White NZers cheer at auctions when Chinese bidders lose – why Labour’s dog whistling will pay off



I was talking with a real estate agent over the weekend, asking him what his opinion of Labour’s assertion that it is foreign Chinese speculators buying up Auckland’s property.

He was certain that it was true.

I then asked him what was the response from white or Maori at these sales, if he had noticed any resentment from some at these auctions, and that’s when his answer really surprised me.

He said at his last auction, when a Chinese bidder was out-bid by a white bidder, the other non-asian bidders burst out cheering.

I think a new friction point which is only going to get more media attention, will be auctions where angry locals are being out bid by asian buyers.

Whether these buyers are foreign speculators or NZ residents, the level of resentment  being generated at the coal face of Auckland’s housing market is ripe for political posturing and Labour’s ‘who are the Chinese speculators in your neighbourhood’ whistled tune over the weekend is very likely to appeal to a voting group who for the first time in 7 years will be hearing Labour say something they think as ‘finally someone is saying something about this’.

Sure the data is scapegoating without the firmness to do so, but the message will have resonance because there are genuine issues of Chinese influence on NZ economy and political system.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

That so many high ranking National Party MP’s seem to have defacto Communist Party membership is an irony beyond ironies, so beyond Labour believing that Chinese-NZers don’t vote Labour anyway, there is an issue here and Labour are exploiting it.



  1. Good stuff Martyn,

    We need a undercover reporter like John Campbell or other to make a documentary about all this now.

    Oh I forgot Nationals Leader has had his Jauta get rid of any investigative Journalists now so we need to start a stand alone documentary channel to offer the Kiwi public the chance to witness “the whole Story”. The TV Channel or radio should be called “Witness” or “Street Stories”.

    • As I was saying just this morning, I wish we still had John Campbell around. He would get to the bottom of this, no doubt. Love the name “Witness”.

    • No need for a TV or Radio Channel

      Live youtube video is much cheaper. Campbell live every night at 7pm on YouTube is far more likely to get better hits and viewers than anything old media formats could offer.

      Completely ad free as well to a large extent.

      • Thanks James for the feedback.

        I will add your comment as another choice also

        Our studies show the “older generation” don’t engage in ” you tube” so there are many voting NatZ still because they know no better.

        So I will add that:

        “we need we need to start a stand alone documentary channel to offer the Kiwi public the chance to witness “the whole Story”. The TV Channel/radio/you tube should be called “Witness” or “Street Stories”.

        • I think you will find UTube is used a lot by the older generation to find out how things work or how to fix something. We just need a bit of education to tell them/us that there is news on this medium. Being one of this older group I am searching for NZ news not filtered through MSM so I can make up my own mind not be sent those mindless messages straight from the beehive.

  2. Well for a start take a look at the “foreign” student enrollment a Auckland Uni. That information ought to be available. Where I live, and I don’t know the law around foreign ownership here in California but the Asian student population is 39%. What happens when the summer term ends, the housing market is suddenly flooded with houses for sale. These houses sell within a week of being on the market. We could say it is an assumption that these properties are being bought and sold by foreign owners, be it parents or relatives of Foreign students but what I see with my eyes when I cycle the 14 miles around the town every day only confrims my belief that the city is being taken over by foreigners. In summer I can sit downtown and eat my lunch and only see a handful of Asians but come term time it’s a different story. It’s pretty obvious these people influence the housing market especially when I see the Realestate agencies popping up with Chinese names.

  3. Yeah….its got to stop. Plain and simple.

    And when the final data finally comes out and confirms the skulduggery of what National have been stringing us all along with it will go a long way towards explaining their lack of action on the Auckland housing crisis.

    A long way towards it.

  4. Finally someone has had the guts to shove this issue squarely in the face of the dumb New Zealand public and that person is Phil Twyford.

    Watch for some serious movement on this by the government in its usual panicked and ill thought out way.

    We’ve seen a lot of policy from the opposition parties being copied by the Nazional party and released as legislation, sufficiently watered down legislation so as to become useless to all but their business buddies.

    Are Labour and the Greens governing this country from the opposition benches?

    Sure looks like it.

  5. The dog whistle is the one that excites notice among the easily provoked that someone has used the word “Chinese.” These Pavlovian watchdogs who can perhaps more readily be described as “racist” could hear no more than this word as they rushed to identify a racist motive to the identification of evidence that non-residents seem to be very active in the housing market. Those who mention that other, non-Asian names may be also non-resident only serves to suggest that the problem is likely to be even larger that this limited research can show.

    Time for a bit more data, although the previous National Party assertion that the non-residents account only for 1.5% of purchasers seems now hard to sustain.

    The question should be whether or not these admittedly circumstantial data lend credibility to the hitherto anecdotal assertions that foreign buyers seem over-represented in the housing market. If so, what impact is this behaviour likely to have?

    There are two observations that might be made here.

    First, when New Zealanders have to compete against a world of footloose money to purchase real estate subject to virtually no taxation constraints, they are likely to find the kitchen too hot for them.

    Second that anyone who does not understand that statistically the marginal purchaser will have a massive effect on the overall market needs to study the matter more closely:

    Imagine there are 9 people desperate to buy a house and 10 houses.
    Now imagine that there are only 8 houses. In the second case there may easily be a bidding war which pushes prices up very high, while in the first case this is much less likely. It can be considered that those extra two bidders or two fewer houses make all the difference to the prices all the houses sell for, particularly if some of the bidders have unlimited resources.

