Duncan Garner's 'ugly' face of immigration: A shopping queue in Kmart.
Breakfast television host Duncan Garner was disturbed by the social composition of a Kmart queue he was recently standing in.

CAPITALISM HAS A LONG AND INGLORIOUS history of scapegoating immigrants for the economic and social problems it is responsible for. And it continues today.

In the United States President Donald Trump is continually beating the anti-immigrant drum and talks of building walls and expelling undocumented immigrants, even their children - who were born in the United States.

In New Zealand immigrants, like beneficiaries and other minority groups, often find themselves being targeted for a myriad of society's woes.

This week TV3 breakfast television host Duncan Garner chose to put the boot into immigrants and immigration. In what can only be described as blatant xenophobia he raises the 'spectre' of a New Zealand  where "we will have 6.3 million people by 2038. There'll be more Asians than Maori." Once again, the 'yellow peril' is hauled out of the closet for a good airing.

It seems Garner is uncomfortable with people who aren't white like him. Such is his apparent distress , he was recently alarmed by the social composition of a long Kmart queue he was standing in, waiting to pay for some socks and underwear. Annoyed by the length of the queue which " could have been anywhere in South East Asia", Garner whiled away the minutes doing a little racial profiling. Observes Garner: "There were "Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Syrians, and many others." Many others? Many other 'non white' people do you mean, Duncan?

Interestingly, as someone noted on Twitter, only fourteen Syrian refugees have gone to Auckland in the past decade

Garner's retail experience leads him to suggesting that problems such as lack of affordable housing and generally declining living standards can all be laid at the door of too many immigrants. In Garner's opinion,who shortly before the 2014 election gave John Key his 'big tick' for his government's management of the economy, all our economic woes and grievances can be seen through the prism of immigration.

Garner wants the party to become more exclusive and thinks we need more bouncers on the door: " Until now we've had the world gate-crash our party. But now it is time to make it work for us. Our small population is our winning card. Let's not lose that.'

A dedicated cheerleader for the market economy , Garner won't place the responsibility for New Zealand's economic and social problems at the door of those who are really responsible- successive governments, both Labour and National, who have pursued economic and social policies that have led inevitably to more poverty and inequality and more division.

We live in a society where market forces and values have been prioritised over basic human needs and aspirations. But Garner would rather scapegoat immigrants instead - even claiming they are responsible for stealing 'our dreams'.

While Garner has been suitably lambasted on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere it would be a mistake to think that he is somewhere out on the political fringes, mouthing off unpopular and unacceptable opinions. He isn't.

Duncan Garner : Worried that he was lost in South East Asia.
Let us not forget that his peers voted him the Canon Media 'Opinion Writer of the Year' for 2017. And Garner would no doubt be sympathetic to Labour leader Jacinda Ardern's determination to curtail immigration - although not at the expense of 'market need'.

While some Labour supporters have bagged Garner there has been little reaction from them to Labour's plan to bring in migrant workers as and when the need arises. This is essentially a formulae for the exploitation of migrants as cheap and insecure labour - an all too familiar capitalist method. But given the rapturous response Ardern has received from loyal Labour supporters, they are apparently OK with this.

Note: Some months ago Duncan Garner blocked me from following him on Twitter - both on his own personal account and on TV3'S AM Show account. Do I get an award?


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