The Green Party are supporting moves to limit the ability of non-New Zealanders to buy property in New Zealand, following a poll which showed 2/3 of respondents agreed with the idea.
3News decided in its infinite wisdom to jazz up this story by staking out several auctions on Auckland’s North Shore and reporting on how many of the properties went to people who looked Asian.
Sadly, journalist-of-the-people Patrick Gower (and of course it was Patrick Gower) was unable to detain these filthy home-purchasers and demand to see their papers, meaning we may never know how many people-who-can-service-mortgages-and-also-have-different-shaped-us-to-us-white-folk are living among us.
One of them could be behind you right now. Maybe more. They are ninjas, after all. *rimshot*
So all Patrick Gower can tell us is that in 20 minutes, 3 houses were auctioned, all to Asians. He apparently doesn’t even have the services of an intern to check – and add boring old context to the story – that the Asian population of the former North Shore City was 18.5% in the 2006 census.
Personally, I haven’t thought enough about the issue to have a stated opinion either way, but the fact is that while many of the people who answered “yes” to the Reid Research poll are almost certainly racist, and almost certainly picture people of colour – probably their idea of “Asians” – when they think about Foreigners Taking Our Houses, the fact is that a blanket ban on all non-New Zealand residents buying property here isn’t inherently racist.
It’s pretty xenophobic, but that is, actually, a different thing.
It may become racist in practice if our immigration laws unfairly give advantage to white English-speaking people, which they probably do.
Story-time, though: I was in a lecture in my first year of uni, waiting for the lecturer to arrive, when one student – who, yes, was of Asian ethnicity – was approaching by another student of Asian ethnicity and asked to take part in a survey of international students. After sending the inquirer politely on her way, the first student burst into an epic rant on why the fuck did she always get asked to do those bloody surveys, she’s a fucking Kiwi for fuck’s sake, her family have been here forever but everyone always assumes she’s an international student who can’t speak English just because she looks Asian!
It was an eye-opener for the young Queen of Thorns, because of course I too had assumed she was a foreigner based on her physical appearance. Turned out her family had probably been in New Zealand as long as mine.
The earliest Chinese settler in recorded NZ history was Wong Ahpoo Hock Ting, who arrived here in 1842. By 1869 there were over 2,000 Chinese men living in New Zealand – women migrated very rarely. From 1881 to 1944 an unquestionably racist poll tax sought to keep the number of Chinese people entering New Zealand down, which makes this whole story kind of ironic.
The basic fact is: Patrick Gower and 3News ran a racist piece of shit masquerading as in-depth reporting. They deliberately conflated “foreigner” with “Asian”, which is especially terrible of them given this little nugget from the 2008/09 North Shore City Council annual report:
For people born overseas who are now living in North Shore City, the most common birthplace was England.
Maybe next week Paddy could stake out some auctions and breathlessly report on how many of the successful bids came from people with BBC accents. No? I rest my case.