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You’re All Racists – Minister

Written By: - Date published: 8:11 am, September 3rd, 2010 - 34 comments
Categories: farming, overseas investment - Tags:

So, according to Maurice Williamson, we’re all racist.

The Land Information Minister is currently deciding whether a Chinese consortium can buy 16 former Crafar farms.  So we know what he’s softening us up for.

People’s concerns with that deal I’m sure have nothing to do with the leader of the bid having previously deserted NZ investors with a bucketful of debt.  Or that it would appear that they wish to integrate the farms with their Chinese distribution and market, meaning no profit for New Zealand out of anything produced on the farm.  It will grow China’s economy nicely, not ours.

And general concerns about foreign investment I’m sure have nothing to do with all the profit that’s farmed off overseas, leaving this country impoverished.  All that railing against Australian banks is obviously just racism.

Williamson raises a red herring of a former National Party colleague with a strong Scottish accent criticising foreign ownership – when the former Scot owned a farm himself!

Newsflash: if you move here you’re not a foreigner.

Concern about foreign investment has everything to do with enriching New Zealand, something National understands little about.  Profits going overseas weaken our economy – that flow of money is most of our current account deficit.  If we’re all foreign owned, it inevitably reduces our sovereignty too, our ability to make our own decisions.

So Maurice, no, we’re not racist.  We just care about our country’s interests, rather than big business’.  Do you?

34 comments on “You’re All Racists – Minister”

  1. prism 1

    Analysis from the towering intellect of Maurice Williamson. Perhaps The Standard could have some set commendations with a particular one suitable being awarded to jerks like this professional politician who must be a pet being fed by his electorate and party and receiving that complacent affection of owners who never bothered with puppy training.

  2. toad 2

    The beauty of this, as frog points out here, is that Williamson has effectively labeled Bill English a racist. Here’s English a month ago:

    Public debate over the issue “would benefit from more information” such as where most buyers were based.

    “Just a tiny fraction of approvals are from countries outside of the UK and the US, France and the Netherlands,” he said.

    • While I certainly think that Maurice is more than just overegging the pudding here, there is in fact a grain of truth to what he is saying to be fair.

      The arguments against foreign ownership and control of New Zealand’s assets tend to be very appealling to those who would use it to justify their own racist worldview – aka they have little problem with the Julian Robertsons and the Shania Twains, but if it is a Lee, Zheng, or Wang, they throw their toys out of the cot in such a fury, that would threaten to consign the “Yellow Peril” to a footnote in NZ’s ugly ethnic history.

      When framing the argument as one to protect the interests of New Zealander’s, we must be careful to avoid giving foreign countries the perception of xenophobia.

      • toad 2.1.1

        Sure, there are low-lifes who support Winston Peters on the basis that he’ll “make sure New Zealand doesn’t fall into the hands of the chinks, wogs and slopes”.

        But there are principled and sound economic and ecological arguments that the Greens put up against large-scale foreign investment. Williamson is deliberately trying to confuse the two by branding everyone who opposes foreign investment as racist..

  3. g-sus 3

    fantastic diversionary arguement – straight to the heart of guilt-ridden NZ.

    here’s hoping a class-based analsysis of neoliberalism is sweeping the nation.

  4. prism 4

    Foreign landlord ownership on our farms is likely to lead to more bad practices unsanctioned or illegal that will diminish our standing in global markets. An error or deliberate and flagrant breaking of our controls and regulations will possibly damage the individual business which can abandon its involvement here, but will definitely permanently damage our export trade and prices.

    Crafars had been up on animal mistreatment charges. More of this will occur as these large investors plough into our individual farmer population, and run amalagamated land units as industrial businesses wringing the maximum profit.
    Sweated labour was imposed on helpless people in NZ before we established work controls and those are always under pressure from business. The cows and other animals need to be protected by laws that are actively imposed to maintain fair standards of treatment. The inflation of farm prices need to be examined, ensuring that NZs and others who are committed to living and operating farms here are the vast majority of this industry, our major reliable earner and national asset. We should be looking too at a capital profit tax that includes farms be introduced.

  5. Blighty 5

    great, silience from Labour, again.

    Honestly, what do the goffice do all day?

    Imagine what Key in opposition would have said had this been a Labour minister. He wouldn’t have turned down a gift like this.

    • gobsmacked 5.1

      Yep.

      5 a.m. Story breaks, on Stuff/Dom-Post. By noon, story appears on numerous blogs, in news bulletins, on talkback, Greens issue press release, etc.

      Here’s what should be happening, every day between now and the election:

      5 a.m. Story breaks. 6 a.m. Labour’s response prepared. 7 a.m. Relevant Labour spokesperson available for all morning media. From 9 a.m: Follow-up with visuals, e.g. on a farm, for evening TV bulletin. Include the same soundbite, “owning our future” or whatever, in all interviews. Repeat ad nauseam.

      Here’s what actually happens:

      Parliament is in recess. So Labour is too.

      But next week, when the story has died, they will have a question to the Minister, and 1% of the population will notice.

      • toad 5.1.1

        Problem is, gobsmacked, that Labour is almost as pro-foreign investment as National, so I think this is as much a policy difficulty for them as an organisational one.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1

          /agreed

          Labour still refuse to drop the RWNJ neoliberal economic system or capitalism even though both have proven that they cannot work.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    Well, it appears that most people, through the Stuff unscientific poll, disagree with him. I’m sure going round telling everyone that they’re racist is causing Good Things to happen to NACTs support.

