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The Persuader

My personal blog, started in 2006.



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30.08.2014

Conservatives: ‘The Chinese’ are coming! It’s the yellow peril!

We hear from certain parties that proclaim that they want one law for all New Zealanders, yet they’ll resort to targeting ethnic minorities anyway. A few weeks ago, Winston Peters had his ‘two Wongs’ joke, easily dismissed as being as passé as a Rolf Harris act. I see the Conservatives are now doing the same with their latest publicity, spotted by Robyn Gallagher, who Tweeted the following images.

   Let’s put the core claim into context, leaving aside for now how ‘The Chinese’ smacks of yellow peril when writ in such large letters, as well as hypocrisy.
   The Fairfax Press noted in a 2012 article that Overseas Investment Office says, ‘of the 872,313 hectares of gross land sold to foreign interests over the past five years, only 223ha were sold to Chinese.
   ‘People from the landlocked principality of Liechtenstein had purchased 10 times more land than the Chinese—2,144ha in the same period.
   ‘The top buyers were the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and Israel. The United States had 194 purchases for a total of 193,208ha.’
   For some reason, Johnny Foreigner seems a lot less threatening to mainstream New Zealand if they look like James Cameron (the proud owner of 1,000 ha) or Shania Twain (leases for 25,000 ha along with her husband).
   The Pengxin deal that the Conservatives are using for fear-mongering, 13,800 ha, is a lot—but they are getting more flak than the 176,902 ha sold by Carter Holt Harvey to US interests some years ago.
   I don’t have the latest figures but I’m betting China isn’t at the top of the list.
   Tina Ng notes, ‘another funny thing is that Mr Craig has actually sold a lot of property to Chinese,’ adding that this was mentioned on The Nation on TV3.
   Robyn Tweets that there is ‘A strange lack of white foreign landowners …’ in the Conservative materials.
   I’m not saying that this isn’t an important issue, but if we’re going to talk about overseas land ownership—where the figure is in the 10 per cent mark (the Prime Minister says 1 per cent)—the use of yellow peril should be beneath any political party.
   The red with yellow stars in the Conservative materials intentionally conveys Cold War fears and the spectre of Maoism. It’s as dated as ‘two Wongs’.
   New Zealanders of Chinese descent are no different to other Kiwis when it comes to what’s important, and the first fliers I saw from the Conservatives could have appealed to many with their talk of tougher penalties for criminals and binding referenda.
   But the claim of ‘One law to rule us all’, on which a quarter of its publicity rested, no longer has validity. Given the larger share of New Zealand land in non-Chinese hands, the Conservatives’ latest comes across as ignorant, missing the point of who actually controls this country’s land and commerce. And they’ll lose votes from Chinese New Zealanders who may have been sympathetic to their cause.
   If they want to beat this drum, there are real issues such as foreigners controlling 33 per cent of our stock market, or the fact that the biggest owners of our companies are based in Australia, the US, the UK, Singapore, Netherlands, Japan, the British Virgin Islands, Hong Kong, Cayman Islands, Canada, Switzerland, China and France.
   These surely impact on many issues, including our tax revenues and our overall competitiveness, more greatly.
   Essentially what they are saying is: our policy is that race doesn’t matter. Except when it comes to vilifying a group, it does. Let’s ignore the real culprits, because: ‘The Chinese’.
   It’s a shame given that Conservative leader Colin Craig has had his share of stereotyping because of his religious beliefs. Conservative supporters point to the hard time the media have given him.
   I’m reminded of Matthew 7:12 from the Sermon on the Mount.
   Divisive techniques trouble me, and they should trouble the parties, because they make me wonder if these politicians have a clue about unity, nationhood, and the reality of the 21st century.
   In a post earlier this month, I quoted Robert Muldoon: ‘throughout the length and breadth of this country we have always been prepared to accept each other on the basis of behaviour and regardless of colour, creed, origin or wealth. That is the most valuable feature of New Zealand society and the reason why I have time and again stuck my neck out to challenge those who would try to destroy this harmony and set people against people inside our country.’
   Those words still resonate today, and should resonate to any New Zealander who sees strength in what our country stands for: the Kiwi sense of fair play, tolerance, and team spirit.
   Unfortunately, between the Conservatives’ latest, ‘two Wongs’ (and its dismissal by the PM as merely ‘a stunt’, in spite of an open door to attack it), and Dirty Politics, certain people in the political arena seem woefully out of touch with New Zealanders.

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Filed under: business, globalization, New Zealand, politics—Jack Yan @ 08.50

3 Responses to ‘Conservatives: ‘The Chinese’ are coming! It’s the yellow peril!’

  1. […] go into the details of the flyer and my views on this. You can read other Jack Yan’s article if you are interested in some of the discussions related to the […]

  2. […] inside our country.’    And my reaction to the Conservative Party’s latest publicity, which was recorded on this blog, and repeated for good measure on Tumblr: ‘Essentially what they are saying is: our policy is […]

  3. […] Sadly, Phil Twyford’s “sino-phobic” blame on Chinese based on their family names is not new. Last year, the Conservative Party distributed campaign flyers with a massive “Sold to the Chinese” on their story about Lochinver. (See Jack Yan’s Conservatives: ‘The Chinese’ are coming! It’s the yellow peril! ) […]

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