Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

Chinese Auckland comments 'not helpful' - Greens

Comments from a real estate agent about Auckland being 'too Chinese' were not 'fact-based' says the Green Party. Photo / NZ Herald
Comments from a real estate agent about Auckland being 'too Chinese' were not 'fact-based' says the Green Party. Photo / NZ Herald

Green Party immigration spokeswoman Denise Roche said the comments about Auckland feeling too Chinese weren't helpful.

"The blanket statements that he made could drive up xenophobia. Auckland is a very diverse city, and I've met so many really cool people from all different ethnicities who are now New Zealanders and living here adding to the fabric of this city. And it's wonderful.

"What worries me is it's not fact-based. We have a very high proportion of international students in New Zealand. Some of what he is referring to is not permanent."

Roche said the Green Party did want a review of current immigration settings to ensure the right skill-sets were being targeted.

'He should go home' - Chinese community react to real estate agent who said Auckland was too Chinese
Auckland too much like China says Chinese immigrant and real estate agent

On housing, the party wants a capital gains tax that excludes the family home, and a ban on foreigners buying housing

Labour's immigration spokesman Iain Lees-Galloway said the immigration debate was about whether the right mix of skills were being brought into the country.

"The country that people come from is irrelevant to that debate."

Lees-Galloway last week released figures that he said showed the Government approved work visas for 6500 labourers despite there being 15,600 unemployed labourers in New Zealand.

Labour also wants a ban on foreigners buying houses, and caused a storm of controversy last year when housing spokesman Phil Twyford highlighted the large number of Chinese-sounding names on a list of 4000 residential purchases in Auckland.

National has since called on the party to apologise to Chinese New Zealanders. Lees-Galloway rejected the charge that data and resulting publicity had created any anti-Chinese sentiment.

Labour MP and mayoral candidate Phil Goff said he would not single out any group in the community, as was done by the property agent.

But immigration levels should be brought down temporarily, he said.

"You can't keep increasing Auckland's population at record rates of immigration without funding transport and housing infrastructure to cope with the added demand.

"Immigration is good for New Zealand but we need to ease the level down until housing and transport infrastructure catches up with the growth, or we will end up with worsening congestion and even less affordable housing."

- NZ Herald

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