Feeling foreign in own land

November 4, 2008

Dene Mackenzie, who’s taking the political pulse of the country for the ODT, has reached Botany.

People born overseas (49%) outnumber the locals (47.9%) and the electorate has the country’s second-highest proportion of Asian voters (33.5%).

But the strong competition for Chinese votes in particular has created a backlash among other voters.

Three Chinese-born candidates are seeking election.

They are National’s Pansy Wong, Mr Wang and Simon Kan from the Kiwi Party.

. . . At Jacob’s Cafe, only the staff were Asian as I settled down next to Glad and Allan Jamieson. They are both in their 80s and have lived in the village for most of their married life.

They are committed National voters and will be voting for Mrs Wong and giving National their party vote. But even they are starting to feel a bit peeved about the wave of new immigrants and new housing.

. . . Botany residents are split over whether it is good for candidates to be campaigning in languages other than English.

Some spoken to by Taking the Pulse said it was good that the Chinese candidates could talk to voters in their own language.

Others said they would prefer to have everything conducted in English but could not say that publicly in the electorate in case they were branded racist.

It’s difficult when you start feeling like a foreigner in your own country, but speaking your mother tongue is natural.

A young Chilean woman works in a supermarket I shop at. She always speaks to me in Spanish and I always try to answer her in her language but that is very different from what Dene encountered in Botany.

If I lived in another country I’d learn the language, but I’d also be pleased if others used mine.


Wang’s wrong about Wong

September 29, 2008

Act candidate Kenneth Wang has put up billboards like this in Botany:

Act candidate Kenneth Wang and his billboard, which he says offers a 'two for the price of one' deal for the Botany electorate. Photo / Richard Robinson

 

Act should be upset with him because it’s the party vote which counts and he’s telling people to vote National with their party vote.

And National’s candidate Pansy Wong is upset with him because she thinks the billboard breaches the EFA and because:

Neither does Mrs Wong think her electorate wants “more Chinese MPs” to represent them.

“Botany is a multi-ethnic electorate and residents will vote on the strength and commitments of the candidates beyond our skin colours.”

The billboard is telling people to not vote for Pansy in the electorate so it won’t have to be counted in her candidate’s budget, but if it’s suggesting people vote National with their party vote it ought to have National authorisation and would have to count in the party’s overall budget.

Apart from that, I’ve never understood why Act stands in electorates which it probably won’t win but might split the vote and allow the Labour candidate through the middle.  It’s doing the same thing in Wellington Central where Heather Roy may split the vote with Stephen Franks and make it easier for Labour to take the seat.

 Hat Tip: No Minister


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