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rising poverty amongst asians

Written By: - Date published: 11:04 pm, December 9th, 2014 - 85 comments
Categories: employment, im/migration, jobs, poverty, racism, racism - Tags:

this article in the herald was published a few days ago, and raises concerning trends amongst asian families:

Pacific and Maori young still have by far the highest rates of poverty-related illness, but the Maori rate dropped steeply from 58 hospital admissions for poverty-linked conditions for every 1000 kids in 2012 to 52 for every 1000 people last year.

The Asian rate has almost doubled from 21 hospital admissions for every 1000 Asian children in 2000, and 29 in 2007 before the recession started, to 40 admissions for every 1000 children last year.

and then there’s this:

The Asian population has roughly doubled from 238,000 in the 2001 census to 472,000 last year. Asian children increased at a slightly slower rate, from 56,000 to 97,000, while adults aged 30-plus increased at the fastest rate, from 113,000 to 242,000.

The poverty monitor shows that 28 per cent of all children in the “Asian/Other” ethnic group lived in homes earning below 60 per cent of the median household income per person in the past three years, compared with 30 per cent of both Maori and Pacific children and 15 per cent of European children.

Overcrowding rates in the last Census were also highest for children of Pacific (47 per cent), Maori (25 per cent) and Asian (21 per cent) ethnicity, compared with 5 per cent of European children.

the health expert quoted in the article rightly pointed to one of the factors affecting these numbers: that the asian population is maturing ie they are more established, an increasing number of asian new zealanders are born in this country rather than migrate to it.  with a migrant population, the government has been cherry-picking those migrants that have skills, financial stability and good health.  once that population becomes established, then the cherry-picking effect is lost.

what is missing from the article, what is being left unsaid is the R word – racism.  the migrant population, under current conditions, can’t get here or stay here without a firm job offer (at least that’s how i understand it, happy to be corrected).  but once the population is more established and also if the migrants (now residents) lose their current job, then it’s harder for them to get into the job market.  discrimination in employment is a real thing, there’s plenty of evidence to show that a foreign sounding name reduces the chances of a person being able to get a job.  if asians can’t access jobs, and if they can’t access well-paying jobs, then poverty is the result.

if they can’t access jobs, a more settled population will be able to access benefits, unlike non-residents on work permits.  however, given the issues around the difficulty of getting a benefit and the fact that benefits are not enough to live on, this will also lead to higher levels of poverty within the asian population.

so, many asians become self-employed, running their own businesses.  except that there has been a recession as well as a lack of a coherent and comprehensive economic development strategy from the government.  during the election campaign, i talked to a lot of small business owners and many are struggling.  self-employment is not lifting people out of poverty, or at least not as many people.

racism also applies to housing.  even though it’s a breach of the human rights act, many asians are denied access to rental property on the basis of race.  again, there’s plenty of evidence of this kind of thing happening.  how much that feeds into the overcrowding stats, i don’t know.  and there is no doubt that lack of access to job also affects the ability to access decent housing.

the saddest part of this report is that things are even worse for maori and pasifika populations; that they have had it this bad for so long and that we, as a society, are willing to live with this kind of inequality.

(note: i got the image from here, don’t know where they got it from)

85 comments on “rising poverty amongst asians ”

  1. Colonial Rawshark 1

    The Asian rate has almost doubled from 21 hospital admissions for every 1000 Asian children in 2000, and 29 in 2007 before the recession started, to 40 admissions for every 1000 children last year.

    The rate of increase in hospital admissions between 2000 to 2007 (Helen Clark years) is almost as high as that in the 2007 to 2013 period.

    My conclusion is that the adverse trends in Asian health outcomes as a marker of poverty started a long time ago, with its roots in the early 5th Labour Government. If the contention is that racism is a major contributor to this, then that must have been rapidly increasing during that time as well.

    Personally I find it very disappointing that the Labour Party caucus has ZERO asians within it. If it was a caucus which truly represents the breadth of NZers it should have 3-4 Asians as members. But of course, it does not. National does a far better job.

    • Murray Rawshark 1.1

      You’ll get there one day, CV 🙂

      It surprises me that there are none, because basically all the Chinese and Indian Kiwis I’ve known have been Labour sympathisers. None of them were ever business immigrants, although some were business people.

