Thursday, 28 February 2013

yes, this is racist

come on, tv3 news team, you can do much better than this:

Of the 200 people at an auction on Auckland’s North Shore today about half were Asian. Three houses sold in 20 minutes, all to Asians.

If the bidders aren't New Zealand residents or citizens, if they are foreign buyers - the Greens would like restrictions placed on them.

They say it's not racist; it's about controlling house prices.

no, the green party's policy is not racist, but the way tv3 has reported this is totally so.  note that they focus on the number of asians at the auction and raise a question as to whether they are nz residents/citizens.
why focus on the asians?  it's equally possible that the white people present aren't nz resident/citizens either.  they could be residents of australia, canada, uk, europe, the US, south africa, zimbabwe, or one of a growing number of caucasians who live and work in the middle east, africa, asia or the pacific islands.  why was the question of residency/citizenship even a question in their case?

to link the story and the policy of foreign ownership to asians is crass and plainly racist.  especially when people who have brought large tracts of land, such as shanaia twain or james cameron, have little mention of ethnicity or nationality.  none of the politicians spoken to mentioned asians, nor a particular race or nationality, not even a continent.  so why did patrick gower feel the need to in this story?  why the scaremongering over the fact that 3 houses were bought by asians?

maybe if there were actual facts presented to show that asians who aren't nz residents/citizens are buying up more property than caucasians who aren't nz residents/citizens, then possibly there would have been justification for even mentioning race or nationality.  but there were no facts, just innuendo of the crassest kind.  it was totally  unnecessary.


K said...

Yea, I found it to be an irresponsible piece of journalism. They could have focused on the overseas ads targeting foreign buyers rather than what race outbid another more "kiwi" looking race (?) at auction.

Incidentally I was checking out the price of shipping something purchased on Amazon. Scrolling down the list I found that according to their shipping policy NZ is classed as "Asia".

JulesV said...

Having researched developments owned by persons without residency, whose profits go offshore I ahve foudn that Chinese figure largely, including as 'directors' of companies with names that sound as if the company is a NZ one. Included are Chow Bros with Willis St parking, brothels and interests in oil. There's others with developments (!) ?) that are destroying beach and wetlands environments. So reporting this is important. Green Party are right to raise a flag about this. If you are unsure look at Company records all available online. Just needs a good effort to research. Also Japanese company leasing Crown land, using resources and sending 90% profits offshore, north of Wellington. Asset sales are happening. People just are too foolish to realise.

stargazer said...

@julesv: citation needed. please provide a link to stats that prove what you're saying ie research that actually exists. not just a "if you research this, you will find it's true" - that's not good enough. if you're going to claim something is true, it's your responsibility to provide the research to back up your exertion.

as i already said in the post, if the story had actually provided some facts about ownership, they would have had a valid reason to mention asians. but it didn't.

@k: lol at the last bit. if we're not asia, we're definitely pacific islanders!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I saw this and was genuinely shocked. I can only hope for a forthcoming apology. I took to Twitter about it, but noticed you can't make random comments on their FB page. I really hope people complain.

Anonymous said...

@JulesV the one example that you give that actually gives names, the Chow Group, is NZ owned. Michael and John Chow haved lived here since 1984. Yes, Asians can be New Zealanders too: shocking, isn't it?

Mark Hubbard said...

For the record, the Greens are xenophobes. It's impossible to deny that. (Xenophobic is not racist, necessarily, but to the extent it's patriotic it's dangerous, as well as being, of course, economically Luddite.)

What ever happened to the 'Internationale' for the Left? Only libertarians, like myself, seem to ascribe to that now.

Protect a job here, et al, deny a subsistence job and a step in the third world. No member of Greens has ever explained the morality of that to me, and using logic, it has to be predicated on the abhorrent belief of a third world life being cheaper than a New Zealand one.

(Um, by the way, I'm not following you over from Twitter, anjum, I simply saw the subject line of your post on Lindsay Mitchell's blog :) Serendipity, I guess. I do share your low opinion of the MSM.

stargazer said...

