Tertiary Education Minister Paul Goldsmith’s comment about Indians owning multiple properties is a racist obfuscation of the slumlord problem, says Migrant and Refugee Rights Campaign spokesperson Gayaal Iddamalgoda. Goldsmith made the comment in response to 25-year old Thomas Maharaj, who correctly pointed out that many National MPs own multiple properties.
“Goldsmith’s comment is not only racist, it also evades the real issues driving the housing crisis,” says Gayaal.
“According to information released in late 2016, 80 of our 121 MPs have an interest in more than one property,” Gayaal continues. “The three MPs who own the most property are in the National Party, and 2 out of 3 are European-descended, yet no MP stereotypes Europeans as the cause of the housing crisis.”
“Young students like Maharaj aren’t likely to own property – in fact Goldsmith is a much likelier face of the slumlord problem in this country, as a European-descended National Party MP in his 40s.”
“This continues an alarming trend where the causes of the housing crisis are racialised, whether by blaming Chinese or Indian buyers.”
“If we’re serious about addressing the problem, we need to understand it’s a problem caused by slumlords and other profiteers – regardless of their surnames or the colour of their skin.”