      • swordfish 1.1.1

        The 2011 New Zealand Election Survey suggested “Asians” Party-Voted Labour in about the same proportion as the Country as a whole (to a slightly greater degree than Europeans, but far less than Maori and Pasifikas).

        I’m not so sure about the Left-Right divide, though. Some evidence exists from earlier surveys to suggest that ethnic minority immigrants (excepting Pasifikas) vote disproportionately for the Greens. That may mean Asians are a little more Left-leaning than New Zealanders as a whole. But, in the context of the last few Elections, that would still suggest the majority voting Right.*

        Also pays to remember that “Asians” (particularly newer immigrants) are disproportionately represented among Non-Voters.

        (* I’m sure I’ve seen some more detailed Ethnic breakdowns for Party Support somewhere in the last few months but can’t remember where).

      • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1.2

        Its called 25%, as you do know that asians have been in the caucus previously.

        In fact the party leader almost didnt make it into caucus too!

    • stargazer 1.2

      “If the contention is that racism is a major contributor to this, then that must have been rapidly increasing during that time as well.”

      well yes, you will recall that mr peters started his crusade against asian immigration back in 1996 & continued on in that manner unchecked until he became minister of foreign affairs in 2005. you might also remember in 2005, we had his masterpiece “end of tolerance” speech, followed by a rather nasty little immigration speech from one don brash.

      speaking of whom, i believe it was in 2003 that he gave the infamous orewa 2 speech which unleashed a storm of racism. although that speech was directed against maori, it did serve to increase levels of racism overall. the government of the day, instead of pushing back against the torrent of nastiness that ensued over those months, chose instead to go along with it. the “closing the gaps” policies, which had been the first serious attempt to deal with discrepancies based on race, was shut down & any acknowledgement in government policy that racism plays a part in differing poverty levels amongst various communities has never existed since. to give any such acknowledgement is now somehow accepted as giving “special treatment” instead of reducing an absolutely horrendous level of inequality.

      we also had the foreshore & seabed debacle through this period, & the genius that was john ansell running the national party’s 2005 advertising campaign.

      so on the whole, i would say that particular decade wasn’t a shining one when it came to race relations in nz. this decade isn’t shaping up too much better.

    • tricledrown 1.3

      CV Few asians want to be associated with the left,there is huge social pressure from within their own community,percieved racism which putsnewbies to our country from sticking their heads above the pulpit.
      Then the left aren,t reaching out to this sector of society.
      A lot of Asians are running marginally profitable small businesses and don,t see the left as their solution.

      Then their is racism which scares weaker poorer ostrasiced members of the Asian community from participating!
      A lot similar reasons other ethnic minorities and poorer people don,t bother voting.
      CV as you have pointed out above the Labour govts have only put bandaid solutions to address problems of poverty,those bandaids have been slightly larger than Nationals smaller but very well spun bandaids!
      CV you have the answer to this problem
      By mobilizing people at the grassroots as you have done with your efforts in Dunedin!

      • Colonial Rawshark 1.3.1

        Yep I increasingly believe that local solutions and local organising are more critical than ever – in fact, I reckon that Wellington is going to prove largely ineffective at preparing us for the future because of all the ingrained assumptions and constraints that they have to work under. The passing of the anti-terror bill is just the latest example of how Parliament will whole heartedly take the entire country down the wrong track.

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    I once asked a Chinese (as it turned out) restaurateur where she was from. “China” she replied, “where did you think?” and then, “Oh, you think we’re Asian!” The contempt in her voice was palpable.

    Does anyone else answer the “ethnicity” question with “human being”?

    • The Al1en 2.1

      “Does anyone else fill in the “ethnicity” question with “human being”?”

      I always put ‘other’

    • Does anyone else answer the “ethnicity” question with “human being”?

      Hopefully, the number of people fooling only themselves in this way is a small one.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2.1

        😆

        What else does your intimate psychic knowledge of my thoughts reveal?

        • Psycho Milt 2.2.1.1

          Recognising the foolishess of trying to pretend one has no ethnicity requires no in-depth knowledge of any particular individual – it’s foolish in all cases.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2.1.1.1

            Who says I’m pretending I have no ethnicity? I wondered if that was your interpretation. It’s incorrect.

