 11.1.1

        I don’t think so Bill. I think we should begin with the definition of racism. Colonialism is a different word with its own meaning.

        • weka

          I agree having a shared understanding of what racism is is important and a good starting point. Most people doing anti-racism work use a broader definition than the one you quoted above.

          I also think any working definition of racism needs to be cognisant of the views of people being affected by racism not just from those who are of the dominant culture or who react badly to being called racist (which is how many conversations here go).

          • tracey

            The UN has opted to include race and ethnicity together.

            I think DH’s definition is from wikipedia. However I think racism is far more nuanced than their definition allowed.

        • Bill

          I am naturally biologically superior, and that justifies my colonisation of you, your culture, your land and whatever else that I determine my biological superiority entitles me to.

          That separated out enough for you?

    • weka 11.2

      “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.”

      Not sure where that definition is from, but it’s a fairly narrow one in terms of contemporary understandings about racism. Racism isn’t just personal, it’s also institutional and systemic.

      There is no such thing as race, so I agree that culture and ethnicity are the core issues, but racism is the term we know and use.

      “Now for Labour’s Chinese name issue to be racist there would need to be some evidence, or at least some indications, that the (Caucasian) authors of it thought they were superior to Chinese. Was that evidence evident?”

      Not necessarily. Racism can be institutional and systemic. It can also be unconscious. Racism isn’t only an individual thinking that the person they see with a different skin colour is less than themselves. It covers a whole range of the ways in which people are treated because of their ethnicity/culture.

      So for instance, I have have no idea whether those in Labour involved in that issue were personally racist or acting in an institutionally racist way, or both. That is something Labour should be looking at. Likewise the Herald. The rest of NZ needs to get its head around that stuff too. But rather than looking at what Goff and co were thinking or believing (who would know?) how about we look at their behaviour and how it impacted on people.

      If we want to understand racism in that context we need to listen to people from the ethnicities being affected. They’re pointing to some glaring problems. In this post, it was how Labour used the data despited being told there were problems with it, and it was how the Herald was unable to understand its own white bias despite having a very skilled data journalist on board who was able to bring the non-dominant culture perspective.

      Had Labour consulted anyone skilled in anti-racism work the issues would have been pointed out. It beggars belief that in this point in our history Labour didn’t do that. At the very least that is racism by neglect and willful ignorance.

      • DH 11.2.1

        It’s called a dictionary weka 🙂

        Seriously, that’s where we need to start from when making accusations of racism and other such terms.

        “Not necessarily. Racism can be institutional and systemic. It can also be unconscious. Racism isn’t only an individual thinking that the person they see with a different skin colour is less than themselves. It covers a whole range of the ways in which people are treated because of their ethnicity/culture. ”

        For it it be systemic the majority in the dominant race group would need to be racists. We’re not the old South Africa, we don’t have apartheid here or anything remotely resembling it.

        Btw you need to remove /culture. Racism is about race, not culture.

        “Had Labour consulted anyone skilled in anti-racism work the issues would have been pointed out. It beggars belief that in this point in our history Labour didn’t do that. At the very least that is racism by neglect and willful ignorance.”

        No offence weka but that’s pretty darned pompous. When someone can show Twyford believes himself to be superior to Chinese then you can call him racist. Until then his accusers are false accusers.

        • weka

          “Seriously, that’s where we need to start from when making accusations of racism and other such terms.”

          Why? Why not use definitions developed by people who work in the area?

          “For it it be systemic the majority in the dominant race group would need to be racists. We’re not the old South Africa, we don’t have apartheid here or anything remotely resembling it.”

          Well NZ’s systems were built by racists, so it follows that we need to change them.

          “Racism is about race, not culture.”

          There is no such thing as race in the way you imply. Homo sapiens, one ‘race’.

          “No offence weka but that’s pretty darned pompous. When someone can show Twyford believes himself to be superior to Chinese then you can call him racist. Until then his accusers are false accusers.”

          I have no idea about any of the Labour people involved and whether they are personally racist. You already know that I am using a definition of racism that includes systemic. Labour were institutionally racist, it’s not that hard to demonstrate a number of ways in which that was true, but given you want to work within a very narrow definition of racism there doesn’t seem much point in doing so.

          • DH

            “Why? Why not use definitions developed by people who work in the area?

            Are you winding me up weka? It’s a word with a defined meaning and the only definition for it is the literal one. Anyone who defines it differently has no credibility.

            • weka

              That strikes me as a self-serving argument.

              In the real world (as opposed to the abstract world of a dictionary) racism has a range of meaning that can’t be adequately addressed by semantics.

              • DH

                I don’t get your point there. You seem to be saying that if an action doesn’t fit the definition then you alter the definition to fit the action.

                Yours is the self-serving argument is it not?

                • weka

                  I’m saying that people have experienced and observed racism in lots of ways over considerable time and developed broader definitions than the dictionary one you quoted. I’m further saying that those broader definitions are more useful because they’re based on real world experience and analysis, not abstract thought.

                  “Yours is the self-serving argument is it not?”

                  Probably, but seeing as how my argument is an anti-racism one I think it’s moot whether it serves me or not.

                  • DH

                    You do know where you’re going with that linee don’t you?

                    “What is racism?”

                    “Racism is whatever I say it is.”

                    • weka

                      No, I’m really not. I’m going with ‘racism is a range of things as experienced by people on the receiving end of it who have developed analyses and politics and ways of explaining it over long periods of time, and also people who don’t experience racism but recognise and observe it and feel an ethical duty to do anti-racism work and have likewise developed definitions and analyses from those experiences and from listening to the people in the first group’.

                      In other words, racism is what experts in the field say it is. I have no idea who wrote your dictionary, but their definition is inadequate to the task of talking about racism and addressing it.

                    • DH

                      Time to call it a draw?

          • Tim

            Weka don’t you think it’s important to draw a firm line between ethnicity and culture? To lump them together can cause a big problem because obviously some cultures are different than others in important ways – for example it might be in many circumstances entirely reasonable to argue that another culture is inferior (arguing humanists have a better culture than those who worship Charles Manson or engage in cannibalism) but to argue another ethnicity is inferior seems slightly ridiculous, superficial and petty.

            Also one of the reasons I wouldn’t always be comfortable using the definitions of the people who work in the area is that they have a vested interest in it – their livelihood and sense of worth depends on it.

        • tracey

          Why is your definition the definitive one? You do not get to determine the parameters of the debate by making people stick to your chosen definition and interpretation thereof?

          “For it it be systemic the majority in the dominant race group would need to be racists. ” Er no. It needs to be a view held by those wielding the power to make things systemic or change them. e.g. British in NZ in 1840 were 1% of the population but oversaw legislation that was, racist.

          • DH

            It’s not my definition tracey.

            • tracey

              It is “a” definition DH not “the” definition as you based your assumption on.

              • mikes

                It’s ‘the’ definition from all of the recognized and accepted (Western) dictionaries. You can define it however you like, but the vast majority of people accept the definition given in volumes such as ‘The Oxford English Dictionary’ , ‘Mirriam Webster’ , etc, etc.

                In terms of what most people understand racism to mean, contrary to what you believe, it is ‘the’ definition.

                • weka

                  You can assert that all you like, but the evidence suggests otherwise.


