The Labour Party's message to the Chinese people is clear. We are not racist. We just don't want people with Chinese sounding names voting for Labour.

Andrew Little has been emphatic about his party's cynical use of leaked private real estate data. It was not meant to single out Chinese people. Labour's intent was to "open a debate", nominally about foreign ownership of homes.

It just happened to point the finger at the yellow peril, the menace of Chinese names on Auckland property deeds. This would be the same yellow menace that the Labour Party's most successful leader Helen Clark courted for years with a Free Trade Agreement.

Described as a "half baked" by Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy, the Labour Party's xenophobia has indeed opened a debate. It is a debate instigated by the Labour Party on how to discriminate against people with Chinese sounding names, in defence of hard-working Caucasians whose jobs have been lost offshore to Chinese workers and are now denying Kiwis the ability to buy houses in Auckland.


The Labour Party has yet to provide examples of Kiwi property sellers rejecting an above market price for a house from people with Chinese sounding names in favour of a lower price made by a struggling Kiwi family.

In the 1930s in Europe similar debate also began with a list of names. It was a list of names which did not sound like proper German names. The names on this list were also viewed as the problem in denying hard-working Germans their rightful share of business and property ownership. In the 1990s Slobadan Milosovic's minions no doubt had a similar list of names.

The Labour Party's targeting of people with Chinese sounding names is of course justified as being in the national interest, expressed through democratic means with the socialist agenda of indoctrinating Kiwis into believing that home ownership is their manifest destiny, an inalienable right. But Labour's approach is clearly the continuation of nationalist socialist democratic politics by other means.

Carrying on with Little and Tywford's logic, which seems to have adopted the xenophobic fear-mongering tactics of New Zealand First, lists of other ethnic names could also be used to generate national debates on other topics.

Lists of Muslim sounding names buying property could be used to generate debate on possible terrorist activity in specific suburbs. Lists of Maori and Pacific Island names could be used to generate debate on credit risk and propensity to commit crime. By the Labour Party's logic, none of this would be racist. It would merely be a means to the ends of generating a national debate.

The message from Labour to people with Chinese sounding names is clear. We don't want you in the country. Don't vote for us unless you are prepared to be an Uncle Tom. But the Muslim, Indian, Pacific Islander, Arab and Persian communities should also beware. Xenophobes are usually equal opportunity racists. Labour just hasn't found a social problem to blame on your communities yet.

The Chinese community should not bother to refute Labour's amateurish attempts at data analysis. Neither should we justify why we have the right to buy houses in a free-market economy. The point is we shouldn't have to.

But my Asian brethren should be clear. The Labour Party has declared political war on Chinese immigrants in New Zealand. Xenophobic politics cannot be reasoned with or refuted with cogent arguments. By its very nature the racial identity politics of Labour is an appeal to emotion. Deploying the race weapon is a tool by the Labour party to achieve its goal of gaining political support from people who don't have Chinese sounding names.


Refuting Labour's sound-bite race politics and justifying our Chinese surnames can only do superficial damage to the party. Such petty skirmishes will not win the war. And make no mistake, people with Chinese sounding surnames, we are at war with the Labour Party. And our ultimate war aim is to prevent a Labour Government with Andrew Little as Prime Minister. Every tactical campaign, every message we send, every protest must work towards achieving this end.

We must respond to Labour's call to arms by attacking their centre of gravity- at the polling booths at the next election. Spread this message through the bamboo networks. Vote strategically in the next election because a vote for Labour is a vote for second class status in a country we are proud to call home.

I consider myself a New Zealand patriot. I have worked for the New Zealand Army, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the New Zealand Stock Exchange. But because I have a Chinese sounding name, Labour views me as part of a problem for which it has a solution in mind. But of course it's still not racism.

But people with Chinese sounding names do not have to fight alone. We welcome people with Korean, Indian, Muslim, Pacific Islander, Maori sounding names to stand with us at the next election. Vote strategically against the new Labour Party- the party with nationalist, socialist democratic agendas.

Aaron Lim is a doctoral candidate at Otago University. Prior to that he worked for NZX, NZDF, NZTE and the media.
Debate on this article is now closed.