Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Diverse Auckland: are we there yet?

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to jh,

    I wouldn’t call a 20 year period misleading? The stat’s myth buster seems like misinformation (deliberate)?

    No, I don’t think the DoS is in the habit of publishing deliberate misinformation. But the numbers you cited are very strongly influenced by historical immigration laws and business conditions that no longer apply. They can’t be used to generalise about current migration rates and they'll look quite different as the earlier years drop out of the 20-year period.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to jh,

    That quote comes from here:
    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/44170.html

    Cherry picking seems to be a popular sport. That very same article also states:

    Today’s world is different from that in which we evolved, and we need to adapt. Just as sweet and fatty foods are far more accessible today than they were a quarter of a million years ago, so too has our cultural landscape changed. The modern world is irreversibly multicultural. Nations bump up against each other, populations shift and cultures change. Monoculturalism is simply no longer an option in developed nations, and cultural quarantine just leads to apartheid.

    Not only is multiculturalism inevitable, but it should be embraced warmly. Interaction between different cultures enriches all, it opens our eyes to new ways of thinking, new ways of seeing and interacting with the world. Beyond even the sharing of ideas, art and culture, multiculturalism also encourages tolerance, a virtue that is increasingly important in an ever more diverse and fragmented world.

    Certainly, there’ll be friction and disagreements. But far better to tackle these issues in a pluralist framework that is fully aware of the nature and origin of disagreements rather than either ignoring them and letting them fester or buckling to our primitive instincts and pushing for monoculturalism.

    This framework also doesn’t need to be relativist; it can provide the means for genuine disagreement over values and norms, predicated on liberal values of tolerance, social harmony and cooperation. A pluralism of norms can be allowed, and some disagreements tolerated, but if a norm or custom opposes the pluralist framework itself, such as practices that limit the freedom of women to be educated or participate in the workforce, then it can and should be challenged. But outside of this fundamental provision, there are many ways of living that can coexist without impinging upon each other.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • alobar, in reply to jh,

    First you could convince me why population increase is good policy and then why I should welcome people with a different culture and language, rather than people who will integrate faster and speak the same language.

    One benefit of those "different" people could be house prices won't be affected as much... http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/research_and_publications/analytical_notes/2013/AN2013_10.pdf

    It seems Europeans are more likely to drive up property prices .
    But in the long run I think the reasons in Chris Waughs last post are more relevant than this .

    auckland • Since Apr 2010 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • alobar,

    80% of population growth over the last 20 years has come from offshore

    I don't think the 80% figure is correct ,
    net migration peaked at around 40,000 in 2003 ,
    http://wikinewzealand.org/?cat=232 but overall population increased by around 78,000 , so even in peak years it was nowhere near 80%

    auckland • Since Apr 2010 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • jh, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    The fact is, humans were not designed to slip effortlessly in to a multicultural world. Our psychology has been shaped by millions of years of monocultural living in small relatively homogenous groups.

    It wasn't cherry picking. I used that quote to demonstrate a precept of evolutionary psychology. His opinions of multiculturalism are his own.
    Wikipedia criticisms of multiculturalism:

    Diversity and social trust

    Harvard professor of political science Robert D. Putnam conducted a nearly decade long study how diversity affects social trust.[95] He surveyed 26,200 people in 40 American communities, finding that when the data were adjusted for class, income and other factors, the more racially diverse a community is, the greater the loss of trust. People in diverse communities "don’t trust the local mayor, they don’t trust the local paper, they don’t trust other people and they don’t trust institutions," writes Putnam.[96] In the presence of such ethnic diversity, Putnam maintains that

    [W]e hunker down. We act like turtles. The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. And it’s not just that we don’t trust people who are not like us. In diverse communities, we don’t trust people who do look like us.[95]

    Since May 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to jh,

    It wasn’t cherry picking.

    It was a quotation taken out of context and used to support a point the article quoted from did not support.

    Again, got a link for that wikipedia quotation? It's kinda hard to assess the quality of an argument without a context for the quotation.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • jh, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    It was a quotation taken out of context and used to support a point the article quoted from did not support.

    maybe I should have added that I didn't agree with his conclusion. He says (to repeat)

    The fact is, humans were not designed to slip effortlessly in to a multicultural world. Our psychology has been shaped by millions of years of monocultural living in small relatively homogenous groups

    but then concludes that we should ignore these feelings because multiculturalism is good. He makes a lot of generalisations ignoring such things as how we get to multiculturalism: do developed countries really need mass migration and who benefits; which narcissist decides to start the process in the first place; are their theories sound?