                  Institutional racism (also known as structural racism, state racism or systemic racism) is racial discrimination by governments, corporations, religions, or educational institutions or other large organizations with the power to influence the lives of many individuals. Stokely Carmichael is credited for coining the phrase institutional racism in the late 1960s. He defined the term as “the collective failure of an organization to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin”.[56]


                  You can of course choose to ignore the broader definitions, but you don’t get to define what racism is because you have access to a dictionary. To do so means you deny a whole range of experiences of racism.

                  • Bill


                    Social Darwinism claimed there existed genetically distinct populations of individuals within the same species – ie, races within the human species.

                    Is there structural and institutional racism today? Yes. Absolutely.

                    And discrimination can take place between any two cultures, ethnicities and/or their institutions etc.

                    But a cursory glance at history and the theories of race (eg – Social Darwinism) that informed much of colonisation gives a hint as to why racism has a very specific location and meaning. It’s impact continues to this day, but can’t be just applied to any ethnic or religious or whatever instance of discrimination.

                    • weka

                      I don’t feel qualified to have an opinion about whether racism for instance exists in China between different ethnicities, but I can’t see any compelling reason why it doesn’t. That Western heritage racism exists doesn’t mean that other racisms don’t.

                      It’s also my values that people who are discriminated against get to set the parameters on what that means, so as a Pākehā I’m going to take my cues from other people about their own ethnicity and what racism that comes with that. The theoretical aspect you are talking about is interesting and pertinent but as I’ve said elsewhere I don’t see how it can be definitive on it own.

                      What would be an instance of discrimination against someone on the basis of ethnicity that isn’t racism? (still not quite following you there).

                    • Bill

                      Unless there is or was a doctrine or philosophy underpinning a claim to superiority being determined by biology, then there isn’t racism.

                      That claim (to be biologically superior) has never, to my knowledge, been made by any other ethnic or cultural grouping.

                      That doesn’t lessen or diminish anyone’s oppression, whether its roots be political, ethnic or whatever else. In fact if anything, it compels us to investigate underlying causes and factors in lieu of casually throwing it in a box marked “racist”.

                      On the flip side (as I suggested elsewhere), broadening the definition of racism beyond its biological roots and applying it to other times, peoples and places, dilutes, diminishes and/or denies the nature of racism and its place in history, and by extension smudges understandings of colonialism and liberal capitalism.

                    • weka

                      I still don’t know what you mean by oppression because of ethnicity that isn’t racism. Can you please give some examples?

                    • Bill

                      Ethnicity isn’t biological.

                      Claims to ethnic or cultural or religious superiority aren’t based on pseudo-scientific claims about biology.

                      Racism is a theory about biological superiority and the construction of biologically determined hierarchies.

                      So European settlers shooting Aborigines because Aborigines were considered to be biologically inferior was racist.

                      The ethnic cleansing in Rwanda of Tutsi by Hutu wasn’t, as there was no claim to inherent biological superiority.

                      And so it goes.

                      Because of the roots of racism, only white people/institutions were racist and only white people/institutions can be racist. Any move (however well intentioned) to bring others into that camp is essentially assimilationist and dilutes and/or denies the central tenet of what racism is or was and the role it has played.

          • mikes

            Yes, that was in 1840. There is no systemic racism in 2017 New Zealand. I challenge you to show me one piece of current legislation that is racist. You won’t be able to. Hey, that’s a good thing right? We’ve managed to completely rid ourselves of systemic racism.

            [I made it pretty clear in the post that there would be a low tolerance for comments that used tone or language that has the effect of excluding others. Repeatedly posting assertions that deny the existence of systemic and institutional racism, or that try to define racism against the evidence, and thus deny the experiences of a great many people, crosses the line. If you want to stay in this debate you need to start making arguments rather than mere assertions, and to save us all a lot of trouble you need to back up what you are saying with evidence – weka]

            • weka

              Foreshore and Seabed Act, which literally removed the rights of Māori to access the courts. But systemic racism doesn’t have to be backed up legislation. Policy, culture and social attitudes often suffice.

            • weka

              please see mod note above.

        • tracey

          If he wasn’t being racist, Twyford would have said, “all foreign buyers are a problem,”” But labour didn’t they focussed very closely on people with Chinese names

          • DH

            Honestly? I don’t know the man, for all I know he might be a closet aryan, but I took it at face value which was an attempt to discover the true level of foreign buyers of housing in NZ.

            I daresay he ‘focussed’ on Chinese because they were the names you’d be able to identify as being (possibly) foreign. Aussie & European, Yank etc names largely sound like locals so the data wouldn’t have any means of identifying possible foreign buyers from those countries.

            At the time National were refusing to release data on foreign buyers so Labour had to do their own research and make do with what they could find. Who is really at fault there, Labour or National?

            • weka

              in other words Labour chose Chinese sounding names intentionally, and that led to another round of anti-Chinese discussions and debate in NZ.

              National is responsible for its own actions, not those of Labour.

              Have you read the post, Brown’s post and watched the video? Because it’s pretty clear that Labour were told there were problems with the data they were using and they chose to ignore that. The Herald too.

              • DH

                Yeah I’ve read it and watched the video, wouldn’t be commenting here if I hadn’t.

                I didn’t disagree that Labours Chinese names affair wasn’t stupid. But stupidity doesn’t assume racism… it’s often just plain stupidity.

          • NewsFlash

            But they did just happen to represent 40% of all buyers, new citizens or not.

          • mikes

            That’s because it was perfectly clear to anyone without blinkers on that the majority of the foreign buyers at auctions were of Chinese descent. Be an ostrich all you want, but observable fact are observable facts, whether they hurt your feelings or not.

            [Tracey didn’t say anything about her feelings. Please don’t make shit up, and lift your game if you want to stay in this debate – weka]

            • weka

              Why does being of Chinese descent matter? Wouldn’t the issue be whether one was a NZ resident/citizen or not?

            • mikes

              Point taken.

              Sorry Tracey, my bad. ‘hurt your feelings’ should have been ‘fit in with your views on the matter’ or something along those lines. Ironically, I could have been letting my feelings (emotions) at the time of writing have more influence on me than they should have had…

    • tracey 11.3

      So why not target all foreign buyers? Cos some of them have similar names to “us” so we can’t tell? Lazy and mischievous at best, racism at worst. You also need to add context to your definition, Labour’s place in the polls

      “14. We recognize that colonialism has led to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and that Africans and people of African descent, and people of Asian descent and indigenous peoples were victims of colonialism and continue to be victims of its consequences. We acknowledge the suffering caused by colonialism and affirm that, wherever and whenever it occurred, it must be condemned and its reoccurrence prevented. We further regret that the effects and persistence of these structures and practices have been among the factors contributing to lasting social and economic inequalities in many parts of the world today;

      16. We recognize that xenophobia against non-nationals, particularly migrants,
      refugees and asylum-seekers, constitutes one of the main sources of contemporary
      racism and that human rights violations against members of such groups occur widely in the context of discriminatory, xenophobic and racist practices;

      It seems to me if the only foreign buyers being discussed or against whom some fear is held, are Chinese, then that is racism.