@mark, i'm sorry but i'm not interested in hosting the kind of comment of your first couple of sentences. if you want to use hyperbole and random name-calling as regards the greens, feel free to do so at your own blog or at lindsay's.

re the policy - i agree with the notion that nz land be held by nz residents/citizens and that any profits from the land be retained in the country. the problem arises when these residents/citizens leave the country for a long period or permanently - do we force them to sell? i have some problems with that.

but the way this story has implied a yellow peril is just not on.

@ anon at 10.20pm: please remember that it is our policy that you use a consistent handle. thanx.

Mark Hubbard said...

In those first two sentences I was stating fact, without hyperbole: I've found over time that the accusation of ad hominem often masks the inability to make a reasoned response?

A country to progress its standard of living needs foreign investment. And better, such investment carries with it the crucial non-tangible value of cross-cultural interaction, which Green policy would most illiberally deny us.

Your notion of 'profits being retained in NZ' is flat wrong (said respectfully): at least, to hold that position, then you would have to be able to answer the question I raised to Selwyn Pellett in this post.

And seriously, what did happen to the Internationale? Why is a life in NZ worth more than one elsewhere?

It's always cold in this blog; you need to keep a little warmth going.

stargazer said...

@mark: sorry, it's not fact, it's your opinion. and there hasn't been any ad-hom attack on you. nor do i need you to tell me how to run my posts - if you don't like the atmosphere, don't come here. i'm not interested in patronising comments.

re foreign investment, yes we can have that but we can regulate and control it. and if we reinvest nz-generated profits in nz, then we will need less of that foreign investment.

if you're looking for a free-movement immigration policy, i think that would only work if it was on a global scale & everyone agreed to it. certainly i'm not in favour of current immigration policies where we (& many other countries) only take the best and brightest of other countries while leaving the poorest back in their homeland to suffer.

but in terms of land ownership: either we treat land as a resource to be owned by the state, or if we allow private ownership, then that ownership should be a real possibility for you in the place where you live. which means everyone deserves to have a fair and decent living wage, and prices that aren't fueled by the speculation by those who are already wealthy (and it doesn't actually matter where they come from or what race/nationality they hold). these things require regulation because the free market does not provide them.

re your question - i see about 5 question marks in your post so not sure exactly which question you are referring to. but i really don't see what any of it has to do with the racist coverage of this particular policy by 3news, which is the actual topic of the post.

Scorpio said...

Stargazer, you say that restricting foreign ownership of land would keep land prices down, but I think there's little evidence of this. Land prices in NZ are chiefly driven up by NZ-based investors because of the lack of a capital gains tax. Shutting out foreign investors would only have a very marginal effect. Trying to present exclusion of foreigners as a solution to a problem they are not causing is not just bad policy, it is, indeed, xenophobic, which while not explicitly racist (since it also excludes white foreigners) isn't a million miles away from racism, either. I don't support the Greens' policy either, and I think it is xenophobic. (And for the record, I'm not a libertarian. Well, not of the kind Mark Hubbard is, I might be a left libertarian in the same way Noam Chomsky is)

There is something to be said for regulation to allow land ownership, but I think the form of regulation the Greens are proposing is not the solution.

stargazer said...

Scorpio, I don't think it would keep prices down without other measures as well. Similarly a capital gains tax won't stop speculation - Australia had one but it didn't keep prices down. In terms of the foreign ownership restrictions, I guess it's just one way of restricting demand for something that can't have an increase in supply.

I don't see the connection to xenophobia, unless you're claiming the policy is based on a hatred of foreigners. And I don't see that it is.

Psycho Milt said...

What ever happened to the 'Internationale' for the Left? Only libertarians, like myself, seem to ascribe to that now.

What? The? Fuck? Are you taking the piss, or what? Internationalism for the left is about supporting the exploited whatever country they live in and not trying to make their situation worse to improve your own. What it most definitely was not ever and is not now about is the supporting the ability of rich people to exploit others for personal gain on an international basis.

Scorpio said...

Stargazer, when you present a policy that focuses on discriminating against people because they are not NZers as a solution to a problem that it is not a solution to, that is xenophobic. It doesn't have to be motivated by actual hatred, it can be a cynical ploy to divert discussion on the real issue.

