Racist graffiti spotted on signs outside a future social housing development in Beach Haven, Auckland, have been labelled as "disappointing" by a local MP, who says they do not reflect how the community feels.
Shanan Halbert, Labour MP for Northcote, shared photos of the graffiti and said he was disappointed to see it in Beach Haven, a suburb with a long history of social housing.
"It makes me quite sad," he told the Herald. "We've done a lot of work to increase the number of warm dry homes for our most vulnerable."
Halbert shared the photos on his Facebook page as he wanted to call out the racism and discrimination that the graffiti represented.
In one of the photos, the sign at the Kāinga Ora housing site had been damaged with graffiti saying "Māori s*** moving in soon". In another one, the graffiti read "gangs moving in soon".
"We urgently need more warm, dry homes for those most vulnerable.
"It concerns me that some people apply a different standard and level of scrutiny on social housing developments and those who will move into these homes than upon private developments. So I'm calling it out – racism and discrimination is not okay and doesn't reflect our community."
According to Halbert, the Kāinga Ora development will be the biggest in Beach Haven and a lot of work has been going on behind the scenes with the community to make sure the families moving in feel welcome and included.
The development will provide 70 new homes, including 57 two-bedroom, five three-bedroom and eight four-bedroom apartments on Beach Haven Rd, Mavis Place and Hayman Place.
He said the graffiti is particular disappointing considering "the community is doing so much work to support the development".
"People are very disappointed. We have a long history of social housing in Beach Haven that we are proud of. We want to work together to accommodate more families," the MP added.
"There's one thing I have been concerned about since becoming an MP and that is the level of scrutiny that people put across social housing versus private development. There's a bias there - conscious or unconscious - that we need to be aware of. When we think of social housing, we think of the negative elements."
The families, who are due to start moving into their new homes later this year, will "definitely be welcome into the community", he says.
On Halbert's Facebook post, most of the community slammed the racist graffiti.
"Wow that is disgusting! How are we going to make a better NZ with these people thinking this way," one person commented.
"The only s*** in this neighbourhood is the person (and I hope it's just a single person) who would write such a thing," another Beach Haven local replied.
Both signs have since been removed.