            • batweka 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Do you think that your ethnicity is human? Or homo sapiens?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                No, I think that this is a more useful piece of information to share with the government.

                • batweka

                  do you think they really care?

                • McFlock

                  the general assumption is that the being filling in the form is a human person.

                  The ethnicity question, alongside other demographic questions like age, gender, and income/address, is useful for identifying systemic biases (either positive or negative) in service delivery, as well as any emerging issues within demographic sectors that might not be reflected in the community as a whole.

                  But do whatever rocks your world – the value in the data (from my perspective) is aggregated, not a particular individual’s response.

                  There was a bit of an issue in the early 2000s with rising numbers of census respondents writing things like “New Zealander!!!” in the ethnicity line, but ISTR a statsnz report which basically nailed down the vast majority of those respondents as NZEuro middle-aged males with poor education (and probably less personality).

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    The question is about identity and affiliation.

                    • McFlock

                      So?

                      A systemic bias is a systemic bias.

                      If there was a dramatic downturn in e.g. customers whose favourite colour was green, that might be the result of a new but subconscious bias in the store’s presentation, which could then be exlored and maybe addressed.

                      But favourite colour is not so related to things like community organisation engagement as, say, ethnicity can be.

          • minarch 2.2.1.1.2

            So PM im assuming youve had your DNA tested and can confidently state your exact “ethnic” make up precisely ?

    • stargazer 2.3

      whenever anyone asks me where i’m from, i always say “hamilton, new zealand”. then sometimes i’ll get “but where are you really from”. and i say “i’m really from hamilton, new zealand. but if you’re asking my ethnicity, it’s indian”.

      however, when it comes to the census or any other official document that asks for ethnicity data, i always put “indian” without the slightest bit of hesitation. because otherwise, how would we be able to measure the kind of inequalities based on race that we have seen in this report? for people who object to putting their ethnicity, i can only conclude one of two things: either they are completely ignorant about the way this data is used and the faace that such inequality exists, or that they know but don’t care & would rather it not be measured at all.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.3.1

        Or that they think people are best approached as individuals first and members of a particular ethnic group or culture second, or perhaps that the way this information is used depends on the culture of the government of the day.

        Do you think the information that someone self-identifies as a “human being” is useless?

        • stargazer 2.3.1.1

          in terms of collecting ethnicity data in order to report on inequality, yes it’s useless. if you’re talking about general social interaction, then i have no problem with how you choose to answer the question. i just stated how i choose to answer it. the reason i answer that way is because i want to dispel the notion that a brown-skinned scarf-wearing woman is a foreigner or is any less a kiwi than anyone else. not all people hold that view but too many of them do, especially the kind who will start a sentence with “THEY come to OUR country…”.

          you may well have very valid reasons for choosing to answer with the words “human being” & that’s fine too.

        • Psycho Milt 2.3.1.2

          …people are best approached as individuals first and members of a particular ethnic group or culture second…

          This is true regardless of how you characterise your ethnicity.

          Do you think the information that someone self-identifies as a “human being” is useless?

          It is the very definition of ‘useless’ in that it serves no useful purpose. On this planet, someone who fills in a form is by definition a human being (it’s not the only definition, but you get the idea).

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.3.1.2.1

            Get real. By definition, the question is about how I identify myself.

            • stargazer 2.3.1.2.1.1

              the question is about collecting data so that we can measure indicators and see whether there are differences between ethnic groups. that has been pointed out many times in comments. not sure why you’re ignoring that point. on the age question, do you put “human being”, ditto for the gender question? is it that you object any measurement that could lead to reporting on discrimination?

              i’m really not getting your point here.

    • Bill 2.4

      Ethnic identity? Working Class.

      • lprent 2.4.1

        Ethnic Identity – geek.

        • tricledrown 2.4.1.1

          Ethnic identity- freak.
          As the child of immigrants the great kiwi bashing machine tried to bash my culture and political persuasions out me.
          New Zealand has a nasty bullying culture.
          Thats why Rugby is so popular!

          • ghostwhowalksnz 2.4.1.1.1

            happens everywhere.
            You should try being a Korean who has lived in Japan for generations, you would still be technically an alien

    • tracey 2.5

      Calling someone Asian is a little like saying kiwis are Oceanic or from Australasia.

      I “get” the differentiation she was trying to make to you.

