Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy says blaming ethnic groups for complex economic problems is neither new nor unique to New Zealand.
“Dumbing down complex economic woes and blaming them on an ethnic community whose members are already feeling under pressure is neither new nor unique but it’s always disappointing,” said Dame Susan.
“Economists have voiced real concerns with the legitimacy of the half baked data that’s been released this weekend, if we are going to address Auckland’s inflationary housing market then expert data, evidence and analysis is crucial.”
“Chinese New Zealanders deserve better than this and so does anyone keen on actually solving this issue.”
“When the global oil crisis hit New Zealand in the seventies, Pacific people – whether they were citizens or not – were wrongly blamed by many for the economic woes we faced.”
Dame Susan said she was honoured to join a group of Chinese Kiwis as they trekked to the far north recently to honour their ancestors and the people of Matihetihe Marae whose tipuna honoured and buried with dignity the remains of many of the 499 Chinese miners when their ship sunk more than a century ago.
“Like myself, Phil Twyford is the child of migrants. His family arrived in the sixties, my father celebrated his first birthday on board a ship en route from Ireland. We are both New Zealanders. On that bus trip to Hokianga with me were Chinese Kiwis whose families arrived in the 1800s, they represent generations of Kiwis who have helped build our economy and country. These New Zealanders and their families deserve better than to be singled out because they have a Chinese sounding surname.”
“New Zealand is fast becoming one of the most ethnically diverse nations on earth. We are also one of the most peaceful. This is a legacy we are all responsible for if we are to leave it behind us for future generations.”
Dame Susan says positive race relations and peace are worth talking about and standing up for.
You can find out more and see pictures from this year's Following The Ancestors trip here.