Auckland Council Slammed For 'Racist' Survey; Comments Might Attract Racial Slur Against Asians

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By Reissa Su | May 5, 2014 5:40 PM EST

Auckland Council's "racist" survey has been crticized for asking residents to rate their feelings toward Asians. The survey has been scrapped after widespread criticism.

The council survey was sent to 20,000 people living in in Balmoral and Northcote, Auckland's most ethnically diverse suburbs. The survey claimed their responses would be used to improve shopping precincts in the suburbs.

In the survey, Kiwis were asked how people felt about Asians and rate their feelings from "very cold" to "very warm." The Asians in question include the Pakehas, Chinese, Koreans, Indians and other Asians. The Auckland Council survey also asked if their interactions with Asian groups were "favorable" or "unfavorable" or whether they think immigrants are contributing to the economy.

Residents were also asked if it would be a "good idea" to group Asian businesses together. The survey, which was approved by an ethics committee, has been condemned as "racist." The council has since apologized and pulled out the survey. Ratepayers will be paying for the error costing $18,000.

David Edmunds, a resident in North Shore, said he was shocked when he saw the survey questions. He felt he was being asked to say if residents felt very cold or warm toward their Asian neighbors.

Edmunds added when they talk to people as individuals, there are those who they like and dislike but that doesn't mean they put an "ethnic slant" on it. He noted the survey's "other Asians" category was also a discriminatory grouping diverse cultures.

According to reports, Auckland Mayor Len Brown expressed his regret for the controversial survey. He said the council was correct in withdrawing the survey. Virginia Chong, the national president of New Zealand Chinese Association, believed the survey was discriminatory. She said everyone is equal in a diverse community and should be treated equally.

Rajen Prasad, current Labour MP and former race relations concillator, described the survey as "very odd." He said it was careless and remarked that when sensitive subjects are tackled, the method of collecting answers should be considered.

Bevan Chuang, a former Auckland Council ethnic people's advisory panel member, said the survey will only attract racist comments and suggested questions about changes in the business.

North Shore Councilor George Wood slammed the survey and thought they had no right to delve into what other people think about ethnic groups. He hoped something could be done to prevent it from happening again in the future. 

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