      • Bill 2.5.1

        Asia is a geographical area. Australasia is a geographical area. If someone hailing from Asia is referred to as Asian, then it’s an accurate enough reference to their geographical origins. However, if somebody hailing from Polynesia is referred to as Australasian, then it’s just a plain inaccurate reference.

        Maybe a part of the problem/confusion, is that too many people use terms like Asian or Polynesian based on appearance rather than on geographical origin.

        Perhaps related to the above, though I don’t know if it’s still the case, is government forms asking the ethnicity question referring to a host of geographical areas (which have sweet fuck all to do with ethnicity) and having only one option that could be read as a cultural/ethnic reference.

        • Tracey 2.5.1.1

          Why is it inaccurate if both are regions? Oceania is a region too?

          • Bill 2.5.1.1.1

            What Oceania relates to appears to be somewhat contested. My own take is that it’s a nice, somewhat convenient term for extending perceptions of ‘whiteness’ or of ‘white’ dominance through the Pacific.

            Anyway. I only made mention of Australasia and Polynesia…two distinct and accepted geographical entities.

            • marty mars 2.5.1.1.1.1

              It seems to me that ‘asian’ is like ‘european’ in that it denotes many types of people of many ethnicities.

              • Tracey

                I dont know any people from european countries who when asked where they are from, say “Europe”.

                Oceania is a recognised geographical region according to FIFA

                • Bill

                  I dont know any people from european countries who when asked where they are from, say “Europe”

                  I do. But hey.

                  FIFA. Seriously!?

              • batweka

                “It seems to me that ‘asian’ is like ‘european’ in that it denotes many types of people of many ethnicities.”

                Except in NZ ‘European’ means Caucasian. So anyone of other ethnic groups is supposedly supposed to not tick the ‘European’ box if they are say ethnically Arab or African.

                I don’t really understand why ethnicity is such a big deal. If you know where your genetic lines come from, it shouldn’t be that hard. Mine are from Scotland, Lowland one one side, Highland on the other. We guess there is some Spanish on the Highland side. If I had to I’d describe my ethnicity as Scots Gaelic, because it locates where I’ve come from in a specific geneology and geography.

                Ethnicity tells us much about culture and relationship with the world.

                • Bill

                  Ethnicity is a deal because it’s wrapped up in, or around, identity and ‘explains’ how people express themselves as well as how they are perceived by others.

                  ‘Scottish’ isn’t an ethnicity – it denotes a nationality and that’s bound or determined by geography. The geographical area it pertains to contains a plethora of ethnicities.

                  • batweka

                    Why do you say Scottish? I haven’t used that term (of course Scottish is a nationality). I used the term Scots to differentiate my ethnicity from other Gaelic peoples who come from other areas. Ethnicity is instrinsicaly related to geography. This doens’t mean that any geography has only one ethnicity in it.

                    If I was being really specific I would say I am Pacific Scots Gael, or something I basically have to make up because white people are so shit at understanding they are just one set of ethnicities amongst many and so we don’t have the language for it yet. I’m sure as hell not European.

                    If you dislike constructs around ethnicity, that’s a different matter. I’m just saying that identifying one’s actual ethnicity for most people shouldn’t be that hard. It’s the politics around it that are tricky.

                    Saying that one’s ethnicity is working class or geek or human makes a point, but it also clouds issues. Ethnicity is an actual thing (unlike say race) and my comment was about not understanding why some people find that difficult.

                    • Bill

                      Ethnicity is instrinsicaly related to geography

                      Right there is where we disagree. Nationality and geography are linked. Ethnicity is linked to culture and culture isn’t determined by geography.

                      On the supposed clouding of ethnicity – working class is my culture is my ethnicity – simple…it permeates how I speak, the words I use, how I perceive or relate to the world etc.

                    • batweka

                      I agree that ethnicity is not defined by geography, which is why I didn’t say that.

                      I said ethnicity is instrinsically related to geography, meaning that there is a relationship between the two that is innate. You can shift someone geopgraphically, but their ethnicity remains rooted in where their bloodlines come from (generally. There are some issues there obviously for people who are adopted, or who have ancestors who were adopted).

                      It goes further than this, when you look at peoples’ relationships with land. This is why displacing peoples (as opposed to people) causes such huge problems culturally. Culture arises out of landscape just as much at it arises out of the people living there.