    For this reason, it is not necessary to get rid of all bidders, just some at the margins. Restrictions on non-resident purchase, then, will certainly have some impact on prices, while building more houses will also help.
    On the other hand, just building more houses, until there is actually a clear over-supply won’t help that much, because the new houses are likely to be snapped up by the same foreign money.


    • Of course obviously, there is not enough to satisfy demand from them let alone NZers looking to buy a home

    • They already are being snapped up!
      Just around the corner from me on the North Shore of Auckland 5000 sections are being developed. $500.000.00 to 1.2 million dollars each.
      When the 1st 1000 hit the market, ‘For Sale’ signs were never placed on the sites. Just Sold signs. They never got on the open market.
      I did a bit of digging and found out that Chinese investors come in the plane, then bus loads, check out the area and then bang , sold!
      Then they’re off on the next plane home to Bejing.
      Now i believe , in the beautiful Okura area , which has a 100 metre riparian rights rule between the land and the protected Okura estuary, wealthy Chinese investors are trying to have the rules changed so that they can build within 20 metres of the estuary.
      This makes the land worth a lot more but trashes the area.
      Nobody has ever attempted to do this before !
      Without a detailed register all this is flying under the radar.
      It’s a big worry . Labour are doing right by trying to expose it.
      This has absolutely nothing to do with xenophobia and everything to do with protecting N.Z.
      Otherwise, what are we!!

  6. National are playing a disgusting game in regard to this. They have jumped into bed with the Chinese govt, and are very happy to welcome thousands of well-off Chinese immigrants, knowing that most of them will vote National. They are basically selling us down the drain for cheap short-term politcal advantage, and there is one word for that, and it is “traitorous”.

    • Peter, there is some $10 billion,being allowed out of China for investment, probably NZ will get lots. What change to house prices. & political donations. Corruption maybe?

      • Several immigrants from overseas have indeed made donations to the National Party. Donghua Liu, being one. Also from Oravida, a company closely connected to National through Judith Collins.

  7. When NZ property is advertised overseas with the incentive of no capital gains tax – what do you expect. Yes the 40% Asian buyers indicated by purchaser’s surname in relation to 9% NZ residents is not science, but is a better indication than National’s dismissal of the facts.

  8. I don’t think Labour have highlighted this to score political points!
    I think they have a genuinely deep concern for the ability of our next generations, the ones who aren’t born with a silver spoon in their mouth, to have the chance of housing themselves and their future families without having to rent off a slum lord .
    This whole issue should not be made into a political or racist football !
    It is a serious, serious issue which requires immediate attention.
    People have complained that Labour haven’t been doing enough to help the plight of their people. Well now they are.
    A lot of people just don’t seem to get it !!

  9. “He said at his last auction, when a Chinese bidder was out-bid by a white bidder, the other non-asian bidders burst out cheering.”

    And what if this white bidder is also a foreign buyer, also playing a part in driving up the market? I don’t like this idea of auctions turning into an Us vs. Them mentality based solely on one’s appearance. The Chinese bidder may well have been a 3rd or 4th generation Kiwi, we have nothing but a couple of vague comments from an unnamed real estate agent to base judgement upon.

    Let’s not fall into the trap of this anecdote – Let’s just keep pushing for sensible policy that serves only to further the interests of all NZ citizens.

    • You have a point. But what this anecdote illustrates is the fact that local buyers are so frustrated and angry at the outcome they are seeing time after time at house auctions in Auckland, causes them to react like this. You must admit, it is very unusual for a cross section of passive agressive NZers to react so overtly and spontaneously in an environment such as a real estate auction room.
      And this is the nub (or one of them). Claims that Labour is stirring up racial hatred are ridiculous. It is National’s policy of denial which is creating and building the pressure of resentment which will surely boil over at some point if the Auckland house buying situation is not addressed.

  10. The question is overseas speculators, where else in the world can you go and buy houses if you are not a resident, I can not think of one place
    that is the issue that is concering, not where they come if they do not live here.
    national will be making a meal of Phils comments, they have so many good Chinese friends who are ‘outraged’
    I feel pretty outraged about one of their friends stealing our kauri logs
    I also feel outraged by a real estate agent marketing NZ properties in China, what is that all about
    my final outrage is the number of NZ citizens who can not get a house to live in because the are empty and the owner lives overseas

  11. You talked to a real estate agent? Aren’t they part of the problem, with their bulging commissions and selfless dedication to pushing up prices?

  12. So some people get emotive and angry now, or cheer if an apparent Chinese bidder is outbid at an auction?

    This whole problem with the housing market and with the additional demand from offshore investors deserves rational, decisive action. The government must be held to account, same as our one-eyed mainstream media, that are too emotive themselves.

    Now they are reporting about the “Chinese backlash” and such nonsense. It seems the media are doing the stirring here.

    The only thing that makes me emotive and angry is the stubborn ignorance and blinkered view of so many. This was something that has been developing over a few years now, and is nothing new, but even just daring to raise concern, instantly makes any person a target to be labeled a “racist” or “xenophobe”.

    It is overdue to hold the government to account, and to not fall for this BS argument, Labour are playing “dog whistle” politics.

    In this matter Labour have actually had the guts to bring something to the attention of the wider public.

    It is time to bring in some register for buyers, some controls, also to adjust immigration inflow, and that should be generally applied, as otherwise we will soon have 50 percent or more of houses in Auckland sold at a million or more a piece. About 30 percent of recent sales were already a million or more dollars worth, where will this end?

    The ones responsible are Key, Groser, Joyce, English and the rest of the gang up there in the upper floors in Wellington.

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