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Editorial

Is Queenstown still the welcoming place it once was?

January 27 2020 by Scott Stevens

Is Queenstown still the welcoming place it once was?


For a community that can be so generous and considerate, it’s discouraging to see the plethora of comments on Queenstown Trading with veiled racism and xenophobia, after the last few week’s road accidents.  


As a second-generation immigrant to Canada, I grew up in the vast pool of multiculturalism that was the Greater Toronto Area. When I left, I had hoped to find a place that would make me feel just as welcome. Queenstown had been the answer for the last five years however recently, I’m not so sure.


The negativity being hurled at “foreigners” on Facebook is disgusting, and it is disheartening to see the amount of support for some of these sentiments.


When people leave comments such as “Tourists from 3rd world countries…”, “…Foreign F***tards” or “Another CHINESE OPERATED BUS” on a public Queenstown forum, I have no choice but to second guess who I thought my kind neighbours were.


Has this place I’ve chosen to live not actually been all that accepting of me? Perhaps the praise I’ve given to friends and family about the kindness of Queenstown locals was a misjudgement.


It should not be okay to share racially insensitive Youtube videos on a Queenstown community page in jest. What message does this send to those from other countries who have just recently settled here?


On the post regarding last week’s bus incident, where is the concern for the 20 people injured? Had this been a bus full of locals, would the comments have read differently? Would we still be demanding to see the bus driver’s licence? Who counts as foreigners?


I understand the frustrations towards the amount of accidents on the roads. I do not however, understand the shameful manner in which people have set out on a “us” vs “them” parade, making those from Asian decent living in Queenstown feel inferior and uncomfortable in a place that they have chosen live. Look around you.

Queenstown is full of “foreigners” from all over the world. People come here with stories of their own, meet and discover new cultures, develop new ways of thinking, learn things, indulge in food, art and community.


Plastering hate speech – and yes, I do refer to it as hate speech – all over a community forum does nothing but make people feel excluded and outcasted.


It doesn’t matter that these comments are directed towards tourists. The words are there, the words are hurtful, and they speak volumes against the ethnicities in which they attack.


A sad feeling to have after having been enamoured with a place I was so eager to call home.


Christine Law - Local Resident

- Scott Stevens
Comments
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  • Crash Victim

    To point out the brazen obvious fact that the majority of crashes, near misses and inconveniences on our local roads are caused by tourists is not racist when it is a fact.

    I think its disheartening to see so many local apologists chucking around the "racist/racism" card as if it erases the simple fact that the majority of tourists that come here with little to no driving experience, hiring the biggest car they can and then heading out onto roads with little to no clue of how to handle a vehicle are, in fact from the same region of the world.

    As is the thinley-veiled Stasi threat of being called a "racist" should make us all ignore what we see and experience in everyday life on our local roads. The majority of "support of these sentiments" has arisen not through some overwhelming desire to hate tourists or specifically these people but rather the unanimous collective 'sigh' of a community that has experienced years upon years of being on the receiving end of a; near miss, hold up, fender bender or incident caused by a tourist who heralds from a certain part of the world.

    People are not inherently racist, but they do have a tipping point and if supporting or pointing out the inherent flaw in this broken system of tourists being permitted to drive a vehicle on our roads with no experience, then Kill someone ( a respected community member) and then be given a fine of just $4k and walk away while the next set of tourists are picking up a Toyota Rav4 right now - well yes then call the whole community racist and grace us with your compassion first before suggesting a better way to combat this issue.

    Unfortunately what you may refer to as "hate speech" is actually the everyday voice of reality calling.

    Posted 27/01/2020 3:55pm (2 months ago)

  • MR GREENY

    The major problem with driving here is the total lack of policing the road rules, both for locals and tourists. The Police just do not police the rules. Example....every day when I ride my bike to work, I see at least 8 people texting or on their phones while driving. You see it all day long....people driving down Shotover St all using their phones....NOTHING is ever done about it.....Example people (mostly locals) running red lights.....yesterday I was sitting on a red light in Ballarat St / Stanley St.....the Stanley St traffic had the green light....it turned orange, and a local tour company bus was approx 45 metres from the intersection....what did the driver do, he gunned it, and accelarated through .....when he hit the intersection he was going approx 60kph, and entered the intersection approx 3 seconds after it had turned red....as he hit the intersection, the green pedestrian light came on....this sort of thing happens countless times each and every day....again NOBODY polices it.....example Not stopping at STOP signs at intersections.....it is the norm here to slow up and coast through STOP signs.....again I see it each and every day.....the Police do nothing about it......Example...failing to indicate....this town would be one of the worst places on planet earth for drivers failing to indicate (and again, Im talking about locals)......what needs to happen here is for the police to actually POLICE the rules....they spend 99 percent of the time looking for drunk drivers and speedsters....they need to put a bit of effort into the basics as well....or get someone else to do the basics for them.....theres no point in having road rules if nobody polices them....

    Posted 27/01/2020 5:33pm (2 months ago)

  • Tina Trousselot

    This is so important and I completely agree. Hate Speech has no place in NZ neither in 2020. I'm Kiwi born and raised in the North and I've been so disgusted at the racist posts and blatant whinging. If they don't like tourists and they don't want their cash then they should move.

    Posted 01/02/2020 11:00pm (2 months ago)

  • Knobby McKinney knob

    Didn’t take long for a Kiwi to give it the old “I’m a kiwi and I’ve been living here for xxx years followed by the bingo of “if they don’t like tourists they can leave”

    TOURISTS ARE KILLING OUR LOCAL COMMUNITY DUE TO IMPROPER DRIVING!

    How hard is it to understand that people are p1ssed off!!! It’s not racist to say that when you see 100 crashes by Chinese people you say “Chinese people cause crashes”

    Should we all just not talk about it or sweep it under the rug so we don’t get “Tina” calling us a racist!? Complete bollocks.

    Oh wait I know... “kiwi drivers are just as bad”

    I’d rather have an over aggressive kiwi driver than an Asian rental car on the road any day

    Posted 02/02/2020 6:37pm (2 months ago)