                      So I’m not Scottich culturally, despite my great grandparents having emigrated from there. Who I am culturally is a mix of my ethnicity, the culture of my ancestors and how people here in NZ have evolved/changed that. That’s related to geography. If my ancestors had gone to Canada instead, I’d be a different person.

                      I’m culturally Kiwi, but that’s not an ethnicity. The ethnicity bit is about geneology and that takes us back to where people came from.

                    • batweka

                      “On the supposed clouding of ethnicity – working class is my culture is my ethnicity – simple…it permeates how I speak, the words I use, how I perceive or relate to the world etc.”

                      Why would you leave out geneology?

                    • Bill

                      Why would I include a whole pile of speculative punts as to who my great, great grandmother/father were or where they were born? If I was of a culture that elevated genealogy and encouraged a fairly accurate record of it, then I might. But I’m not, so don’t.

                      I was born in a given geographical place; my nationality or national identity. But ethnicity or culture isn’t determined by that. (If it was, then all geographical areas would be home to homogenised expressions of humanity, ie – there would be no cultural or ethnic diversity)

                      That certain ethnic or cultural identities may predominate in a given location and recreate themselves down through the generations, more in that given location than another, doesn’t then mean that ethnicity or culture is determined by place of birth.

                      There are many facets or dynamics of circumstance that can contribute to ethnic/cultural identity, and basic place of birth, at best, is a possible but secondary contributing factor.

              • Bill

                It seems to me that ‘asian’ is like ‘european’ in that it denotes many types of people of many ethnicities

                with a common or shared geographical origin ?

    • Colonial Rawshark 2.6

      I once asked a Chinese (as it turned out) restaurateur where she was from. “China” she replied, “where did you think?” and then, “Oh, you think we’re Asian!” The contempt in her voice was palpable.

      That’s an interesting and particularly Mainland Chinese reaction. A Singaporean or Malaysian Chinese would have seen it has a very reasonable question as they are more aware of the breadth of the Chinese diaspora making it a more relevant question.

  3. Ad 3

    God you should have heard Bill English treading water this morning on National Radio concerning the OECD on inequality being driven by everything we’ve been telling both Labour and National for many years.

    Definitely sounds like Robertson gets it in the reply interview.

  4. Sirenia 4

    It was Helen Clark who apologised for the racist anti-Chinese policies of earlier decades such as the poll tax. That was appreciated by many.

  5. Te Reo Putake 5

    This article in the herald was published a few days ago, and raises concerning trends amongst Asian families:

    Pacific and Maori young still have by far the highest rates of poverty-related illness, but the Maori rate dropped steeply from 58 hospital admissions for poverty-linked conditions for every 1000 kids in 2012 to 52 for every 1000 people last year.

    The Asian rate has almost doubled from 21 hospital admissions for every 1000 Asian children in 2000, and 29 in 2007 before the recession started, to 40 admissions for every 1000 children last year.

    And then there’s this:

    The Asian population has roughly doubled from 238,000 in the 2001 census to 472,000 last year. Asian children increased at a slightly slower rate, from 56,000 to 97,000, while adults aged 30-plus increased at the fastest rate, from 113,000 to 242,000.

    The poverty monitor shows that 28 per cent of all children in the “Asian/Other” ethnic group lived in homes earning below 60 per cent of the median household income per person in the past three years, compared with 30 per cent of both Maori and Pacific children and 15 per cent of European children.

    Overcrowding rates in the last Census were also highest for children of Pacific (47 per cent), Maori (25 per cent) and Asian (21 per cent) ethnicity, compared with 5 per cent of European children.

    The health expert quoted in the article rightly pointed to one of the factors affecting these numbers: that the Asian population is maturing ie they are more established, an increasing number of Asian new Zealanders are born in this country rather than migrate to it. With a migrant population, the government has been cherry-picking those migrants that have skills, financial stability and good health. Once that population becomes established, then the cherry-picking effect is lost.

