A former senior Labour official has lashed out at the party's leadership, declaring he is taking legal steps over the party's decision to single out Chinese people in the foreign ownership debate.

Former Maori members' chairman Shane Te Pou has written to the party demanding his personal data be removed from Labour's database of home buyers, which it claims is the same information leaked from Barfoot & Thompson.

Former party official and candidate Shane Te Pou is married to Annie Du, who is of Chinese ethnicity.
Former party official and candidate Shane Te Pou is married to Annie Du, who is of Chinese ethnicity.

Te Pou cited the Privacy Act in the letter after being told by the estate agency that the purchase of his family's house was likely among those used to bolster statistics purporting to show people in China were buying up New Zealand houses.

In revealing the statistics, Labour's housing spokesman Phil Twyford tweeted: "People of Chinese descent bought 39.5% of houses sold by major (Auckland) real estate firm. This is foreign money."

Advertisement

Te Pou is married to Annie Du, who is of Chinese ethnicity. He told the Herald his wife's name was used to buy the family home during the period covered by Barfoot & Thompson sales data, obtained by Labour.

Te Pou wrote: "I am Maori. My wife is of Chinese descent. My money is not foreign."

READ MORE: Barfoot & Thompson leaker revealed - and he doesn't know how Labour got the data

His letter to the Labour Party - addressed to leader Andrew Little - cited a section of the Privacy Act which banned the collection of information which would intrude unfairly or unreasonably on individuals.

He said the information had been released from Barfoot & Thompson through a staff member to the Labour Party in a way which was "certainly unlawful". "The use of it to describe Maori New Zealanders as Chinese, 'foreign money', and the cause of a housing problem is certainly unfair."

He wrote to Little telling him one of his children asked: "Daddy, why are people angry at Chinese."

"This demonstrates that actual harm has been caused to our family."

The letter to Little was the first step in seeking redress and was the first step in making a formal complaint to the Privacy Commission.

Advertisement

Te Pou told the Herald Labour was guilty of "racial profiling".

He said the issue of foreign ownership was important and needed to be discussed - but Labour had gone about it in the wrong way.

"It's a conversation we should have had without talking about a particular ethnic group."

He said the decision to isolate and highlight Chinese people went against Labour's core principles.

"They got a lot of Chinese sounding names and basically came up with an equation that I think is not robust but more importantly amounted to racial profiling."

He said he believed Little and Twyford were "decent human beings". "What they have done in this case is just wrong."

Advertisement

Te Pou said he would lay a formal complaint with the Privacy Commission and Human Rights Commission should the party not address his concerns.

Read Te Pou's letter to Andrew Little here: