A group of Chinese individuals and businesses are planning on taking out a full-page advertisement in the Herald to speak out against claims that the Chinese are responsible for Auckland's housing problems.

"We have done nothing wrong, but now people will look at Chinese and see us as a problem," said spokesman Sean Liang.

"Although I'm from Taiwan and not from mainland China, people will treat us as though we are all Chinese."

Mr Liang's business, Topdeck Flooring, supplies timber flooring and has dealings with building companies and developers.


"Many of those buying houses here are young couples with children who want to settle and live here," he said.

"But this topic is being raised by a political party just so that they can win votes ... they don't care if their claims make us targets of anti-Chinese sentiments."

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Mr Liang said the group would discuss what to include in the ad, which would be placed in the Herald within the next week.

Labour leader Andrew Little has defended what Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy called "half-baked" data.

The party released figures on Saturday showing nearly 40 per cent of homes sold at auction in Auckland between February and April went to people with Chinese surnames despite people of Chinese ethnicity making up just 9 per cent of the city's population.

Mr Little said the data "tells a very important story" and yesterday said the average income of ethnic Chinese living in Auckland was below the average income overall, so it would be "madness" to say they were buying so many top-end houses.

"What this does allow us to conclude is something people have been saying anecdotally - there's been no hard data because the Government won't collect it - and that is that the impact and influence of non-resident buyers in the Auckland housing market is significant. It's not just the Chinese," he told Radio NZ.


"It's not because people [are] looking different, it's because their names stand out and we've done analysis and research on the names and with 95 per cent accuracy they are of Chinese descent.

"The issue isn't about being Chinese. It's about non-resident foreign buyers."

His comments come as Chinese real estate site Juwai.com said that New Zealand was one of the most attractive countries in the world for Chinese property buyers.

A spokesman for the site said it had seen a surge in interest in New Zealand over the past year, with New Zealand jumping from number 12 to number five in online searches.

Phil Quin, a Labour Party member, yesterday resigned saying he was disappointed with the party deploying racial profiling as a political tactic. "I am stunned that Labour, as a matter of conscious political strategy, would trawl through a dubiously acquired list of property buyers to identify Chinese-sounding names," Mr Quin wrote in his resignation letter.

"Nothing good can come from racial profiling of the kind Labour chose to employ in pursuit of a headline and a poll bump."


New Zealand Chinese Association national president Meng Foon said those buying homes in Auckland were not breaking any laws.

"Until the Government makes more laws to ease the housing market, many ordinary investors, whether they be local or foreign, will continue to buy property as a means of securing their family's future," he said.

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Mr Foon said property was seen as a tangible family investment no matter what a person's origin was.

New Zealand China Council chairman Sir Don McKinnon called for a national debate on housing to avoid sending mixed messages to "valued overseas partners".


He said New Zealand was not alone in having a red hot property market, and headlines in Australia, Britain and Canada painted a "strikingly similar picture".

Exports to China increased $6 billion over the last five years which had kept the New Zealand economy out of recession, Sir Don said.

"However, housing pushes emotional buttons. No one wants our rates of home ownership to decline any further," he said.

"So it's unsurprising to see political sensitivities increasing around offshore investment in property, especially when young families find themselves priced out of the market."

Sir Don said the Government needed to collect more information on those buying homes, including where they were from.

"It's unlikely that it is only Chinese speculators driving up the prices of houses in Auckland."


Auckland Mayor Len Brown would not say what he thought of Labour's inference drawn from the data, or if he was worried about the city's image.

"The primary housing challenge facing Auckland is our ability to build enough quality, affordable new homes to meet demand," Mr Brown said.

"That is the challenge that Auckland Council and I remain focused on."

Chinese buying spree 'innacurate' - bidder

Attending his first property auction, 21-year-old Darren White was prepared to bid against Chinese buyers who have reportedly been aggressively targeting Auckland's housing market.

"I was told before the auction there was going to be a Chinese person who will be bidding," he said.

Darren White, with his girlfriend Sophia Liu, was the sole bidder at an auction. Photo / Chris Loufte
Darren White, with his girlfriend Sophia Liu, was the sole bidder at an auction. Photo / Chris Loufte

But there was no Chinese challenger at yesterday's Barfoot & Thompson auction on Shortland St, and Mr White won the auction as the sole bidder at $300,000 for a Queen St apartment.


He estimated just a quarter of about 50 people at the auction were ethnic Chinese.

Mr White, who has a Chinese girlfriend, said he thought reports from the Labour Party suggesting Chinese people were buying up Auckland properties were "out of proportion" and "inaccurate".

"I didn't see anything like what was reported, and I don't think any Chinese in there were on a buying spree or bidding ridiculously high," he said.

Mr White's partner, Sophia Liu, 21, is New Zealand-born and considers herself a Kiwi.

Miss Liu, a student, said Labour's claims had made "all Chinese look bad" including Chinese New Zealanders.

"Technically the Chinese are not breaking any rules in buying properties here," she said.


"Those who are unhappy with it should be targeting a law change, rather than target a whole community."

Bob Walker, 36, who went to the same Barfoot & Thompson auction with his Chinese partner, said recent media reports had "unfairly shifted" the focus on the Chinese at the auction.

"I'm the one looking to bid for a house, but the eyes were on my partner because Labour says she's the one responsible for Auckland's housing woes," Mr Walker said.