Poverty denial is very important to the right. Denial of a problem means you aren’t responsible for fixing it. Beyond rewarding the wealthy, National have little else to offer except small business self reliance pop psychology ZB talking points which is why it will be so important to attend these inequality lectures…
The equality debate: Inequality in NZ under spotlight
Two British health researchers are gearing up to challenge New Zealanders’ unusually high tolerance of what many countries consider a social evil – inequality.
Professors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, whose book The Spirit Level was subtitled “Why more equal societies almost always do better”, will present this year’s Sir Douglas Robb Lectures at the University of Auckland from May 19-23.
Economist Tim Hazledine says the book “has made a huge impact on just about every field of social science and policy analysis” since it appeared in 2009.
…cutting through the Right wing denial, here are the FACTS on inequality in NZ…
-The gap between high and low incomes has widened faster in recent decades in NZ than in most other developed nations
-Across all adults. the top 1% owns three times as much wealth as the poorest 50%.
-NZ now has the widest income gaps since detailed records began in the early 1980s.
-The average household in the top 10% of NZ has nine times the income of one in the bottom 10%
-Between 170 000 – 270 000 children living in poverty (depending on the measures used)
-One of the world’s worst worst records of child health and well-being
-One major report on children’s welfare ranked NZ twenty-eighth out of 30 developed countries.
-There are more Pakeha in poverty then Maori, but poverty impacts Maori & Pacifica more acutely. 1 in every 10 Pakeha households live in poverty, 1 in every 5 Maori and Pacific households live in poverty.
-Maori had 95% of their land appropriated and alienated between 19th Century and 20th Century. (Compensation for the almost complete loss of an economic base in just over a century? A mere $1.4Billion in Treaty settlements. A steal at twice the price you might say. Not only have Maori been ripped off, but they are also forced to live in poverty with the reality of generations worth of being ripped off. Insult to injury, jowl by blistered jowl.)
-Women earn 13% less than men and are under represented in senior positions within almost every occupation. Many are forced to take low income part time work.
-Subsidies for Kiwisaver contributions and some Working for Families tax credits, are available only to those in paid work or, sometimes, in full-time paid work. A lower proportion of Women are in full time work so they are more likely to be excluded from these initiatives and more reliant on inadequate state benefits.
-Pacific Islanders are 3 times more likely to be unemployed than the general population’s rate, they also, like recent immigrants, struggle alongside Maori against structural discrimination.
-These groups represent the 800 000 NZers living below the poverty line.
-Against that number, 29 000 people own 16% of NZs wealth, and 13 000 NZers have incomes over $250 000.
-Wages and benefits are too low for people to live on, it isn’t an issue of budgeting, it’s an issue of income.
-Poverty erodes voice and citizenship which generates inequality.
-People’s ability to participate fully in their society and enjoy a sense of belonging is vital for a Democracy to flourish.