      • DH 11.3.1

        Tracey it wasn’t racist in the slightest. The real concern was that it might foment dark thoughts in those pre-inclined to be racist. I guess it’s a valid concern but I found it a bit patronising.

        • tracey

          So, Labour’s concern was not to show foreign buyers are a problem and they decided to focus on chinese looking names to do it? Not racist you say, just stupid?

          • weka

            Personally I’m going for stupid, institutionally racist, and a mix of unconsciously racist and outright racist amongst the individuals. Just like NZ at large. I also expect that there are people within Labour who thought it was a bad idea. I really hope there are people within Labour who also understood in what ways it was racist.

            • Tim

              Okay Weka I’m not sure if you’ll answer this since it’s not directly about the Chinese sounding names debate, but it would be helpful to me to know this..

              Do you think individually on average NZ Europeans are more racist than Maori, Pacific, Indian or Chinese people in NZ? Not focusing so much on institutional stuff here, just individual racism/beliefs/prejudices.

        • weka

          “The real concern was that it might foment dark thoughts in those pre-inclined to be racist. I guess it’s a valid concern but I found it a bit patronising.”

          And yet when you listen to Chinese people in NZ, they say that it affected them.

      • mikes 11.3.2

        ‘colonialism ust be condemned..’

        FFS.. Sure, there were wrongdoings due to colonialism, that needed to be and some still need to be, put right. But to say it must be condemned whenever and wherever it occured is ridiculous. Without colonization our great little country wouldn’t even be here today in any form other than that of stone age tribes surviving a best they can.

        To condemn everything about colonialism is to condemn our own existence.

        Believe it or not colonialism bought some good things (way more than bad) with it as well… Like…. the wheel, s an obvious example. No offense intended but I would call you ungrateful.

        [please stop and read the moderations. There is almost no tolerance in this thread for personalising comments. For obvious reasons (see note in the Post). Putting you in moderation until I see a response to this note here now – weka]

        • Matthew Whitehead

          Colonialism isn’t the same thing as coming to New Zealand intending to genuinely abide by the Treaty, or being a descendent of those who engaged in colonialist behaviour but wanting to do better and honour the principles of the Treaty that give people like me a right to be here, Mikes.

          It is a system in which we (that may include many indigenous people, too) assume that the things societies originating from Europe did well in (such as technology, as per your example) are more valuable than the things indigenous societies they were colonizing did well at, such as Kaitiakitanga, (stewardship/guardianship) the feeling of being connected to the local land, and ecological wisdom, when they are not necessarily so. (despite making their way to NZ by boat, Māori introduced less invasive species than Pākehā and have a better record at protecting indigenous species, with only one perhaps hunted to extinction before our the arrival of people we’d nowadays call Tangata Tiriti)

          It is a system in which we assume colonial forms of governance and society were inherently superior, (despite the failing of early colonial governance in New Zealand) and ignore the positives of the existing social structures. Opposing colonialism doesn’t mean that we have to chuck out or dismiss the value of everything we brought with us when our ancestors immigrated to NZ, or abolish Parliament in favour of appointing new local chiefs. But it does mean we need to be open to re-assessing our attitudes from perspectives that aren’t centred in european social norms, and that we should make an effort not to participate in structures of racism, and we have to be willing to do work that positively engages with the social conventions, history, and values of Māori and other pacific people in the context of New Zealand, or native peoples around the world in a more general context.

          • weka

            That is very good.

            Which makes me think about how the Brits could have come here in a non-colonial way. Has that ever happened?

    • The definition isn’t helpful because “racist” is often used as an informal contraction for “racial discrimination”.

      Regardless of whether or not you are convinced, New Zealand has well documented substantive racism.

    • savenz 11.5

      exactly DH – I’m not sure that many people think that their race is superior in NZ. They are not racist.

      Discrimination is different but can be used positively. Such as having places for Maori on courses or helping local communities keep jobs.

      Trade deals like TPPA think that positive discrimination is bad – mostly because in a world without positive discrimination the rich and powerful have the massive advantage and then the whole world is their oyster to exploit.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 11.5.1

        I think the majority of us exhibit racist behaviour from time to time and we’re too proud to admit it. “Not being as bad as Kyle Chapman” isn’t much of an aspiration.

      • tracey 11.5.2

        I think people who are so convinced they are not racist might just be.

  12. Fang Zhou 12

    It is a long time since I have posted here, as I got sick of the racist and even worst, the unbelievably ignorant comments on ‘Asians’ and Chinese and China. I am Chinese. I have been here over 10 years.

    China is maybe the worse colonial power on earth today. Xinjiang. Xizang. The autonomous areas. These people are ruled over by the Community Party and Han Zu (which I am). They speak languages other than Mandarin. They are ethnically diverse (Uighurs for example are Turk, and Muslim). Take these colonies away from China and China would be tiny.

    Bill, your views are ignorant if you think that racism or imperialism is a white or western thing. It is not!

    • tracey 12.1

      Of course it’s not. It is when a race behaves as superior to another in its systems, laws and behaviour so as to disadvantage the “lesser” or to sheet home advantages for the “greater”.

      The UN has decided not to separate ethnicity and race. I suspect this is because of the arguments we start to see here. White folks also can be treated poorly but usually by other white folks and under the guise of religion or ethinicity etc.

    • Colonial Viper 12.2

      People who think white skins invented racism, tribalism and imperialism are only looking back three, maybe four hundred years tops, and then only from a euro-centric perspective.

      As for China, you can be assured that they will not be ceding any territories soon, and won’t be letting western organisations fund any colour revolutions within their borders.

      • tracey 12.2.1

        You make a good point but whites being racist dates back a few thousand years.

        • RedLogix

          If your definition of ‘racist’ is something like ‘I have a preference and comfort with the cultural and social cohort I grew up with and forms part of my identity’ … then we are all racist.

          If however you mean ‘I believe my cultural and social cohort is spiritually, morally and ethically better than all others, and this gives us the collective right to impose our values, our presence and economic dominance on all other inferior forms’ …. this narrows the field down considerably.

          • tracey

            Not as much as some here think it does. Some are choosing to make racism only about what an individual thinks ( which requires mindreading) rather than all tge ways racism manifests itself.

      • Bill 12.2.2

        Can you give some examples of cultures or ethnicities where the people of that ethnicity or culture touted themselves as being biologically superior to all the rest of humanity?

        • weka

          That’s not the sole definition of racism though. And Chinese people (or whoever) are entitled to define racism as it’s meaningful in their own cultures and countries.

          • Bill

            As you said elsewhere, ‘racism’ is a kind of bogus term insofar as there is only the human race. That last bit’s a biological fact, yes?

            And as far as I know, there has only been one instance of a group purporting themselves to be race apart from or above the human race – who essentially denied the existence of the human race by breaking it down into a hierarchy of races with themselves positioned at the apex.

            And who then used that biologically determined ‘position’ as a justification for them unleashing themselves and their ways on the world at large.

            • weka

              I didn’t say racism is a bogus term. I meant that we can’t use the term literally because there is no such thing as race. The term itself is still very useful. It has come to us through the evolution of the English language but I don’t think it’s likely we are going to replace it at this time.

              Racism has a broader definition than the biological based-one you are talking about. If we were to use that one, then much of the anti-racism work being done would be undermined.

