The Barfoot & Thompson staffer who was fired for leaking real estate data used by Labour was just doing their duty and "acted out of the best of intentions", says Labour's housing spokesman Phil Twyford.
Barfoot & Thompson announced they had dismissed the unnamed worker yesterday following an investigation which concluded the person was responsible for multiple leaks to media and political figures, though there was no evidence of the data being given directly to the Labour Party.
The data showed 40 percent of homes sold in Auckland over a three-month period were bought by people with Asian surnames, despite Chinese New Zealanders making up only 9 percent of the city's population.
Labour says the data reveals Chinese speculators are running rampant in the country's housing market, though their conclusions have been labelled racist by many.
"I think this person did Aucklanders a favour," Mr Twyford told TV3's Paul Henry programme this morning.
"This is a debate that we need to have, and the Government has consistently denied that we have a problem and refused to trust the people of New Zealand with information.
"I think it's something about the way we debate – or don't really debate very well – these issues in New Zealand. This debate's going on all over the Western world at the moment – there is a tsunami of Chinese cash leaving China and it's largely being invested in real estate markets. That's what we have to deal with."
The data points to a large number of non-resident Chinese speculators trading in New Zealand houses, Mr Twyford said, and if the issue isn't tackled "our kids will never be able to buy a house in this town again".
"Aucklanders are desperate to know what's going on in our housing market – the land is being sold from under our feet because the National Government refuses to do anything about it."
Earlier this week party leader Andrew Little said if Labour gets into Government it will ban non-resident foreigners from buying existing houses in New Zealand within 100 days of getting into power.