    Here is a more relevant quote:

    “The need of human beings to belong to and unite behind a common culture, institutions and values is part of human nature. This need is hard-wired because of its survival value during evolutionary history. It cannot be overcome by government policies and coercion aimed at its elimination.”

    http://www.jeff-goodall.com/?p=3376

    The wikipedia link is here.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_multiculturalism
    Frank Salter:

    Anglo Australians are a subaltern ethnicity. They are second-class citizens, the only ethnic group subjected to gratuitous defamation and hostile interrogation in the quality media, academia and race-relations bureaucracy. The national question is obscured in political culture by fallout from a continuing culture war against the historical Australian nation. Many of the premises on which ethnic policy have been based since the 1970s are simply false, from the beneficence of diversity to the white monopoly of racism and the irrelevance of race. The elite media and strong elements of the professoriate assert that racial hatred in Australia is the product of Anglo-Celtic society. But in the same media and even in the Commission for Race Discrimination most ethnic disparagement is aimed at “homogenised white” people

    http://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2012/11/the-war-against-human-nature-iii/

    Since May 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • alobar, in reply to jh,

    “The need of human beings to belong to and unite behind a common culture, institutions and values is part of human nature. This need is hard-wired because of its survival value during evolutionary history. It cannot be overcome by government policies and coercion aimed at its elimination.”

    Sounds like one mans opinion to me .Ok more than one , but personally I don't feel the need to unite behind a (single ) common culture with anyone. My wife is from a different culture , but her values are closer to mine than some of my immediate family .
    I have friends from various cultures and races , and nights out with other westies might be more fun occasionally , but not particularly healthy :)

    auckland • Since Apr 2010 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • jh, in reply to alobar,

    I don’t think the 80% figure is correct ,
    net migration peaked at around 40,000 in 2003 ,
    http://wikinewzealand.org/?cat=232 but overall population increased by around 78,000 , so even in peak years it was nowhere near 80%

    Yes I see I don't know how he arrives at that figure (he is talking about non-NZ citizens as a percentage of total population increase. But the presentation was for a Treasury/Reserve Bank Forum so you would have expected a cough or two if it was wrong?
    In later paper he says:

    Figure 17 tells the story. The net outflow of New Zealand citizens fluctuates (with the New Zealand and foreign business cycle) but has been negative for several decades. The average annual outflow - around 0.6 per cent of the population over the last decade - is large by international standards. But it is now typically more than offset by the increasing number of net arrivals of non NZ citizens: from around 10000 in the period prior to the reforms, to something closer to 40000 per annum now. The difference makes a material macroeconomic difference; on average, for example, equivalent to around half New Zealand’s house-building in a normal year. As a share of population, the average net intake of non-New Zealanders is one of the largest anywhere; directly as a matter of policy choice.
    The net inflow of non New Zealand citizens has accounted for around 80 per cent of average population growth over the last two decades.

    http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/research_and_publications/seminars_and_workshops/Mar2013/5200823.pdf

    Since May 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • jh,

    One of my points is that this “diversity” goal doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It comes on the back of mass migration and mass migration has fuelled a nasty real estate market which should have popped but (my opinion) is held up by future expectations of purchases from the rest of the world.
    Why wouldn’t infill be related to population growth?

    Once Redcliffs was an unprepossessing fishing village, distinguished by a collection of modest fishermen’s cottages. Most have now dissapeared, replaced by more luxurious residences, and property values have escalated.

    “It’s a standing joke that we’re being taken over by the Americans and British, who have taken advantage of the stronger property markets in their own countries and favourable exchange rates”

    “I know an English couple who have summer here and go back to England in the winter”

    “What other parts of the city have such nice walks?…

    From a Local paper.

    1990 – 1999
    In the subsequent year however, there was still an over supply of property available and forced sales continued, generally to owner occupiers and South Island based investors. The cycle turned for the rise in early 1991, resultant in part from an optimism in falling interest rates, but to a greater extent through an increased enquiry/purchasing from off-shore – mainly in prime lake front, commercial and tourist accommodation property. These off-shore purchasers entering the market acted as a significant catalyst to recovery. In effect this period represented a “discovery” of Queenstown by the offshore market.

    http://www.queenstownproperty.com/queenstown_property_overview.html

    Up the road in Queenstown, nature is in full flight.
    Queenstown advertises itself as “The Adventure Capital of the World,” where you can bungy jump, heli-ski, jet-boat, or sky-dive. The confines of the modest town can no longer accommodate the throng of thrill-seekers. Soaring mountains still fringe the lake, but condos are creeping along the shore, a snake of traffic clogs the road into town, and Louis Vuitton has set up shop along with Global Culture, a clothes store.
    If your idea of a holiday is a seething mass of cars and people, topped off by a cacophony of helicopters, Queenstown may be for you. Otherwise, it serves only as a warning of the perils of overdevelopment.
    “Queenstown used to be nice, but it’s a mess, now,” Verduyn says, as we continue our trip down the Upper Clutha. “We don’t want to get like that.”