              Your analysis is on point and useful in lots of ways, I just don’t see the need to limit definitions of racism to that one particular kind.

              I’m also mindful of taking cues on definitions of racism from people who experience racism the most.

              • Bill

                Racism is founded on supposed biological difference, not limited to that though.

                So if I’m expressing bigotry towards Catholics, it’s ‘just’ bigotry unless I’ve shoe-horned some “truth” about the essential biological inferiority of Catholics into the mix – at which point the bigotry is racist.

                edit – and that “truth” need only be embedded in historical events for it to have effect.

                • weka

                  “Racism is founded on supposed biological difference, not limited to that though.”

                  I’d agree with that.

                  Catholicism isn’t an ethnicity (although it’s definitely cultural). So in NZ I think one would be hard pressed to argue that bigotry against Catholics is racist. But in the British Isles* it’s a bit different right? Because of the overlap with nationality and cultural ethnicity.

                  *or whatever the term is that covers England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

                  However I’d also say that when someone is being directly and overtly racist, they’re not necessarily standing there with an analysis of biological superiority. Most NZers would say they definitely don’t believe in that. Which takes us to the bigger picture of systemic racism and socialisation into racism. As you say founded in historical ideas about actual race but I find it more useful to talk about systemic and institutional racism as a thing in its own right.

                  I think there are specific things about the racism that evolved out of the Western nations that we need to look at for sure. Just not sure that that means that other ethnically based prejudices aren’t racism.

                  • Bill

                    So this is just before I run.

                    But it crosses my mind (this is in relation to institutional and systemic racism) that if our current institutions – that emerged from and because of a racist past – start to suggest that racism pertains to a broad panoply of ethnic and cultural discriminations, then it’s a nice form of institutional denial that we can all feed into.

                    In that instance racism becomes reduced to a “they did/do it too” and history and its ongoing effects get denied and ‘swept under the carpet’ as it were.

                    Just a thought.

    • Bill 12.3

      Social darwinism emerged in the 1800s and was used to well, I’ll just cut and paste with emphasis.

      The theory was used to support laissez-faire capitalism and political conservatism. Class stratification was justified on the basis of “natural” inequalities among individuals, for the control of property was said to be a correlate of superior and inherent moral attributes such as industriousness, temperance, and frugality. Attempts to reform society through state intervention or other means would, therefore, interfere with natural processes; unrestricted competition and defense of the status quo were in accord with biological selection. The poor were the “unfit” and should not be aided; in the struggle for existence, wealth was a sign of success. At the societal level, social Darwinism was used as a philosophical rationalization for imperialist, colonialist, and racist policies, sustaining belief in Anglo-Saxon or Aryan cultural and biological superiority.

      I’ve never argued that imperialism is or was an exclusively “white or western thing”. And I’ve never argued that various expressions of bigotry or discrimination are limited to any given ethnic or cultural grouping.

      But the concept of race (ie, social darwinism and racism) as a justification for discrimination and bigotry has very specific roots and historical significance.

      • RedLogix 12.3.1

        “The Chinese nation is a great nation; it has been through hardships and adversity but remains indomitable. The Chinese people are a great people; they are industrious and brave and they never pause in pursuit of progress,”

        It’s entirely possible to spin this speech according to your biases; but without question the underlying theme is the ‘greatness of the Chinese people’ and how ‘it was time for his nation to transform itself into “a mighty force” that could lead the world on political, economic, military and environmental issues.’

        If it was Donald Trump giving this speech ‘making American great again’, we’d have no trouble detecting the underlying chauvinist assumptions.

        • Bill

          And where’s the reference or inference (historical or otherwise) of biological superiority in any of that?

          Because without that, we might be talking of things like chauvinism, and/or bigotry and/or discrimination and/or whatever else, which are all constituent components of racism when it gets expressed for sure – but we aren’t talking racism.

          • RedLogix

            Well given that I simply cannot recall anyone here at TS ever openly asserting a biological basis for the superiority of any race, white or otherwise, maybe we should just stop using the word altogether?

      • Fang Zhou 12.3.2

        Bill, that definition of Social Darwinism applies perfectly to the New China I grew up in. The system was always a mix of free enterprise capitalism with a all powerful central body (the Community Party).

        There is no question that there is a racial basis to New China that sees those in Xinjiang and Xizang as being inferior and worthy of colonisation.

        • Bill

          Culturally, aesthetically and in whatever other ways inferior – or biologically inferior?

          And if they are biologically inferior, then what marks and/or explains the biological superiority of those making the charge?

          • Fang Zhou

            I was taught (and it is still taught today in China) that Han Zu are the only pure race on earth.

            Europeans in particular were viewed as inferior as they were a result of centuries of breeding amongst diverse people. We were also taught that China is the oldest civilisation on earth.

            Look in China school books today you will still see this taught as an absolute truth (in China all trutgs are absolute!).

            Do you not consider these teachings to be of a biological racial superiority?

            • David Mac

              I think it’s lashings of flavoured patriotism blended in with a viewpoint most of us are guilty of holding at times ‘My way is best’.

              • tracey

                Or racism as it is generally known except by those bending tgemselves and tge world over backwards to avoid the label

            • Bill

              Well, I could look at that in terms of Protestant families disowning those who marry Catholics (and visa versa). There’s a certain sense of cultural or religious “purity” sits behind that shit. And I know there are Protestants who absolutely look down on Catholics; who see them as inferior.

              But then, there’s no theory of biology underpinning it – so the decision may well be born of bigotry and whatever else, but not racism.

              But here’s the thing.

              If the Protestant family was disowning a son or daughter because they were marrying a black person, then because of historical context, it could be decision born of racism. And if the black person was Catholic, then racism and bigotry.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            …what marks and/or explains the biological superiority…?

            Strictly speaking, nothing: the notion of ‘race’ has no factual basis. It’s just something that people use to rationalise prejudice. It could be the shape of earlobes or whether you have an “outy” navel.

            • Bill

              Yes. I know. But as I’ve saying up and down this thread, there was a group of people who decided there was foundation to an idea of biological superiority and they used that “understanding” in a number of ways.

              And for a number of reasons, the consequences ripple down through the generations.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Isn’t that the same phenomenon as Fang Zhou outlines at

                • Bill

                  As I responded (above), I’m just not seeing where notions of biological superiority necessarily come into play in what Fang Zhou said.

                  If they were there, you’d expect some overt reference somewhere in much the same way as provided by Social Darwinism for Anglo Saxon/Aryan supremacy.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    The term ‘pure race’ is a pretty big hint. Assuming it’s an accurate representation of what is “taught”, that is. Does it say that in schoolbooks, or is it more the sort of thing a sub-group of nationalists tell one another?

                    European colonialism fits the former description

                    Perhaps I’m beginning to see your point. The defining feature of racism by your definition is that it has state backing?

                    • Bill

                      The defining feature of racism by your definition is that it has state backing?

                      The idea of biologically determined superiority (racism) had mainstream philosophical, (pseudo) scientific and political backing. And it fed into and was reinforced by dominant paradigms (social, political and economic).

                      And became a major plank driving, excusing and generally underpinning colonialisation and its attendant genocides.

                      Today, it’s legacy is all around us and still acts on us.

