Twyford's 'racist', 'cynical' Chinese property buyer statistics de-bunked

Statistics quoted by Labour's Phil Twyford showing Chinese foreign property buyers are over-represented in Auckland have been shown to be largely inaccurate.

Details provided to Mr Twyford covering about 4000 house purchases at a single Auckland real estate firm between February and April showed 39.5 per cent came from people whose last name appeared to be of Chinese descent, where as the proportion of the Auckland population was 9 per cent.

Mr Twyford asserted the figures, quoted in the NZ Herald, showed that Chinese offshore buyers were over-represented in the Auckland market and said foreign Chinese buyers accounted for just over 50 per cent of Auckland houses priced over $1m.

"It's staggering evidence that strongly suggests there's a significant offshore Chinese presence in the Auckland real estate market. It could not possibly be all Chinese New Zealanders buying; that's implausible."

Mr Twyford wants the Government’s new register of foreign buyers made open to the public and wants new rules around foreign ownership of Auckland housing, similar to laws introduced in Australia.

However, data journalist Keith Ng, writing on the Public Adress blog, responded to the claims and tore down the statistics point-by-point, exposing clear holes in the methodology used to determine them.

"You can’t magically MATH your way from a last name to a residency status," he wrote.

"They have one piece of real data: "39.5% of last names in a list of house sales sound Chinese.

"The subtext of this story is that people with Chinese-sounding names are foreigners full of cash who are buying all our houses and chasing hardworking Kiwis out of their homes.

"This is straight-up scapegoating, placing the blame for a complex, emotive problem at the feet of an ethnic group.

"You are saying that people with "Chinese-sounding names" are dangerous foreigners who will destroy the Kiwi way of life with real estate purchases.

Government Housing Minister Nick Smith has also refuted the figures.

"The data is unreliable as it comes from an unidentified source, covers only one of many real estate agencies and the data analysis is based on surnames rather than whether the buyers are residents or citizens," he said.

Barfoot & Thompson boss Peter Thompson agreed the data was unreliable.

"We know there's been a large portion of Asians buying property but there's no way to tell if they're one of three categories: NZ born, foreign-born NZ citizens or foreign-born foreign citizens. If you asked me about Asian non-residents, I'd probably say between 5 and 8 per cent."

Rob Salmond, who did the analysis for Labour, responded to critics, saying that while the statistics were in no way 100 per cent accurate, they were indicative.

"Can Labour prove that any individual buyer is foreign? No. All we have is their last name," he wrote.

"But can Labour conclude on the preponderance of all available evidence from the aggregate data that there is likely a large impact of offshore investment from China in Auckland’s real estate market? Yes."

Commenters on Twitter had also criticised the statistics.

The government has hit back at the opposition over claims large numbers of Asians are buying up Auckland houses Source: 1 NEWS



Cyclist rides free after breaking boy's leg in Dunedin

A cyclist who rode into a boy near a Dunedin park will not face any charges after he contacted police.

The boy was hit near Marlow Park, also known as the dinosaur park, last week.

At the time, the family said the cyclist swore at them and rode off without providing his details.

But Senior Sergeant Jared Kirk, of Dunedin, said the 64-year-old man stopped to provide assistance.

"He did not realise the child had been seriously injured and was advised by a family member that the child was ok and he should continue on his way," Mr Kirk said.

"At no time did he swear at the child or any of the child's family members."

An independent witness had confirmed the cyclist's account, Mr Kirk said.

"The man is devastated at the injuries suffered by the child."

The cyclist has been issued with an infringement notice for cycling on the footpath. No charges will be laid.

Dunedin police had spoken to the injured child's family and they were satisfied with the outcome, he said.


Terminally ill Kiwi mum forced to pay nearly $6500 a month for unfunded drugs for her lung cancer

Imagine knowing that your life could be prolonged by a wonder drug that you simply can't afford.

It's Pharmac's job to fund those drugs for New Zealanders - they have almost a billion dollars to spend each year to do so.

Over $200 million of that goes to cancer medicines, with around $50 million spent on Herceptin for breast cancer and Keytruda for melanoma.

But some of the most revolutionary drugs aren't being picked up, meaning terminally-ill patients like 40-year-old mum Karyn Robson are being crippled by bills.

They say you can't put a price on your health. Well Karyn Robson can - $6497.50 a month. That's the price she pays each month for the drugs to treat her lung cancer which was diagnosed in 2016.