If we were talking about people claiming that recent immigrants should be excluded from social welfare to make it affordable, which is in many ways a similar situation*, I don't think the question of whether the people trying to exclude them are truly motivated by hatred would be relevant to calling it xenophobia or not.

But if to you, use of the word xenophobia requires actual hatred, OK, the Green's policy isn't xenophobic. It's just scapegoating foreign land owners for a problem that they aren't responsible for, and advocating a restriction of their rights despite the fact that restriction will bring no benefit. I don't know what word to use for that other than 'xenophobia', but whatever word we use for it, it's pretty unpleasant behaviour and the Greens deserve to be criticised for it.

*Even if the 'foreigners' in the latter cause are usually a lot more disadvantaged than those buying land.

Scorpio said...

And just for the record so people don't think I'm some libertarian droid sent here to defend Mark, Mark, your witterings about the internationale as relevant as they're comprehensible.

Mark Hubbard said...

Milt said:

Internationalism for the left is about supporting the exploited whatever country they live in and not trying to make their situation worse to improve your own.

Then explain why Left policy in NZ is always about protecting local industry from cheap labour in Asia - that's denying subsistence jobs in Asia to protect jobs here. Read the last stanza of Chris Trotter's social democrat's credo (Google): it drips with the abhorrent blood of nationalism and patriotism, and in that is, frankly, weird, in a Trotskyite context, right down to the flag waving.

International trade, foreign investment, including in our land, is the best way to ensure no more wars.

Looking at Scorpio's post, the policy anjum writes on here is xenophobic, you're right, but because it is, vis a vis the Trotter piece, symptomatic of that strange null-minded nationalism that has entered left politics in NZ (normally the preserve of the Christ-freak conservatives).

And anjum, regarding the earlier link to my blog, answer all or any of the questions I raise, for they're all connected, and show the lie of Green policy in this area.

But to sum up everything, this Green policy is fundamentally illiberal, and I though they/you were liberals?

Mark Hubbard said...

... sorry, typo: 'thought they were liberals'.

Oh Scorpio, don't worry about all the droid stuff: look at my blog, I don't think I'm a droid, I defend every position I take, and I have a bit more passion than a droid. In fact, let's leave droids to the Borg.

Although I don't care what people think of me.

Anonymous said...

Xenophobia = a fear or dislike of people from other countries (foreigners). Green Party policy restricting foreign ownership of limited resources = sustainability, local control over these resources and reduced demand on these resources. Not the same motivations, not the same results, not the same thing.


stargazer said...

@mark: there's a big difference between liberal and libertarian. Yes, I'm ok with restricting right in favour of the oppressed and marginalised to even up the balance of power in society.

@scotpio: you keep saying there will be no effect but I disagree with you. It won't solve the problem on its own, but I believe it will have effect as part of a range of policies.

LudditeJourno said...

This conversation feels like it's moved a long way from stargazer's original point - the simplistic racism of the msm framing of complex issues. Just like to agree with you stargazer on that point.
And if we think about the "foreign" ownership in terms of Te Tiriti, we have another way of framing it I think - that of ongoing colonisation and Treaty breaches. Indigenous peoples in many parts of the world call for policies like the Green Party's for that very reason.

Mark Hubbard said...

anjum wrote:

there's a big difference between liberal and libertarian.

Yes, but what's liberal about 'you don't belong to this society, you can't buy property here'?

LudditeJourno wrote:

And if we think about the "foreign" ownership in terms of Te Tiriti, we have another way of framing it I think - that of ongoing colonisation and Treaty breaches. Indigenous peoples in many parts of the world call for policies like the Green Party's for that very reason.

That's an interesting take. But also where my views, and your's, would diverge. I don't want to be living in a tribalistic society such as denotes indigenous peoples: I believe the peaceful society can only be structured around the individual, and if you try to legislate rights on a collective basis, groups, then that leads, from the proofs of history, to atrocity and the wiping out of individuals, more times than not. But at least an argument along the lines of this doesn't try to pretend there are economic benefits, when in fact it's the opposite.