                      Other claims to superiority or exclusivity fall more into categories that might be described as “pedigree” versus “mongrel” or “us and them” and justified by appeals to culture or history or whatever with all the attendant possibility for ethnic friction, sectarianism etc.

                      But those claims do not revolve around some suggestion of biological determinism naturally and inescapably placing “whoever” within some supposed hierarchy of human races.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke


                      Without the …mainstream philosophical, (pseudo) scientific and political backing it would have been just another group of angry bigots winding one another up.

                      How does the latter become the former? Follow the money: kleptocrats (eg: the East India Company) looking for more resources to acquire.

                      So it matters a great deal whether any alleged racial purity propaganda finds its way into schoolbooks.

                    • Bill

                      How does the latter become the former?

                      Eugenics, liberal capitalism, racism and colonialism are all tightly intertwined.

                      I’d have to read more than I have to work out the chickens and eggs of it all 😉

        • Tony Veitch (not etc)

          Completely agree with the inherent racism of China. I spent three years in Xinjiang and heard and saw how arrogant Han could be towards the Uyghurs and other minorities.

          It would not be an exaggeration to suggest the Han are practising creeping genocide against many of the minority people of China.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            how arrogant Han could be

            Am I correct in thinking that means other Han weren’t? In which case the behaviour isn’t “inherent”.

            • Tony Veitch (not etc)

              No, poor wording on my part. Generally (another weasel word) the Han I met in Xinjiang were ‘inherently’ prejudiced against the ethnic minorities of the region.

              I could give numerous examples from my own experience of this prejudice.

              It is inherent in that, as Fang Zhou says, above, the Han are taught they are the oldest and best civilisation in the world!

              But I found all the people of Xinjiang ‘generally’ courteous to us ‘laowai’. [foreign devils]

              However, I did experience anti-foreigner prejudice in Chengdu.

    • CLEANGREEN 12.4

      Well said fang,

      You are very true here and we respect your honesty.

      NZ is becomming afraid at the rapid importing of well healed investors snapping up proprety here and forcing proerty values to srise to riddiculous levels now.

      We know we are not allowed to buy property in China as the government would not tolerate overseas influence on the property values there so we should use the same models they do to protect young NZ folks who hope to buy their own homes.
      This is not racism but government controlling the property market, a simple idea china thought of years ago.

      • Fang Zhou 12.4.1

        Thank you Cleangreen. I agree, it is not racist and is simply common sense.

        I do think that the prohibition against you buying property in China though is for those reasons. It is just extreme nationalism. For example, when I apply for NZ Citizenshio next year (I am a Permanent Resident now), I automatically lose my Chinese citizenship..Noone Chinese can have dual citizenship – extreme nationalism I think!

        • tracey

          Same is true in many countries (dual citizenship). The point about foreign ownership however is Labour focussed on Chinese ownership thereby allowing for the notion non Chinese foreign ownership was acceptable. Despite there being many 4th 5th and 6th generation Chinese Kiwis Labour chose to focus on Chinese looking names.

          SO what do we want in NZ? No foreign ownership or no Chinese foreign ownership and why the difference?

          THAT is an issue many are choosing to ignore in this thread in a fight to not be a racist themselves or to prover certain Chinese are racist.

      • David Mac 12.4.2

        Nobody can own land in China Clean. It’s owned by the people collectively. They’ll lease but they ain’t selling.

        • Fang Zhou

          You are correct. All land belongs to the Community Party. The same applies in NZ, as all land belongs to the crown and is essentially leased from her.

          But we can own houses and buildings individually. In rural villages it is a little different still. In my fathers village the house and land can only pass to other villagers or their families. Maybe similar to Maori land.

          • weka

            That’s interesting. So do people in China who own a house have the same kinds of control over that as in people in NZ, or are the rules around that different?

            • Fang Zhou

              Essentially the same as New Zealand, except in the rural villages. A reflection of the Mao views on collective farms. Some Provinces may be different in small ways, particularly local places. I am from Shandong. The cities in China are very very similat to here in many ways but those rural places can be very different rules than the cities but still all land belongs to Community Party. And maybr Community Party will beling to Mr Xi in future!

            • David Mac

              It is impossible for Fang Zhou to leave his Chinese house to his family. The occupation rights are linked to the lease arrangement.

              Fang Zhou’s NZ house ownership has a chance of being a legacy he can leave for his grandchildren, the general betterment of his family.

              China have recently tried to quell the $ exodus by sweetening up lease arrangements.

              • Fang Zhou

                Firstly, I am not a ‘he’. I am a ‘she’. Secondly, you are incorrect. But whatbwould I know? Afterall I am only Chinese and have owned apartments there, grew up there and lived there 35 years.

                This ia why I stopped postimg to this site. People on this site too often seek to lecture me about my own country, culture and views. THAT is racist! A little learning is not only a bad thing, it invariably is just arrogant ignorance.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  The Crown owns all the land here, the Party owns all the land in China. How does that translate into daily life?

                  Is the Party more (or less) likely to compulsorily possess your property (for whatever reason) than the Crown? Do they compensate when they do?

                  I enjoy reading your comments, they’re informative.

                  I’ve been wondering what you’d say about the allegations that the Party is ‘taking over’ Chinese language media in NZ, but it’s probably off topic 🙂

                  • Macro

                    AOB – actually that statement wrt the Crown owning all the land here is not quite correct – Maori Land. NZ’s position on land ownership is quite different to most other countries with two different entities ultimately responsible for the ownership. Then again a Treaty between indigenous people and the colonists such as Te Tiriti was quite unique.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Look at the way the Public Works Act has been applied: land “purchased” for one purpose, later treated as generic “Crown Land”, for example.

                      As the Wikipedia article on Aboriginal Title states:

                      Aboriginal title can be extinguished by the general government, but again, the requirement to do this varies by country…New Zealand formerly required consent, but today requires only a justification (ref: Public Works Act).

                      In essence, all land titles exist for as long as the Crown allows them to.

                      Not that the Crown wouldn’t be picking a heck of a fight.

                    • Macro

                      Yes I’m well aware of that AOB – Catherine Delahunty had a private members Bill ready entitled “Not one more Acre” which was directed specifically at this very problem. Unfortunately it never got the Ballot. Hopefully it will be taken up by those in the Coalition. On the other hand, there is land being returned to it’s rightful owners after being “confiscated” in the land grabs by previous governments under the various Treaty Settlements. The 20 year Ngai Tahu Settlement was celebrated the other day and it was encouraging to hear the progress that has been made since – for instance to provide millions in aid following the Kaikora quake as well as the many scholarships and social programmes that are on-going.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I hadn’t heard about Delahunty’s bill, and yes, it’d be great to see it enacted 🙂

                • David Mac

                  Hi Fang Zhou, my mistaken gender apologies.

                  More importantly, my apologies if I have offended you, this is far from my intentions. I merely seek clarity.

                  Can you put me straight please. Do any individuals in China have their names on the freehold title of a property? Because if they can’t, that is the only point I am making. I’m not judging, just trying to get the lines of the playing field marked out.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    we can own houses and buildings individually. In rural villages it is a little different still. In my fathers village the house and land can only pass to other villagers or their families.

                    That seems pretty clear to me.

                    You know the Crown owns all the land here eh.

