Plus ça change


Yesterday’s history post included a reference to anti-Chinese hysteria in Dunedin in 1888:

A meeting in Dunedin presided over by the mayor unanimously called for a ban on further Chinese migrants. . . 

As work on the goldfields became harder to find, anti-Chinese prejudice resurfaced. Some spoke of a conspiracy to overrun the colony with ‘Coolie-slaves’ who were ‘ignorant, slavish, and treacherous’. Canada and Australia had imposed entry taxes on Chinese immigrants and New Zealand followed suit via the Chinese Immigrants Act of 1881. A poll tax of £10 (equivalent to $1650 today) was introduced and ships arriving in New Zealand were restricted to one Chinese passenger per 10 tons of cargo. . . 

Fast forward 109 years. Immigrants in general and Chinese in particular are once more being used as political scapegoats by vote-hungry desperates.

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