Labour’s sudden willingness to play the race card and blame a glut of well-heeled Chinese investors for sky-rocketing house prices in the Auckland property market is a further indication of Andrew Little’s willingness to trade political correctness for political effectiveness.
At the same time, what kind of Opposition party would look such a gift-horse in the mouth as leaked details of real estate transactions – especially given the Auckland housing crisis is currently the hottest political issue and one where Labour has held the upper hand.
Given the Government’s reluctance to compile such data, Labour could argue it was acting in the public interest.
Not that such a rationale would wash with those criticising Labour for playing the race card and accusing the party of shonky analysis of limited data which Labour claims shows that Chinese people accounted for nearly 40 per cent of transactions over a three-month period earlier this year.
Even Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy – who has not always been as quick off the mark as she was yesterday – waded into the argument, saying Labour’s actions were “disappointing” and Chinese New Zealanders deserved better.
Labour may have looked like it was very much on the back foot with media coverage focused on what the party’s critics were saying, rather than what Labour had uncovered.
But the Labour hierarchy probably considers the more criticism the merrier. It keeps the story running.
Labour’s target audience in this instance is the silent majority who will believe Labour has come close enough to confirming what until now had been anecdote.
It hasn’t escaped careful observers that a newspaper and one of its largest clients, Barfoot & Thompson, have been trying to turn lemons into lemonade. Every since the leaked (“leaked”?) Barfoot & Thompson data so spectacularly backfired, a newspaper has been trying to calm the horses.
Rather odd, unless you put it in the right context.
And here’s John Armstrong, saying that this whole affair is nothing but manna from heaven for Little and Labour.
The numbers simply don’t stack up.
For Armstrong to sell the idea that racial profiling is a great topic for Labour to get behind as a party as it may gain more votes than it loses shows he’s either well past his use-by date, or he’s working for a newspaper that was part of this well manufactured hit on National… until it backfired and turned it into nightmare for Labour and the newspaper’s major client: Barfoot & Thompson.
Labour has to get people thinking and talking about the party. Last weekend’s real estate expose is just what the doctor ordered.
In that case. I’m looking forward to more a newspaper/Labour/Barfoot & Thompson Dirty Media hits. Because if there’s one thing I like, is talking about the Labour Party.
– John Armstrong, a newspaper