LudditeJourno said...

Mark your last comment, in my opinion, is racist. "Tribalistic"? What are you trying to denote with that term? And talking about "peaceful society" in the same sentence as you critique indigenous communities for being organised collectively, in the context of colonisation, is just obscene. How "peaceful" do you think colonisation has been for Maori? Or is "peace" only important for you?

Mark Hubbard said...

I mean tribal as in collectivist. Having to live your life by the norms imposed by the group, having your identity being that of the group and judged on same. Laws for the common good - ie, Soviet styled slave society - rather than constitutional arrangements that do only the one thing which is the role of state: to protect it's smallest minority - the individual.

A society that is based on protection of the individual, and understands individualism, can have no racism, sexism, et al.

I touch on it in this post:

I think you're looking for racists in the last place you'll find them. And you've taken me way out of context: by indigenous society I was looking back, in order to look forward to a free society: you've conflated the two.

LudditeJourno said...

Let's agree to disagree Mark. I have too many things I'd rather be doing than argue with you I'm afraid, and I don't accept almost any of your assumptions which means any ongoing conversation would just take up time I don't want to spend.

Scorpio said...

Mark, I really think you're just trying to skew the discussion towards talking about you and your views.

Stargazer, it wouldn't have no effect, but it is not the solution the Greens are treating it as. To go back to my metaphor, restricting immigrants' access to social welfare wouldn't have no effect either, but it is not the solution some groups promote it as.

LJ, I'm not a treaty expert but I think it is actually quite specific about land sales, and it actually forbids the sale of Maori land to anybody except the crown. Obviously this isn't followed, which is another issue (oddly most Maori groups don't seem that keen on it being followed either, which I don't understand, but then I am not Maori so why should I?) But Te Tiriti makes no distinction between foreigners and non-Maori NZers. Claiming that it supports a ban on foreign land ownership seems weird to me, I'm sorry.

LudditeJourno said...

Scorpio - I'm not suggesting that at all, sorry if it sounded like that. I'm talking about how we understand concepts of land ownership in a place where land has been taken through legislation and theft, and the Crown is still needing to make reparations for that. And where newer legislation continues to do the same thing sadly, like the Foreshore and Seabed Act. Feels like continual colonisation to me.

Anonymous said...

It is not *racist*, it is *xenophobic*. They're not worried about Asians buying houses because they believe that the asian race is inferior, they are afraid of it being "foreign owned" instead of being "New Zealand" owned.

People constantly misusing the "r" word (especially in the USA) have almost completely destroyed the credibility of any one claiming that any act or belief is "racist".


Scorpio said...

LJ, I'm not for a moment apologising for the Crown's land policy. But I don't think foreign private land ownership makes it any harder for the government to meet its obligations than local private land ownership. Legally, morally and practically, it is no harder for the NZ government to confiscate or compulsorily purchase or whatever foreign-owned land than it is locally-owned land.

I agree that private land ownership is problematic for treaty settlement.* But the nationality of the private ownership seems altogether immaterial.

Mikaere Curtis said...

@Scorpio, the Green Party policy is not xenophobic. You don't have to be a New Zealand citizen to own land but you DO have to come and live here. i.e. be a permanent resident.

If you don't want to live here then you can rent while you are visiting.

Anyone else who wants to purchase land can purchase it in their own country.

Scorpio said...

@Mikaere, I would hardly expect a Green Party member to stand up and say 'we are xenophobic', any more than I would expect a National Party member to stand up and say 'we don't like the poor'. Members of a Party are not best placed to identify that Party's flaws and they are certainly not the final word.

The distinction between banning non-citizens and banning non-residents from ownership is academic, you are still denying people rights based on their being 'foreign'. There is no reason to believe that NZ-based capitalists will behave better than non NZ-based capitalists other than a general belief that that which is associated with NZ is morally superior to that which isn't. And, yes, that's xenophobia.

Anonymous said...

By that logic isn't citizenship inherently xenophobic?

And since when do overseas people have the "right" to buy land in use the word right as if someone is proposing human rights violations. There's no innate right to own or purchase land that I'm aware of.

my 2 cents.