    What is missing from the article, what is being left unsaid is the R word – racism. The migrant population, under current conditions, can’t get here or stay here without a firm job offer (at least that’s how I understand it, happy to be corrected). But once the population is more established and also if the migrants (now residents) lose their current job, then it’s harder for them to get into the job market. Discrimination in employment is a real thing, there’s plenty of evidence to show that a foreign sounding name reduces the chances of a person being able to get a job. If Asians can’t access jobs, and if they can’t access well-paying jobs, then poverty is the result.

    If they can’t access jobs, a more settled population will be able to access benefits, unlike non-residents on work permits. However, given the issues around the difficulty of getting a benefit and the fact that benefits are not enough to live on, this will also lead to higher levels of poverty within the Asian population.

    So, many Asians become self-employed, running their own businesses. Except that there has been a recession as well as a lack of a coherent and comprehensive economic development strategy from the government. During the election campaign, I talked to a lot of small business owners and many are struggling. Self-employment is not lifting people out of poverty, or at least not as many people.

    Racism also applies to housing. Even though it’s a breach of the human rights act, many Asians are denied access to rental property on the basis of race. Again, there’s plenty of evidence of this kind of thing happening. how much that feeds into the overcrowding stats, I don’t know. And there is no doubt that lack of access to job also affects the ability to access decent housing.

    The saddest part of this report is that things are even worse for Maori and Pasifika populations; that they have had it this bad for so long and that we, as a society, are willing to live with this kind of inequality.

    (note: I got the image from here, don’t know where they got it from)

    • batweka 5.1

      thanks!

      • Te Reo Putake 5.1.1

        Cheers! Only took a minute and, importantly, removed the unintentional though quite literal belittling of Asians, Pasifika and Maori in the original article.

        • stargazer 5.1.1.1

          actually, i don’t see it as belittling. i see it as equalising. i do the same for europeans or any other ethnicity or religion or pretty much most things that we try to treat as “very important” by capitalising.

          • Te Reo Putake 5.1.1.1.1

            Well, you’d be wrong to think that then. You are quite literally belittling those ethnicities by removing their status. It’s not a good look.

            • stargazer 5.1.1.1.1.1

              i can equally say that you are wrong to think so. you have your opinion, i have mine & i’m sticking with it.

              • Te Reo Putake

                Actually, I’m not wrong. It’s just how language works. If you choose to belittle ethnicities by denying their status, their worth, then the fault is yours. To you, it may be a rhetorical flourish, but it actually has a meaning I’m guessing you’ve never considered before.

                Language is important and demeaning the value of people in this way, even out of ignorance, needs to be called out. Have a think about why you don’t ‘equalise’ by capitalising. That’s a clear alternative to achieve your aim, though it would be an ugly read. Yet you don’t do it. Instead you lower everyone. Instead of lifting everyone up, you chose to lower every one down.

                Clearly, from the content of the article, you are not racist, but you use a rhetorical device that racists would find appealing. That alone should give you some pause for thought.

                • stargazer

                  language is a social construct, it evolves & changes over time. this is the last comment i’m going to bother with on this issue, but again, even if i accepted your notion that i “choose to lower everyone down” (which i don’t), then that’s still treating them all as equals.

                  • Te Reo Putake

                    Nah, fair enough, if you find it challenging, by all means scarper and don’t bother with it. But the fact remains, your language choices belittle people. That’s nothing to do with the evolution of language, it’s all to do with the use of language. In fact, language use has evolved to avoid deliberate misuse such as yours. People generally take care not use language that is belittling or demeaning.

                    You, on the other hand, choose to use a form of language that has traditionally been used to signify that groups of people are of lower value in the eyes of the writer. For example, the phrase ‘Native American’ was originally written as ‘native American’ to show that they were a lesser people. In the last fifty years, it has become ‘Native American’ to acknowledge their common status in the USA.

                    Of course, though, the term Native American itself is still not one that is universally popular amongst those to whom it refers. However, it an indication of respect to capitalise the first word. Your use of lower case shows a lack of respect. That you do it to everyone does not diminish the insult.

                    • Murray Rawshark

                      You could almost be an orthodox rabbi, with your love for arguing about every bloody thing.

  6. Lindsey 6

    The ‘other” part of the question is interesting also. I have a number of Ethiopian friends, most of whom have come here as refugees or for family re-unification from previous refugees. Some have good work, but most of them struggle to find steady employment. They really want to work – the great achivement for them is a full time job which they speak of in almost hushed tones as if it had quotation marks around it. The parents and grandparents will be in the lower paid groups, and many of them have have health problems from years of living as refugees in places like Kenya and the Sudan.

