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The horror of inequality in an egalitarian nation

By   /  June 29, 2016  /  25 Comments

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…the top 10% own half the wealth while the bottom 40% hold less than 3% of the wealth. How this horror story has been allowed to occur in a nation that once prided itself on its egalitarianism is the real issue here, this is the true legacy of 30 years of neoliberalism.

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The stats are damning…

The average New Zealand household was worth $289,000 in the year to June 2015, Statistics New Zealand said today. However wealth was not evenly distributed, with the top 10 percent accounting for around half of total wealth. In contrast, the bottom 40 percent held 3 percent of total wealth.

…the top 10% own half the wealth while the bottom 40% hold less than 3% of the wealth. How this horror story has been allowed to occur in a nation that once prided itself on its egalitarianism is the real issue here, this is the true legacy of 30 years of neoliberalism.

40 000 homeless, 40 000 hungry children every day, 800 000 living in poverty and hundreds of thousands living in over crowded conditions. Labour did little to stop this in their 9 year term and National has exacerbated it. Because we have a media that is asleep at the wheel, a corrupt Government that abuses power at the drop of a hat has been allowed to create a property bubble that benefits speculators and keeps those speculators voting National.

It’s easier to buy your third, fourth and fifth rental property under National than it is to buy your first home.

The simple reality for those being crushed in poverty is the need for a political revolution where their needs and their dreams are put first. Cradle to grave Boomers who have had their existence subsidised but removed those for everyone else and middle class speculators will always vote for National and it won’t be until after 2020 when Gen Xers and Millennials catch up in voting that the demographics change.

The world has just seen what happens in the UK when those who are failed are left behind, let’s hope speculators and boomers feel the same level of shock when NZs generations who have been denigrated are the electoral majority.

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  1. Helena says:

    I’m backing many of Josie’s suggestions for a better NOW.
    But we still apparently live in “God’s own country” and aren’t our All Blacks world beaters … and our rowers … and you must buy this and that … and donate more so that we can “find” a cure for this and that.
    It’s called distract the masses.
    In the meantime : (I know I’ve posted this elsewhere)
    When we get rid of those who practice Service to Self we can introduce the hidden medical cures and use as much electricity as we want for no charge. Hopefully soon.

  2. Adrian says:

    I agree, that it is pointless for a real Left Wing party trying to appeal to the mythical middle class, they are the real lost generation, the cool aid has long taken it’s devastating effect on them.
    Moving forward, it is time we had our real Labour party back, ready to shed the shackles of it recent neo liberal past, and ready to move forward on a platform of real social change, based on the traditional values of the Labour Left, a party that the workers, the young, the poor and the disenfranchised can really get in and support with real passion and real belief.
    It could then give the public an easy choice…
    Stay with National or any other centrist party and remain just a consumer in New Zealand.
    Vote (this new left) Labour and become a active citizen of New Zealand again.

    • John W says:

      Until Labour publicly renounce: their neoliberal demolition of our infrastructure, condemn the corporatisation and privatisation of public commons, the flirting with trade pacts to override our sovereignty, the killing off of unions with legislation to individualise workers conditions so enhance employers control and profit, the on going restructuring of the health system and introduction of more private for profit services while implementing a lid on funding, the abolition of Education Boards that were experienced watchdogs over provincial and urban schools; then they will not represent the bulk of NZ who are steadily being disenfranchised.

      Roger Douglas , De Cleene, Moore, Bassett and the misled egotistical Lange, paved the way for inequity to thrive. The damage they caused structually to NZ cannot be underestimated.


      • Afewknowthetruth says:

        Unfortunately, the damage done by faux Labour was so great it can never be undone. And the damage done by National has been sufficient to completely ruin most people’s lives in the near future -it’s just that most people still have not realised.

        At this late stage in the game there is no way out of the horrible mess that has been created by politicians, though we could stop making matters worse faster. Unfortunately, there is no political will for even that agenda.

      • Rosie says:

        You forgot Prebble.

  3. Tiger Mountain says:

    there is significant brain rot (aka “atomisation” as academics have put it) among the population after 30 years of monetarist hegemony which hampers organising a fightback by the 40%, or voting to “send the elevator back down” by those who made it to the top floor

    people know their Flybuys points to the last cent but ignore the poverty stats, this brief set of statistics should be stencilled/postered across the country and bannered on every blog and web site till the message gets through

  4. CLEANGREEN says:

    Michael Joseph Savage, a latter day saint we will perhaps never see again. “WE ARE HERE TO SERVE NOT TO MERELY TALK”

    Yes and the Police and Doctors are supposed also do this.

    We used to have real people with real moral compass as Michael Joseph Savage had a fabric laden with dignity, integrity and transparency with common respect for all.

    This is where we have to return to if we as a species are to survive the century out and go on being all things Savage intended us to be.

    • m.gray says:

      We don’t have leaders like Michael Joseph Savage in NZ anymore instead we have greedy followers destroying the social fabric of our beautiful country.

  5. Castro says:

    This is not a nation.There will be a civil war. People are going to lose their lives in political violence. The time for words is at an end. Labour is a right wing party.Get off the armchair and get fighting

  6. WILD KATIPO says:

    ” The world has just seen what happens in the UK when those who are failed are left behind, let’s hope speculators and boomers feel the same level of shock when NZs generations who have been denigrated are the electoral majority.”

    That’s right Martyn, … they just got served.

    And its been a long time in coming and for that reason…. my support tends towards those who voted Brexit.

    Why? … because ever since the cancer of neo liberalism was foisted on us through guile and deceit , we have had shittier and shittier governance.

    Conniving fat bastards who deliberately lie to the pubic, who deliberately use the guilt trip slogan of ‘ personal responsibility ‘ as if they are some sort of all knowing perverted mother figure.

