'The world is changing' - Chinese react

By Carolyne Meng-Yee

Chinese lawyer Arthur Loo has responded to the comments by a Chinese real estate agent that Auckland is too Chinese. Photo / Greg Bowker
Chinese lawyer Arthur Loo has responded to the comments by a Chinese real estate agent that Auckland is too Chinese. Photo / Greg Bowker

A Chinese real estate agent has penned an opinion piece for the Herald saying that Auckland is overwhelmed with Chinese.

The man said that instead of seeing a balanced ethnic mix, the city had "started to acquire an unwholesome Chinese flavour".

There were poorly designed, cheap signs written only in Chinese or with next to no English at every corner of the central suburbs.

The Herald spoke to people within the Chinese community for their response.

Arthur Loo, lawyer executive board and member of the New Zealand China Council

"I doubt very much this was written by a Chinese person - it is anonymous, which is a danger. There's always a danger responding to something that's anonymous.

"It's cowardly, if you want to come out and make an attack on the Chinese, front up and do it, identify yourself- how much credibility can you give that?

"It looks like it's come out of the Black Ops department of NZ First - it presses all the "hot issue" buttons... housing, education. I think it's been written by a mischievous non- Chinese person.

What's your response to the quote Auckland has acquired an unwholesome Chinese flavour?

"Auckland has become very cosmopolitan - to say it's unwholesome - that is subjective. Is an alcohol-fuelled lifestyle wholesome, our teenage pregnancy rate wholesome, is our homelessness wholesome, is our domestic violence wholesome?

"Again, if he says who he says he is... it's a fair bet he's thriving off the Chinese market. If he doesn't like Chinese coming to NZ he shouldn't accept Chinese business.

What do you think about the fact this person has sent the email to Winston?

"It sounds like it came from the publicity department of NZ First - he could've sent it to your publication. I am suspicious that this person is not who he says he is - it's been served up to create mischief.

Is there anything you want to say to this person?

"Do the noble thing and save Auckland by leaving. I think Winston should produce the email in full so we can read it and find out where it came from.

"To quote two anonymous people from Tokyo, of all places, they couldn't give a toss. A Japanese person wouldn't say that... it's more likely a white person coming to NZ might say that, not an Asian person complaining about Auckland being too Asian.

"So what's unwholesome about the Chinese - is it the Chinese dollars? Is it the Chinese capital that's building much needed tourism infrastructure? They are supplying the capital and the manpower.

"When people talk about Chinese buying up all our houses it's a small percentage. My experience is people who are buying up are locals - they come into my office to sign up. I'm not sending stuff off to Shanghai or Beijing, they come into the office."

Meng Foon, Mayor of Gisborne and national president of the NZ Chinese Association

Gisborne Mayor, Meng Foon has also responded to the comments. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Gisborne Mayor, Meng Foon has also responded to the comments. Photo / Sarah Ivey

"If people feel concerned about too many [Chinese] the Government needs to tighten up on overseas buyers, allow them to buy one house and be residents in NZ.

"I disagree with the email that the Asians coming here are low-income people. There are lots of skilled immigrants that are working for corporates and public organisations in NZ who are contributing well."

What do you think about the fact that person has emailed this to Winston?

"I think it's cowardly - who knows who wrote that article. If it was written by a Chinese person,he should not have come here in the first place - to add another number to what he's concerned about. He should go home.

"It's hard to believe an Asian real estate agent would write this stuff, it's detrimental to his whole income.

"Also his comments regarding cheapening the shops... it wasn't that long ago Dominion Rd was empty. It's now thriving and vibrant - it's brought a lot of diversity and small business. We also have more festivals to celebrate, Chinese New Year, Lantern festivals, Dragon dances - it adds to our diversity."

You are NZ born and have children here - what do you say to those Kiwis who can't afford to get on the property ladder?

"Well they can come to Gisborne, Napier, Hastings, Whakatane, Opotiki to buy a house. Not everyone has to live in Auckland."

Not everyone can find a job in those places?

"There are thousands of jobs being advertised in provincial NZ and those people who are struggling to buy a house in Auckland should look to the provinces for jobs... marketing jobs, work in forestry. Accountants, doctors, nurses, viticulture horticulture, agriculture."

David Soh, editor Mandarin Pages

David Soh, editor Mandarin Pages Chinese language newspaper based in Auckland. Photo / Greg Bowker
David Soh, editor Mandarin Pages Chinese language newspaper based in Auckland. Photo / Greg Bowker

"There is a Chinese saying that 'you love yourself, and not hate yourself' and the writer here just shows that he not only hates himself, but his own community too.

"Auckland has evolved, a few hundred years ago it was Maori, then it became European and now it's multicultural.

"The world is changing. Is it too Chinese, I don't think so. If the real estate agent is not happy about living in Auckland, he is free to leave.

"The Chinese who immigrate here do adopt Western values, some speak good English and others at least basic English.

"By contrast, if you look at the Western immigrants to China, how many can speak Chinese as well as the immigrants here who speak English, or adopt the culture and the food. If this is genuinely an issue, why does this person go to Winston Peters rather than voice his concerns on Chinese radio or Chinese media.

"It is funny, and I do have my doubts that the writer is actually Chinese or a migrant."

- NZ Herald

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