Labour should apologise for racial profiling

Labour mined Auckland residential property data with the express purpose of making a point about the extent of Chinese ownership.

In the process, they devised an algorithm to discern the Chineseness of property owners: it estimated, for example, that roughly 50 percent of people called Lee are Chinese, compared to 90 percent of those with the surname Li.

There are many problems with this, and I have neither the time nor the inclination to address all of them. However, I will make two comments.

If Labour has a problem with foreign ownership of NZ residential properties (a legitimate position, albeit one I do not share), there is no conceivable public policy justification for singling out one type of foreigner over any other.   

Secondly, the use of an algorithm to assess degrees of foreignness is hamfisted, embarrassingly amateurish and staggeringly racist. 

I joined the Labour Party in large part due to its principled stand against Apartheid. Racial profiling of any kind was anathema to me thirty years ago, and remains so today.  

The party should admit its mistake, apologise, and move on. It should not be left to a staffer to carry the can.