Labour's returning MP Raymond Huo says the party's handling of its attack on foreign buyers based on Chinese surnames was "unfortunate" and clearing up the confusion was "a huge task."
Huo will return to Parliament next week to fill the List position left after Jacinda Ardern's win of the Mt Albert byelection.
One of Huo's jobs will be rebuilding relations with the Chinese community after Labour's "Chinese surnames" analysis of a real estate agent's data to try to prove high levels of foreign ownership in Auckland - something Huo said had created a discrepancy between what Labour's policy was and how it was seen in the community.
"The method was unfortunate, but its intention was right.
"The intention is Labour's policy is designed to put the interests of Kiwis - including Chinese Kiwis - ahead of those of foreigners - including Chinese people."
Huo said there was confusion and misunderstanding about the issue and the task of clearing that up was "huge" - partly because of a backlash on social media by some in the Chinese community after a call for Labour to apologise.
Huo was in Parliament from 2008 to 2014 but did not make it back in in 2014. He had watched from afar as Labour's Phil Twyford ran the campaign against foreign property buyers aimed at promoting Labour's policy to ban foreign ownership of residential land in New Zealand.
He said Labour's lack of a Chinese MP had meant Labour did not have anyone in Parliament to defend them against accusations of xenophobia. Although he had tried from outside, he did not have the status of MP.
"That is why we have got a lot of work to do."
Huo said he supported that policy but had argued in favour of a stamp duty rather than a ban when he was last in Parliament about four years ago.
He had put up a paper proposing a similar model to that of Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore. That included a double stamp duty - where a tax was imposed on a purchase and a further stamp duty was charged if that property was onsold within a period of time.
He said local Chinese were also concerned about their children going up against foreign buyers when they wanted to enter the property market.
Huo will return to Parliament determined to tackle another problem that has eluded many: Auckland's traffic.
He has an idea for a member's bill ready to go: he proposes to require immigrants entering New Zealand under investor categories to put that money into local government bonds to pay for infrastructure.
"We need to think about unconventional ways to raise capital to support local government infrastructure. One thing I do not accept is we've only got 1.5 million population yet we are facing a similar level of frustration in terms of traffic congestion as in Beijing. And they have 40 million population."
Huo was on Auckland Mayor Phil Goff's campaign team and says that taught him a lot about issues facing Auckland. Goff has called for Auckland Council to be given alternative revenue raising streams other than rates.
Huo, a lawyer, said he had no qualms about leaving his job as a lawyer to return to Parliament even if it might only be for six months.
He said Little had not given him any assurance of a high list placing and he had not sought it. "No single person, even if it is the party leader, can give that kind of guarantee."
He was confident he would be able to get work as a lawyer again if he did not get back in.
Labour leader Andrew Little had wanted Huo back to give the party some ethnic representation so Moana Mackey and Maryan Street had both agreed to give up their places above Huo.