                    • David Mac

                      Yeah but if the crown want to flood my valley they’ll enable me to set up in a place of my choosing elsewhere and leave the replacement property to my daughter to live-in, rent out or sell as she sees fit.

                      I don’t know if this is the best way to go or not. But I think it’s worthy of consideration when looking at the motivating factors of overseas investment in NZ real estate.

                  • Fang Zhou

                    David, sorry if I sounded a bit touchy. My apologies! No, not on freehold.of land, but we have building ownership and use. Maybe this is oerpetual lease in New Zealand?

                    One Anonymous Bloke. It is hard for Kiwis to understand, but in China when the government decides something, then that is that. Everything is for the nation, not the individual. In sime ways that is good, as it allows very very rapid progress. But also bad, as no meaningful way to address wrongs. And of course many many of those wrongsl are from corruption and we have no way to appeal. Yes cimpensation is paid.

                    The ‘Party is taking over Chinese language …..’. Of course, although I am.Chinese and will defend my country of birth, I despise the Chineae government.Again, it is the concept of everything being done to support the nation, or rather the Community Party. It is not anti New Zealand though, more just controlling the views and actions of Chinese overseas, which are potentially dangerous to the government of China.

                • RedLogix

                  Well done Fang Zhou! I for one really appreciate you being here and hope that you continue.

                  The problem with the word ‘racist’ is that it has been misused far too often to shut down conversations people did not want to have, and it now means so many different things to different people that no-one can talk straight about it anymore.

                  Personally I think we should stop using the ‘racist’ word for a while., and focus more on listening to each other and speaking more gently.

                • weka

                  “This ia why I stopped postimg to this site. People on this site too often seek to lecture me about my own country, culture and views. THAT is racist! A little learning is not only a bad thing, it invariably is just arrogant ignorance.”

                  This is a fair criticism of TS comments I think. From a moderation pov, had I seen it before the replies I would have asked for clarification and the other person would need to back up their claim. There’s been some more questions which you may or may not feel like answering (I’m certainly interested if you do).

                  In the absence of someone knowledgeable (e.g. first hand experience like yourself) sharing I think the onus is on other people to go do some research if they want to make assertions of fact.

                • tracey

                  Ignorance is cured by education. Already you have shared information some of us didnt know. Please keep doing so.

      • weka 12.4.3

        “NZ is becomming afraid at the rapid importing of well healed investors snapping up proprety here and forcing proerty values to srise to riddiculous levels now.”

        true, but bloody odd that we’re not talking about the money coming from places we are more ethnically similar too overall. There are reasons for that.

        • Macro

          I think that what is being proposed is that all overseas investment in land and property from non-domiciled persons would be banned. The statistics from last year are quite horrendous.

          Land sales to foreign buyers are booming in New Zealand, with 465,863 hectares (1.16m acres) bought in 2016, an almost sixfold increase on the year before. That is the equivalent to 3.2% of farmland

          That ban applies to all – whether from China, Australia, The States, or Europe. If they don’t have residency here – they don’t get to buy.

          • tracey

            Agreed BUT this thread addresses how Labour chose to address that intially and they did it byvsingling out Chinese looking names. Not Scottish or Welsh or French or American ( anything with Jr for instance 😉 ).

            • Macro

              That is also true – but bear in mind that this was just not a concern of NZ Labour but from around the Pacific Rim – House prices in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Vancouver, and anywhere with easy access to overseas investment were skyrocketing. I visited Vancouver in 2014 and was astounded to see the number of large empty houses – and this was not just the boarding up for winter preparations. The local newspapers were full of concern about the escalating house prices. A similar scenario was happening across the Tasman especially in Sydney. The source of all this money was not difficult to identify. There was at that time 21 Trillion US dollars sitting in Private accounts in Chinese banks and it was burning a hole in peoples pockets. That money started to flow out of the country into “investments” off-shore. Firstly Canada and then Australia put in stiffer regulations wrt to residential property ownership by off-shore buyers, but National here, were happy to sell off our housing stock to anyone, and everyone. The Chinese Govt have also now woken up to the leakage of funds off shore, and a year ago tightened the regulations. About a year ago house prices here peaked. Some have put that down to the 2 year bright line test – and that may have have had some effect, but I know from several accounts, that if a house is now being sold to an off-shore buyer from China, settlement dates are being set months ahead, which would indicate that there are more difficulties in transferring the funds out of the country.

    • DH 12.5

      Fang if you’re ever invited I’d like to see you consider authoring here. You write well and IMO we need a wider range of perspectives on the site.

  13. Rightly or wrongly 13

    I think the biggest issue from this story is not the Chinese name story itself but the blatant lack of standards shown by the Herald editors.

    They are told by their own that the story is based on a false premise and should be identified as such however they chose to ignore this and publish anyway.

    No wonder surveys consider journalists to be at the bottom of the heap when it comes to trustworthiness and public confidence.

    Appears to be a blatant example of the msm publishing a false story in order to harvests clicks.

    Have they no shame?

    • tracey 13.1

      Good point but who fed them the information based on a false premise? A party that apparently is stupid but not racist? Pretty sure politicians rank higher than journalists on the lack of trust front.

    • weka 13.2

      Yep, that side of it is pretty shocking. Why that happened is what interests me and I think Singh clearly points to some of the relevant factors.

  14. ropata 14

    All this liberal hand wringing will not matter in 20 years when we are a province of Imperial China

    [This liberal has made a commitment to pushing back against debate in TS that increases anti-Chinese sentiment. If you have some reasoned analysis or thoughts on China and imperialism then the least that is expected here is to present them in ways that aren’t inflammatory or likely to encourage people hating on Chinese, including Chinese NZers. I’ll let this comment stand because I want the moderation note visible, but if you want to comment again, please up your game (as I know you are quite capable of) – weka]

  15. Keepcalmcarryon 15

    I think this – probably with the best of intentions here- is simply being overthought.
    Data on foreign ownership was poor, there was real concern the market was distorted by foreign money. Labour went with the information at hand which in my opinion was too sketchy to prove their point and left them open to accusations of racism.
    Are labour a bunch of actual racists?
    Doubt it
    Did they fumble on this?
    We are still waiting on the hard data on foreign ownership.

  16. Ad 16

    The hard data on this is about to arrive, thanks to Minister Twyford.

    He is commissioning work from three undisputed leaders in the housing debate, forming an authoritative picture on the state of housing in New Zealand today, drawing on the best data available. It will get firm figures on:
    – Homelessness
    – The state of the rental market
    – Decline of home ownership
    – Etc

    This data set will also ensure that the National opposition doesn’t get to pull the same political tactics that he did himself. So, smart politics from Minister Twyford both ways.

    May have been ugly to some at the time, but this is the only politician to have made so much as a dent on National while they were in power.

    Having succeeded in blowing the National Party out of power, he is already underway addressing the issue that 9 years of previous Ministers failed to act on by:

    – Banning overseas speculators
    -Passing the Healthy Homes Bill
    – Cancelling the selloff of state houses
    – Setting up Kiwibuild

    Russell Brown is just way too late to the party on this one.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 16.1

      James Ting-Edwards is waaaaay ahead of Twyford.

      Follow the money, not the surnames.