    http://www.boston.com/travel/articles/2004/11/07/new_zealand_at_a_crossroads/

    New Zealand is the new Eden, its clean and green image the beneficiary of a public-relations windfall direct from Middle-earth. Americans are not just visiting the country in numbers unimaginable only five years ago—they’re immigrating, drawn by an arcadian ideal (never underestimate the pacifying effect of several billion sheep), breathtakingly cheap waterfront real estate, see-through fish-tank architecture, and an investment climate that, as one Las Vegas resort owner–cum–South Island winemaker puts it, makes New Zealand “the Switzerland of the South Seas.”
    One of the most powerful forces in the shilling of the nation is Helen Clark, familiar to all Kiwis as Madame Prime Minister. In her book, there are no bad tourists, only ones with shallow pockets. And in a recent campaign that will go down in history, Clark aggressively packaged and promoted New Zealand as a place where Californians in particular, because of their relative proximity and the kinship in lifestyles, might consider putting down roots. “Active recruitment,” she called it, and some of the state’s richest residents signed up. Vive le marketing.

    http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/kiwi-country/1

    Since May 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • jh, in reply to alobar,

    “The need of human beings to belong to and unite behind a common culture, institutions and values is part of human nature. This need is hard-wired because of its survival value during evolutionary history. It cannot be overcome by government policies and coercion aimed at its elimination.”

    Sounds like one mans opinion to me

    but what if it is true?

    Since May 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Why wouldn’t infill be related to population growth?

    Because the immigrant population might be less interested in infill than the non-immigrant? The inner suburban “gentrification” of Auckland did the exact opposite, driving out immigrant populations. Suburbs that had been sneered at due to their density and the cheap shoddiness of the dwellings became popular due to their proximity to the city, and having a 19th century workman’s cottage came to be owning something of character.

    (ETA: And of course with a decent budget or a lot of hard work, they can be made very pleasant)

    Furthermore, quite obviously infill doesn’t have to happen as population grows. Sprawl is another option, and so is high-rise. But infill did happen because the feedback loop of gentrification and massive profits from property investment led the land owners, primarily older NZers, to double down by subdividing. It wasn’t a solution to provide lodging to poor immigrant labour (although it was in the beginning) but instead it was a trendy choice, and still is now.

    Foreign buyers are far less likely to see the value in those suburbs. They can get much nicer property in sprawling outer suburbs, without also being surrounded by an elderly population of rich locals. Or if they are actually living cheaply, as students must, they go into the nasty arse high rise blocks in the city.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • alobar, in reply to jh,

    but what if it is true?

    It still doesn't mean different cultures can't inhabit one city . And I can't say I've noticed many NZ cultural institutions being destroyed by recent immigrants .

    auckland • Since Apr 2010 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to jh,

    mass migration has fuelled a nasty real estate market

    No, it's a tiny factor. Our skewed financial system and investment culture are mostly to blame.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    We had a remarkable experience of the people richness of Auckland, when Josephine and I held a remembrance in Grey Lynn this morning, for my sister Diana Golding who died in Auckland Hospital on Friday morning, We were expecting a small gathering but over 70 people were there--social workers, local store owners, street people, the staff of Grey Lynn Library, a Buddhist monk, friends from all over Auckland. I learnt a great deal about the years when my sister's and my life diverged, through people just standing and sharing their memories of her. I didn't know, for example, that she was known as The Queen of Grey Lynn. There was ukeleles, electric guitars and singing and laughter. I was very, very impressed by the community tightness of this corner of old Auckland.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2560 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    There was ukeleles, electric guitars and singing and laughter. I was very, very impressed by the community tightness of this corner of old Auckland.

    Thanks Geoff. I'm sad for your loss, but cheered by what you've said about that community.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Thanks, Russell. Even the two local beat policewomen came along to offer their condolences.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2560 posts Report Reply

  • jh, in reply to BenWilson,

    Why wouldn’t infill be related to population growth?

    Because the immigrant population might be less interested in infill than the non-immigrant?

    I'm not blaming immigrants directly, I''m blaming population growth ( a policy choice) and an industry that feeds off it.
    As immigration has grown the construction sector has grown as has their lobbying power.
    Immigration creates it's own demand for skilled immigrants (housing is a significant driver of manufacturing).
    New arrivals require infrastructure. Infrastructure is costly and comes out of the taxes of our low paid workforce (urban limits are one of the responses to the cost of infrastructure).
    Wealthy immigrants pick the eyes out of the real estate. Treasury say that 70% of our houses are in a poor state of repair.
    Whatever the government says about immigration rules the public perception is different (equivalent to an Open Day with a For Sale sign).
    Globalisation is good for those at the top but not the bottom of the pyramid in developed countries like NZ.
    It is hard to see why we need more and more people when our main industries don't benefit from economies of scale, and manufacturing is becoming more automated.
    .