  7. rich 7

    Unusually, Williamson has a point. There’s no reason why a foreigner should be a worse corporate citizen than Crafar or Hubbard. (Hard to see how, in fact)

    The “profits going overseas” argument is better, but NZ owners send their dollars overseas as well, whether it’s Key’s holiday homes or Telecom’s Aussie “investments”.

    Really, I think there’s a good argument for having productive assets in community hands but not for saying that rich NZers are somehow “better” than rich foreigners.

    • prism 7.1

      I wrote above about foreign remote landlords. That alone is cause for concern by people who aren’t relaxed about everything.

    • BLiP 7.2

      There you go following National Ltd™’s attempt to make this an ad hom attack on all New Zealanders. The argument isn’t about the worthiness of owners, its an economic argument about it being better for New Zealand. If the profits stay here, investment stays here. We know that. Its a fact. This latest crap from Williamson runs counter to his own government’s encouragement for that investment.

      In fact, Williamson’s argument is about as useful as his comments about there being no fat people in Nazi concentration camps.

      • rich 7.2.1

        I thought an ad-hominem attack was against a specific person. Attacking a widely held opinion of a group isn’t ad-hominem.

        Anyway, there isn’t any particular reason why domestic owners would be more likely to spend their profits locally in a beneficial fashion. Look at all the deadbeat NZ capitalists I mentioned earlier.

        Is Telecom better for NZ than Vodafone?

        • Treetop 7.2.1.1

          Is Telecom better for NZ than Vodaphone?

          Rich Telecoms profit was huge when they held a telecommunications monopoly due to owning the copper wiring and Telecom milked every NZder to the max. This is one example of how a company made a buck load off a valuable assest tied to the land. Part of Vodaphones success is the backlash against Telecom because of Telecom being too greedy.

          Once the horse has bolted, must not be allowed to occur regarding losing the control of Kiwi land to anyone who is eyeing it up off shore.

        • BLiP 7.2.1.2

          Is Telecom better for NZ than Vodafone?

          Yes. They pay their staff more and invest more in New Zealand than Vodaphone.

    • Vicky32 7.3

      I think, Rich, that I must agree with you in part – I am an ESOL teacher, and if I had $10.00 for every time I’ve heard people say “Bl**dy Asians, taking over our country” or “I walked up Queen St yesterday, closed my eyes and thought I was in China” (they can’t even tell a Korean from a Chinese lol)… So, there is racism out there – thanks a bundle Winnie P…
      But concerns about overseas ownership are not (necessarily) racist, provided they also apply to the USA!
      Deb

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    Probably worth reposting this link to Russell Norman’s speech on economic sovereignty again. It shows why people are against foreign ownership and it has nothing to do with racism.

  9. tc 9

    aww how cute to see one of the nat dinosaurs showing what an enlightened 21st century guy he is…..still we should all thank him for his efforts in telecoms, building de-regulation and road funding in auckland during his posts in the bolger/shipley era.

    Ah jobs for the old boys.

  10. Y.G. Huang 10

    A friend pointed out this webpage to me.

    As a citizen and first generation in NZ with Chinese ancestry on my mother’s side, I would like to say that the issue is not about racism but sovereignty and public interest in the nation’s interest. The Minister should stop being such a wanker.

    Thanks for making me lose my last ounce of respect for the current Government.

  11. The Chairman 11

    Well worth a look – Native Affairs special
    http://tinyurl.com/2acy67g

  12. exbrethren 12

    Being called a racist by a w*nker like Williamson who belongs to a party which actively works on getting the redneck vote is laughable.

    Listen Maurice, just because some of us think the country matters more than getting our and our mates pockets lined doesn’t make us racists.

  13. Carol 13

    John Key is now putting Williamson’s comments down to Maurice’s strong sense of humour – a joke that backfired:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/4093013/Ministers-racism-comments-ill-timed-humour

    Mr Key said he thought Mr Williamson was making a point about the variety of reasons why people might resist foreign investment, but reaffirmed his view that New Zealanders needed to be careful around foreign investment.

    ”There are certain aspects where it can play an important role in delivering economic growth, but as I’ve said on numerous occasions recently, I don’t think the wholesale selling of productive land to foreigners is in our best interest, irrelevant of whatever country they come from.”

    Labour leader Phil Goff said Mr Williamson’s comments were ”way off mark”.

    ”This isn’t about racism, it’s about owning our own future. It’s about keeping New Zealand in New Zealand hands.

    ”Kiwis give everyone a fair go, but when it comes to selling off our most productive land, we should keep it in Kiwi hands.

    ”That’s not racist, it’s about owning our future.”

    Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said Mr Williamson’s reasoning had effectively labelled Mr Key as racist.

    But Mr Key was echoing the concerns of many New Zealanders and was not being racist, Dr Norman said.

    ”New Zealand should not be selling off our best assets to Chinese, American or Australian investors.

    ”It’s time ministers within the Key Government dealt with the valid economic concerns of New Zealanders on this issue without accusing those opposed to New Zealand selling its assets into overseas ownership of being racist.”

  14. Y.G. Huang 14

    Can someone tell the so-called ‘Prime’ Minister to drop his lousy attempt to redeem Wanky Williamson’s comments? The PM is only tarnishing himself with his colleague’s stupidity.
    I had expected more and better from this Government. I am disappointed.

    • Tigger 14.1

      Not sure why you expected anything but this from this lot but agreed. Then again, when could Key resist telling us what he thinks about anything? Except secret trusts… And Richard Worth…

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