      • Ad 16.1.1

        Hood’s focus was on mortgage debt versus value, not on the nature and data about the housing stock deficit, which is the set of issues Minister Twyford is addressing.

        Twyford’s remit doesn’t extend to tax and the full finance and economic development portfolios that might, in some future term, address New Zealand’s personal mortgage debt mountain.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Judging from the way he “addressed” the issue last time I’m adopting a wait-and-see approach 😉

          • Ad

            Evidence is always good.
            But in one month the Minister’s already taken more direction action than the last lot in 9 years.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              “Better than National by every single measure” is the minimum expectation based on the historical record.

              “That’s for nothing. Now do something.”

    • CLEANGREEN 16.2

      Phil is the consumate politician, and has a bright future for sure.

      He was the one opposition politician that showed how Steven Joyce in 2013 how Joyce had mis-managed our rail company funding by removing $200 million from the rail company’s track mainainence program and then set up and caused diaster on the rail system.

      Phil Twyford was on the ‘transport select Committee’ then in 2012-13 and witnessed kiwirail admit this lack of funding issue was there, so MP Twyford sent the whole issue to the press then to allow us alll to know what Steven Joyce as “minister of transport” had done to kiwirail as Joyce had written to the press many times before then bad mouthing kiwirail for their policies and threatening them he would take control.

      Joyce always claimed that it was a waste of funding a system that demanded money be poured down the back of it all the time. We see roading as having this to.

      Strangely Joyce was not fired then for his mis-management of our rail assett then.

      Joyce should now be punished for this and other slipups he now has committed against the public.

      So Phil Twyford is very smart.

      Thursday, 14 February 2013, 1:35 pm
      Press Release: New Zealand Labour Party
      Phil Twyford
      Transport Spokesperson
      14 February 2013
      Kiwi Rail admits lack of maintenance led to wash-out
      Kiwi Rail has admitted that its failure to maintain old and damaged culverts was behind the wash out that closed the Gisborne-Napier line, while cuts to its maintenance budget are putting the network at further risk, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.
      “Across the country Kiwi Rail missed its target of replacing 71 old culverts last year, and only replaced 49. This is cause for alarm.
      “The Gisborne-Napier wash-out shows what happens when essential maintenance work is not carried out.
      “Kiwi Rail cut and deferred $200 million of network maintenance last year. At the very time it needs to be upgrading its network and improving efficiency, the Government’s unrealistic ‘Turn Around Plan’ is putting enormous stress on the organisation and forcing it to cut maintenance.
      “Kiwi Rail has told Parliament’s transport committee it has 12,197 rail line culverts around the country and has done a risk assessment identifying 53 high priority culverts but ‘…in spite of every effort to mitigate risk, some incidents of wash out may still occur…’
      “National’s plan for rail is not workable. Kiwi Rail has missed its financial targets for two of the last three years. It is being forced to make cuts that are a false economy.
      “At a time when the Government is wasting billions of dollars on its ‘motorways of madness’, it makes no sense to cripple the national rail line.”

    • One Anonymous Bloke 16.3

      Correction, as Bill notes at 9, it was David Hood

    • weka 16.4

      “– Banning overseas speculators”

      Not quite. Restricting sales of existing residential housing. Unless I have missed something overseas investment in residential land, industrial and rural land will continue. Maybe some tinkering to the rural land setttings in the OIO, but we’ll see.

  17. tracey 17

    ” As Ibram X Kendi, a professor at American University in Washington DC, told the Guardian: “The expression of racism is to fundamentally deny its expression.”

    Kendi, the author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, says that “in studying the history of racist ideas, I found that every group or articulator of racist ideas denied that their ideas are racist. ”