    Since May 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • jh, in reply to Sacha,

    mass migration has fuelled a nasty real estate market

    No, it’s a tiny factor. Our skewed financial system and investment culture are mostly to blame.

    I don't think it is a tiny factor.
    This is what the Savings Working Group said:

    Although "the favourable tax treatment of property investment" accounted for about 50% of house price increases between 2001 and 2007, the working group said, there was also strong evidence that rapid swings in immigration brought about price-rise "shocks".
    There was a sharp spike in immigration in 2001, 2002 and 2003 and, said working group committee member Dr Andrew Coleman, it appeared that property prices did not fall anywhere near as greatly when immigration fell again.
    The report added that there was little evidence that immigration boosted local incomes. In fact, the need to build roads and schools meant that net migration contributed to the national deficit.
    "Migration is another issue that the government should investigate further," the working group said. "There are indications that high immigration rates have pushed up government spending, house prices and business borrowing, and prevented necessary adjustments to the economy."

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/4622459/Government-policies-blamed-for-house-prices

    Since May 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • jh,

    Diversity isn't good for community

    Urbanists and planners like to imagine and design for a world of diversity. Diversity, we like to think, is both a social good and, as I’ve argued, a spur to innovation and economic growth.
    But to what degree is this goal of diverse, cohesive community attainable, even in theory?
    That’s the key question behind an intriguing new study, “The (In)compatibility of Diversity and Sense of Community,” published in the November edition of the American Journal of Community Psychology. The study, by sociologist Zachary Neal and psychologist Jennifer Watling Neal, both of Michigan State University (full disclosure: I was an external member of the former’s dissertation committee), develops a nifty agent-based computer model to test this question.
    Their simulations of more than 20 million virtual “neighborhoods” demonstrate a troubling paradox: that community and diversity may be fundamentally incompatible goals. As the authors explain, integration “provides opportunities for intergroup contact that are necessary to promote respect for diversity, but may prevent the formation of dense interpersonal networks that are necessary to promote sense of community.”

    http://www.theatlanticcities.com/neighborhoods/2013/11/paradox-diverse-communities/7614/

    Since May 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to jh,

    Is community (in the sense you're referring to) good in itself, though? You're almost defining it as something that self-inoculates against diversity. So again the question: Good for whom, or for what?

    I can see that highly coherent communities are probably stronger in wartime, for instance. Indeed, they've got a siege mentality going already.

    It might be nice if you're in the community, and you like the community. If you can't tick either of those boxes, though, a tight community can be a living hell. And when it comes to "human nature", it's worth noting that most people on this planet choose to live in cities. Urban drift has been a constant thing in NZ, and most other countries too. Perhaps cavemen would have chosen to live in cities too, if there had been any around.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • jh, in reply to BenWilson,

    Is community (in the sense you’re referring to) good in itself, though? You’re almost defining it as something that self-inoculates against diversity. So again the question: Good for whom, or for what?

    I'm not sure how to define community (in this sense) , but I think it means living where there is a common bond with those around you.
    I think this old article from Time Magazine explains it.
    http://www.oocities.org/athens/stage/8922/

    Since May 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • jh,

    IT HAS BECOME increasingly popular to speak of racial and ethnic diversity as a civic strength. From multicultural festivals to pronouncements from political leaders, the message is the same: our differences make us stronger.

    But a massive new study, based on detailed interviews of nearly 30,000 people across America, has concluded just the opposite. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam -- famous for "Bowling Alone," his 2000 book on declining civic engagement -- has found that the greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings. The study, the largest ever on civic engagement in America, found that virtually all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings.

    "The extent of the effect is shocking," says Scott Page, a University of Michigan political scientist.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/05/world/americas/05iht-diversity.1.6986248.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    Indirect evidence that the ghost of Franz Boas still haunts the antipodean ivory tower comes from leading scholars of ethnicity and nationalism who I contacted. They could not name one Australian scholar who professes biosocial theory. This is in line with the survey reported in the first essay in this series in the June issue.[2] No political science or sociology department reported a scholar basing his or her research or teaching on behavioural biology. The skew towards Marxist and other environmental theories means that scholars of nationality do not know what to do with the wealth of findings drawn from evolutionary psychology, ethology, and sociobiology—except ignore them.

    http://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2012/11/the-war-against-human-nature-iii/

    Since May 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to jh,

    Diversity isn't good for community

    nice try

    But, of course, this is the result of computer simulations of reality, not reality itself. Our identities, social relationships and actual neighborhoods are far more complex than simulations can get at.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Much support for diversity as a beneficial principle comes from our natural environment. Monocultures, not so good.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

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