    However, their children generally are doing really well. The families have that focus on enducation common to many migrant communities and the parents will go without to send the kids to “better” schools. The whole community supports and recognises the children’s educational achievements. That generation will have a different story.

    • Tracey 6.1

      Is english a strong second language for the children?

      • Lindsey 6.1.1

        Yes, and they go to Amharic classes in the holidays so they remain bi-lingual. Some are tri-lingual if they were in an Arabic speaking country for a while.

        • Tracey 6.1.1.1

          One of the big problems for portions of our society is the parents do not speak english at home (if indeed they speak english at all). Their children are 100% dependent on their school time for their learning. They cannot do reading or writing or spelling homework with help from home.

          This is oft overlooked by people like English making his glib statements about education.

    • Andrea 6.2

      I also wondered about who the ‘Other’ label was covering. And about who regards themselves as ‘Asian’. It’s a helluva big continent, after all.

      People from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and so forth, aren’t blanket-labelled as ‘Asian’ here. Nor Malaysians, Vietnamese, Koreans, Burmese/Myanmarese. Not among my peer group, at any rate.

      It’s where you come from and who you affiliate with, in much finer detail than which continent you came from, surely?

      New Zealand has been a xenophobic culture for decades. Lots of decades. And there is chronic resentment of people who are educated, cultured, well-travelled, well-trained. ‘Coming over here taking OUR jobs, houses, land! Why can’t they just go back home?!’ And you absolutely didn’t have to be a person of colour to hear that outburst. Pink, with an accent, was enough. Still is. It’s not much more than a village at the bottom of the world, after all, and suspicion is to be expected.

  7. tracey 7

    My son was born in India. he has been in NZ since he was 7 and is now a citizen.

    He talked to me about changing his surname to help him get jobs more easily. he wanted to take my name.

    Recently he and his kiwi born (white) girlfriend moved into a flat together. It is a cold and damp flat and they have been fighting the mold the entire time they have been there. They are trying to get out of their lease, he has moved home. The property manager came over to view the flat (which is kept meticulously clean and tidy) and (we will call her daughter in law) showed her the flat purposely leaving some mold on the ceiling to show the main problem.

    The property manager said

    “That has never been a problem, have you been cooking him Indian food all the time?”

    • RedLogix 7.1

      Without knowing all the facts I’m not making any judgement whatsoever. Except it’s worth pointing out that one of the most common problems landlords and property managers face is tenants who fail to ventilate the place properly. Causes all sorts of expensive problems very quickly.

      I’ve struck it myself twice, and both times were expensive to fix. In one case it required a complete $8k rebuild of the bathroom linings.

      So if there is one thing I would want a property manager to check it’s this. I agree though the ‘Indian food’ reference was quite unnecessary.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 7.2

      David Farrar’s parents changed their parents german sounding surname when they settled in NZ .

      Its just a fact of life in a far off insular society. I found some minor discrimination in Australia towards NZs back in the 80s.

      • Tracey 7.2.1

        I was only using it as an example of the non egalitarian state of NZ. There is racism and there is sexism. Everyone is not treated equally. Just for those who think the fight is over.

    • Murray Rawshark 7.3

      I will cook Indian food tonight, in solidarity with your son.
      One of the most common problems tenants face is property managers.

  8. Bill 8

    Of course there’s systemic racism and not a little xenophobia in NZ, but as an immigrant, there are a few points in the post I’m thinking are unfortunate broad brush strokes.

    Migrants do not need a firm job offer to get here or stay here. That might be a more common route to immigration, but it isn’t the only one.

    If an immigrant has work and loses their job, then the lack of social capital (networks etc) plays a major role in the difficulty experienced in securing further employment.

    On that last point, some migrant populations have quite extensive networks that, at least in some cases, offer a better ‘leg up’ than would be experienced by pinkish coloured European immigrants.

    Having said that, I’m well aware that my first jobs in NZ were largely secured off the back of pinkish coloured bosses, who themselves weren’t born in NZ, identifying with my newly arrived immigrant status.