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  • What the actual Hell?
    Keir Starmer has hinted that Labour might vote in favour of the Johnson government's shoddy deal, with the proviso that a second referendum is attached:Speaking to BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show, he said: “We will see what that looks like but it makes sense to say that by whatever ...
    3 hours ago
  • Hard News: Dealer’s Choice, an oral history from Planet 1994
    In 1994, I was the editor for an issue of Planet magazine focused on cannabis, its culture and the prospects for the end of its prohibition. Part of that issue was an interview with 'Ringo', an experienced cannabis dealer.I recently posted my essay from that issue, and I figured it ...
    2 days ago
  • The invasion of women’s sports by men: some facts
    Dr Helen Waite, sports sociologist and former elite athlete, on the invasion of women’s sport by men and the anti-scientific and misogynist ideology used to rationalise it.   ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Remainers starting to sound like fascists
    As Brexit comes to a grisly conclusion (perhaps) people on all sides are saying intemperate and uwise things.  Some, like the Daly Mail, have been doing it for years.People as normally level headed as Jon Lansman are calling for automatic deselection of MPs who vote against a (likely) Labour three ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour MPs supporting Johnson’s turd-sandwich deal?
    I find this unbelievable:
    I've got one source saying more Labour MPs than expected are mulling whether to vote for the deal - including names who were not on the letter to Juncker and Tusk— Emilio Casalicchio (@e_casalicchio) 17 October 2019 I've compiled a list of possible reasons why Labour ...
    3 days ago
  • Why do we need control orders again?
    On Wednesday, the government was loudly telling us that it needed to legislate to allow it to impose "control orders" - effectively a parole regime, but imposed without charge, prosecution, conviction or real evidence - on suspected terrorists because they couldn't be prosecuted for their supposed crimes. Today, it turns ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Bullshitting the Minister
    On Monday, the Hit and Run inquiry heard from NZDF's former director of special operations, who claimed that the defence Minister knew everything about the Operation Burnham raid. Today, the inquiry heard from that (former) Minister - and it turns out that he didn't know nearly as much as NZDF ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Speaker: Extinction Rebellion is not a cult (but ecstasy for the people)
    Yoga gurus and cult leaders – I’ve seen a few. Two weeks ago, I unknowingly joined an alleged new-age cult at the Kāpiti coast, together with a giant kraken and some neatly dressed pensioners who would make any book club proud.They were among the two hundred people of all ages ...
    3 days ago
  • We need to bring the police under control
    The last decade has seen a trend of increasing weapons availability to police. Assault rifles. Tasers on every hip. Guns in cars. And following the march 15 massacre, pistols on every hip, all over the country. At the same time, its also seen an increase in the abuse of force: ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • If you can’t measure it, does it exist?
    In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been busy preparing for our summer paper on Science Communication. Looking for something amusing about ‘risk’ in science, I came across this neat cartoon about why so many people come knocking on my door (or phoning me, or emailing me) desperately wanting ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    3 days ago
  • Swinson’s swithering
    Jo Swinson is doing even worse at this Being Sensible lark that I'd thought.  I've just become aware of the following utterance
    .@KayBurley presses Lib Dem leader @joswinson on whether she would agree to a #Brexit deal 'no matter how bad a deal it is' as long as it had ...
    4 days ago
  • Women’s rights, trans ideology and Gramsci’s morbid symptoms
    by John Edmundson The International Socialist Organisation (ISO) have recently reposted a February article, by Romany Tasker-Poland, explaining ISO’s position in the “trans rights” debate.  It is available on their website and on their Facebook Page.  The article sets out to explain why “socialists support trans rights”.  It reads more ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • We need to take guns off police
    Today's IPCA report of police criminality: a police officer unalwfully tasered a fleeing suspect who posed no threat to anyone:The police watchdog has found an officer unlawfully tasered an Auckland man who broke his ankle jumping off a balcony to escape arrest. [...] To avoid arrest, the man jumped over ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • “Bringing kindness back”
    "Auckland City Mission: 10% of Kiwis experiencing food insecurity", RNZ, 16 October 2019:About half a million people are experiencing food insecurity, according to new research from the Auckland City Mission. Food insecurity, or food poverty, is defined as not having enough appropriate food. The City Mission said over the last ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Press Release: “Fake News” from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance b...
    Media Statement for Immediate Release 16th October 2019 “Fake News” from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance bonuses for top managers Despite comments from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance bonuses for top managers—Herald Newspaper Tuesday Oct 15th–there is very little evidence ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    4 days ago
  • Ever-So-Slightly Bonkers: Simon Bridges Plays To His Base.
    Would You Buy A Used Propaganda Video From This Man? Bridges and the National Party’s strategists have discovered that the ideas and attitudes considered acceptable by today’s editors and journalists are no longer enforceable. The rise and rise of the Internet and the social media platforms it spawned means that ...
    4 days ago
  • Asking for food
    There is plenty of evidence of the way the business mentality has permeated every level of society since the recrudescence of market liberalism 35 years ago. You only need to think of how citizens in need of help from their government, their state, their country, are now routinely described as ...
    Opposable ThumbBy Unknown
    4 days ago
  • Forty years of change in the jobs Kiwi do and the places they call home
    John MacCormick Over the last 40 years, New Zealanders – and people in other countries – have experienced big changes in the jobs they do and where they live and work. These changes include: a decline in manufacturing jobs an increase in jobs in ‘information-intensive’ industries (which are better paid ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    4 days ago
  • Protecting Fresh Waterways in Aotearoa/NZ: The Strong Public Health Case
    Nick Wilson, Leah Grout, Mereana Wilson, Anja Mizdrak, Phil Shoemack, Michael Baker Protecting waterways has the benefits of: (1) protecting water from hazardous microbes; (2) minimising cancer risk and other problems from nitrates in water; (3) avoiding algal blooms that are hazardous to health; (4) protecting mahinga kai uses (cultural ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    4 days ago
  • Massey University triggered to rebrand
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In a press release today Massey University announced it has decided to rebrand and reorientate after struggling to be a University for grown-ups. For some time the University has wanted to be a safe play space for wee-woke-misogynists who have been really badly triggered ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Swinson backing calls for a second referendum (again)
    After a brief dalliance with 'hard Revoke' it looks like the Lib Dems are changing ground on on Brexit, with leader Jo Swinson reverting to calling for a second referendum on Johnson's deal.The party has tabled an amendment to the Queen’s speech requesting that any deal brought back from Brussels ...
    5 days ago
  • An odious bill
    The government has decided that someone has done Something Bad. But despite their belief, there seems to be no evidence that they have actually broken the law. So the government's solution is to pass a retrospective law allowing them to be punished anyway, on a lower standard of proof. If ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • National is now the party of climate arson
    So, Judith Collins has done a Facebook rant about climate change, peddling the same shit National has been shovelling for the past twenty years: the impacts are overstated, there's no need to do anything about it, and its too hard anyway (oh, and its so unfair that people who peddle ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The environmental footprint of electric versus fossil car
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to There is a lot of discussion on the benefits of ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • “Manifest” by Andrew Bird – A Song For The Times.
    I came across this song quite by accident. If it isn't one of Greta Thunberg's favourites - it should be.Video courtesy of YouTube.This post is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    5 days ago
  • Passing the buck
    Last month, NZDF's shoddy coverup of what it knew about civilian casualties in Operation Burnham began to fall apart, with the revelation that a report on the matter, which NZDF claimed not to have, had been sitting in an NZDF safe for the past nine years. Yesterday, the man responsible ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • India a major player in Earth observation satellites
    While many imagine that countries like the USA and Europe dominate space activities, in fact India is now a major player on this stage. It launches satellites for its own purposes and also commercially, and has constellations orbiting our planet and returning data of vital importance to that nation in ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    6 days ago
  • The rot at the top (2).
    Thanks to a report from the Acting Inspector General of Intelligence and Security following a complaint by Nicky Hager, we have come to find out that the SIS illegally spied on Mr. Hager on behalf of the NZDF after publication of Hager’s 2011 book, Other People’s Wars. The NZDF justified ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Common misconceptions about “Global Warming”
    COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING MYTH 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate. FACT: The HadCRUT3 surface temperature index, produced by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, shows warming to 1878, cooling to 1911, ...
    An average kiwiBy
    6 days ago
  • A climate of tyranny
    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    6 days ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    6 days ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    6 days ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    1 week ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    1 week ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    A Statement on Abortion Law Reform by the Council of Disobedient Women   On the eve of bringing an end to antiquated, anti-women abortion laws Green MP Jan Logie intends to write women out of the Bill. With a stroke of the pen, the woke are aiming for total erasure ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Is this study legit? 5 questions to ask when reading news stories of medical research
    Hassan Vally, La Trobe University Who doesn’t want to know if drinking that second or third cup of coffee a day will improve your memory, or if sleeping too much increases your risk of a heart attack? We’re invested in staying healthy and many of us are interested in reading ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    1 week ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
      “There can be no such thing as kaupapa Māori political parties or politics in Aotearoa” (Willie Jackson, Labour Party (2017). Māori TV, General/List Election Special) I begin with that claim because at the time, I was confounded at first that it fell out of Willie Jackson’s mouth, and then ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to Why do people still think climate change isn’t real? David ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
    The Zero Carbon Bill is due back from select committee in two weeks, and will likely pass its final stages in November. So naturally, farmers are planning a hate-march against it. But they're not just demanding lower methane targets so they can keep on destroying the planet; they're also demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
    Fatal Contact: With the arrival of captain James Cook in October 1769, the islands of what would become New Zealand ceased to be the preserve of Polynesian navigators and settlers and became a part of both the world’s map and the world’s history.THE MAORI NATIONALIST assault upon the historical meaning ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Government announces 27 percent increase in Trades Academy places
    Two secondary-school initiatives are being expanded as part of the Government’s plan to see more young New Zealanders take up a trade to help close the skills gap.   This includes the largest single increase in Trades Academy places in recent years. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris ...
    36 mins ago
  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    3 days ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    3 days ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    3 days ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    3 days ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    3 days ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    3 days ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    4 days ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    4 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    4 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    4 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    4 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    4 days ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    5 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    5 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    5 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    5 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    5 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    5 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    5 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    5 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    5 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    6 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
    Hon Minister Poto Williams Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration   MEDIA STATEMENT       Tuesday 15 October 2019 Feedback sought – Hagley Oval The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal about Hagley Oval. The proposal was developed by Regenerate Christchurch ...
    6 days ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    6 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    6 days ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    6 days ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    7 days ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    7 days ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    1 week ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    1 week ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    1 week ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    1 week ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    1 week ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says for Pacific people, language can be a source of strength. It can help ground us and give us confidence. When we speak them, our languages provide us with an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story - and ...
    1 week ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    1 week ago