"I've never smoked in my life. I haven't even held a cigarette. To hear that I had lung cancer just totally caught me off guard," she told Seven Sharp.

'My parents were with me and they said, 'Well, we want you around. We want you around for your daughter. We'll get whatever money we can together as a family collectively and see how long we can make it stretch'."

Chris Atkinson, medical director of  the Lung Foundation NZ, said the two drugs Ms Robson has had are not yet funded for her type of lung cancer, "and they should be". 

The hope is that the money the family has raised might stretch to the adulthood of Ms Robson's daughter Danica.

"Sometimes it just doesn't feel like it's real, like it hasn't fully hit me that it's happening," Danica said.

Her mother's treatment with the drug has seen her cancer reduce.

"My oncologist called me and he said, 'you've had a complete response in three months.' I couldn't quite believe my ears. I just hung up the phone and burst into tears. I honestly felt like I'd won the Lotto," Ms Robson said.

The drugs will only be available for as long as her family can pay for it.

"I think we've forgotten that lung cancer kills more New Zealanders than any other cancer - 1800 a year. That's five times the road toll. More Kiwis die of lung cancer than breast, melanoma and prostate cancer combined," Mr Atkinson said.

"We have to do better, because we're actually third world in New Zealand now compared with our closest neighbours and compared with many others. That doesn't make me proud after 40 years looking after people with cancer," he said.

Like anyone with a terminal illness, Ms Robson has a bucket list and so does Danica.

"She keeps saying, 'we need to go have a holiday together mum - we've never done that'. And I'm like - I can't," Ms Robson said.

Every dollar goes towards buying another day as a daughter and a mum. 

A Givealittle page has been set up to help continue Karyn Robson's treatment.

Karyn Robson and her family are paying $6000 for her medication but time and funds are running out. Source: Seven Sharp



Health expert slams Health Star system, wants it disbanded - 'It's worse than useless!'

We're all trying to eat healthier, but how do you know what's healthy when you're doing your supermarket shopping?

One way is to use the Health Star system that's run by the Ministry of Primary Industries.

But one professor of public health says it's a waste of time.

AUT University's Grant Schofield is calling the system "worse than useless" and the "fake news" of food health, while calling for the system to be disbanded.

Seven Sharp’s Tim Wilson met with both sides to find some proof in the pudding.

Grant Schofield reckons the scheme run by MPI is the ‘fake news’ of food health. Source: Seven Sharp

Woman tells court she was attacked nearly every day for four weeks

A woman who says she was repeatedly raped over four weeks has denied a suggestion from a defence lawyer that her attacker turned up with chocolates and flowers.

Justice Source: 1 NEWS

The woman told the High Court in Auckland that she answered a personal advertisement in the local newspaper and a short time later, a man turned up at her door.

She said he stayed for four weeks, attacked her nearly every day and on one occasion forced her to perform a sex act in a car while her children sat in the backseat.

The man, aged in his 70s, has name suppression and faces 12 charges relating to the rape of three women and a girl.

The woman said the man turned up on her doorstep with an overnight bag.

The solo mother of three young children said she did not want him to stay and described him as looking "creepy". The man ended up staying four weeks.

She said she was scared of the man and he eventually made her walk down to the local shops to use a pay phone and quit her job. Asked what she thought of her job, she said she loved it.

She said the man wanted sex every day and she had no choice in the matter.

The woman said on one occasion she was so scared she called out to her children. She said the man put his arm around her neck. He told her that in one move he could break her neck.

There were constant threats.

She described how the man touched her daughter on her chest as they sat in the lounge room on the couch.

She called her daughter away. The woman said she kept telling the man to leave.

The woman said eventually she spotted an opportunity to escape.

She noticed the man was far enough away from her not to be able to catch her. She rushed out of the house and called out to her neighbour next door.

Her neighbour came over and the man left in a taxi a short time later.

Under cross-examination by the man's lawyer Andrew McKenzie, the woman was asked if the man bought chocolates and flowers. He also asked if her children were excited by the man's arrival. The woman said "absolutely not".

She confirmed she had originally told police she saw the man with his hand on her daughter's shoulder but got that wrong.

Mr McKenzie suggested she was making up the allegations against his client. The woman said that made her really angry and the allegations were true.

When Mr McKenzie said he had no further questions, the woman replied: "Thank God."

The woman's daughter is expected to give evidence on Friday.

The trial, before Justice Lang and a jury, is due to finish in three weeks' time.

- Reporting by Edward Gay