    A part of the post I can’t quite follow, is how an immigrant experiencing poverty is then kind of assumed to become self employed. Self employment requires networks and money or, at the very least, access to financial capital, no? Now, given that systemic racism is rife in NZ and that we’re talking about banks that prefer to offer loans for house purchases, how does that self employment come about?

    • stargazer 8.1

      i accept your point about social networks, that’s valid. but you are also ignoring the links i provided to research showing discrimination in employment practices based on names. that stuff is real, & doesn’t just apply to migrants. it also applies to people who were born here or have lived here a long time.

      re your last point, i’m not assuming all are self-employed. i’m saying some choose to be self-employed in order to earn an income because they can’t get a job, hence the number of people from ethnic minorities run small retail businesses or taxis or other ventures.

      • Bill 8.1.1

        I’m not ignoring discrimination at all; just adding another factor. As I said, the discrimination you highlight, perversely exhibited in me enjoying ‘favoured status’ due to pinkish immigrant bosses perceiving something in common with me.

        If I’m reading an unexplained leap from poverty to self-employment, then maybe I’m just mis-reading you.

        That as it may be, self employment doesn’t just materialise off the back of a choice. It requires, among other things, cash….which means the self employed person can’t be coming from poverty, or else has somehow secured access to credit etc.

        As an aside, many immigrant taxi drivers I’ve encountered (not so much ‘self employed’ as ‘contracted’ or on piece rate) are highly qualified people who are not allowed to transfer their qualifications into a NZ context.

        • stargazer 8.1.1.1

          re your point about self-employment not materialising off the back of a choice, i did make the point in the post that migrants who come here must have some degree of financial security so they will either have cash themselves or have family who can lend them money. therefore they enter into self-employment, but that choice isn’t lifting so many of them out of poverty because of the struggles faced by small-business owners in current economic conditions.

          as to your last point, this is absolutely true and not a good state of affairs. the strike last year targeting auckland airport shows that this group is also struggling to earn a decent income.

          there is also the issue that these are choices people shouldn’t have to make. they should have access to good quality jobs in their area of expertise, & not be shut out of the job market because of race or ethnicity.

  9. Rolf 9

    As a kiwi journalist in China, I am working on one story about a true blue Kiwi traveling in China, but had to return for medical reasons. After returning he had four emergency hospital admissions, he begged and threatened to be checked out as the Chinese doctors had suggested. He was repeatedly denied that, but repeatedly ordered out of the hospital instead. Finally he suffered a stroke that the Chinese doctors had warned about. The hospital would still not check it out, but treated it as just a “fall”. I took nearly three months for them to do a simple CT scan, and – yes – he had a stroke. A stroke is a life threatening condition. The medical reports were flawed, important information left out, contained misleading or right out lies to protect the doctors, the medication was incorrect, and lead to him loosing his eyesight on one eye after a bleeding. New Zealand health care is substandard to third world and certainly inferior to Chinese. He is now back in China getting treatment New Zealand refused, and that to a cheaper price than in New Zealand, where health care in reality is not free but expensive. correspondent@safe-mail.net

    • Colonial Rawshark 9.1

      What’s that strange hyperlink in your pseudonym?

    • stargazer 9.2

      i’d be interested in your definition of “true blue kiwi”. what does that mean exactly? who does it include & who does it exclude?

      glad to hear your friend has received the treatment he needed.

  10. dave 10

    sadly his is the society they voted for new zealanders are spinless how much of this crap are they willing to tolerate before they get a collective spine and riot because key and co are giveing you all the fingers.

  11. Sable 11

    This is interesting. I know someone living in a Western country like NZ who is Asian (I wont name names or the country). They told me they would have been better off staying in their country of origin as they are on the bread line. He told me the challenges was based around English language skills, education, I’ll add potential discrimination which is hard to measure and of course the long running depression (lets call it what it is, recession my ass).

    Are we really doing people a favour letting them come here when they face such hardship? I know some of the people in these stats may have been born here bet I’ll bet a good number are new arrivals. Many can’t go home either as countries like China won’t allow dual citizenship.

    Just as importantly what are these immigration figures hiding in terms of people leaving this country for a better life elsewhere? What skills and talent are we losing? I know of several very clever, highly paid people who have exited NZ in the last few years because they see it as a lame duck country with shitty government, poor health provisions and a defunct economy. I’ve little doubt they are right.

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