    And now their getting their comeuppance its great to hear them squeal.

    Let them burn.

    Let them burn. Just like they did to us.

    And yes- that includes the Clark govt which did NOTHING to reverse the perverted effects of neo liberalism in this country.

    The issue is not whether they were right or left , – its whether they were neo liberals.

    Neo liberal filth .

    And FILTH they are.

    FILTH that glibly mocks whole family’s being homeless .

    FILTH that gloats about creating a LOW WAGE ECONOMY.

    FILTH that brags about the destruction of the concepts of NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY.

    FILTH that pays lip service to the notions of the democratic vote – then hypocritically uses the law and strong arm unsaid threats to quell any signs of public dissension and unrest.

    FILTH who places their spokespersons in the media and pays homage to media moguls that donate to their party to propagate ‘ THEIR’ opinions and starve any democratic political opposition.

    FILTH that passes legislation ensuring the top income earners pay little tax while placing the burden of low wage and middle classes.

    FILTH that deliberately underfund’s our social services as a ruse to to usher in privatization for their scumbag parasitic business colleagues.

    FILTH that deliberately creates an economic speculative time-bomb just so that they and their colleagues can stay in power and garner fat donations from their voting demographic at the expense of so much human misery.

    FILTH that lectures ‘austerity’ and uses emotive laden terms such as ‘their all drug users ‘ to smear the most vulnerable – just because they chose not to be parasitic market manipulators.

    FILTH that sits on their FAT FUCKING ARSE’S in parliament getting paid handsomely by OUR FUCKING TAX DOLLARS to justify their shitty neo liberal concept of a ‘ hands off do nothing bullshit government ‘.

    FILTH that uses undemocratic lobbyists and bloggers to run smear campaigns to slant elections and TAX PAID FOR govt agency’s like the SIS and GSCB to spy on the political opposition and the general public.

    FILTH that sets up and frames and acts illegally against New Zealand residents – such as Kim Dotcom and 88 others – then retrospectively changes the law after they were caught out acting illegally to stave off a public prosecution trial.

    FILTH that arbitrarily rides roughshod over the massive public disquiet over signing a so called trade deal that would overrule our own parliament by a board of collective of foreign corporate’s .

    FILTH that again rides roughshod over the legal stance of the public of this country by introduction by stealth of nuclear warships when the public has clearly stated NO !!! in order to clinch yet more business opportunity’s for their rich overseas mates.

    This is only the minuscule START of the local version of neo liberal FILTH tactics by this recent govt – and interspersed with that and constant historic examples , – I’m sure the people could add a library to what I’ve said.

    Basically , if YOU count yourself as a neo liberal , – YOU are nothing more than human fucking FILTH.

    You love looking down on others you bloody bastard.

    You love seeing the peasants slave for your shitty egotistical station in life.

    You enjoy manipulation and being a ruthless fucker even if it costs human lives in wars that your arms factory’s and food embargoes and austerity programs cause.

    You rejoice when your own countrymen and women are suffering economic hardship and breakdown because that tells you your policy’s of upwards movement of wealth and power is working

    You don’t give a flying fuck!

    You aint even a fucking human being!!!!

    You disgusting , pathetic tapeworms.

    Good on the British for pulling out of Brexit if means viruses like you lose your ill gotten wealth.

    I applaud them for it.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      N.B – ‘ pulling out of BREXIT’ …

      Clearly – the meaning was intended as ‘ voting for BREXIT ‘.

      And for that ?…. again I applaud the English peoples democratic choice to put the boot into a disgusting right wing neo liberal political govt and an impotent , pussy footing so-called Left wing who wants to be namby pamby with these neo liberal cancers.

      Totally applaud their two fingered salute to the globalists and their manipulators.

      Good on them.

    • Castro says:

      Amen. Get some guillotines, chop ’em and watch them burn… literally. How to achieve this? Hmm… just keep doing NOTHING and watch inequality widen even further until society collapses… sowing the seeds for their own destruction.

    • CLEANGREEN says:


      NOW LET’S SEE THE REST OF THE UNDER THRODDEN FOLLOW LIKE Greece, Iceland, Dutch, French, Irish, Portugal, Spain and Italy lets see if you have a spine.

      • Andrea says:

        It would have been better if they’d had a BRAIN, not a spine. Even one amongst the collective would have been great.

        To heed the like of Johnson and Gove. Gove! Specious little numpty.

        If there’s cursing to be done – level it at the LibDems who promised electoral reform, then went to the rose garden and lost all honour.

        Track back to Teflon Tony. Yes, that batch of ‘Labour’ allieviated poverty and near-drowned the nations in bureaucracy, raising resentment and division. Regarded by many as a war criminal for involving Britain in Iraq. Still interfering for his own good.

        Class. Immigration. Loss of work and pride and opportunities. Inflicted ‘austerity’ that wrecked pensions, starved the afflicted, caused suicides by the many hundred. Food banks flourishing. Rents rising. Work being atomised.

        And what did England do? Voted for the indifferent Tories and screamed ineffectually and xenophobically at the immigrants. Cracked down on protests and riots and whinged.

        The problem wasn’t out in Europe and Brussels. It was at home, and they were too sullen stupid to sort it out.

        And never ever forget the insidious power of that once-an-Aussie creature – Rupert Murdoch with his bog-paper red tops. The Sun…News of the World – propaganda to make master propagandists blush with pride.

        They’ve raised the old middle finger. Only to find that the Brexit mob actually have NO PLANS for what comes next. They were conned.

        Civil wars are mostly uncivil. Ask the Irish. And revolutions are simply that – a circular, bloody, mindless turn of the wheel squishing too many innocents in the muck below.

        How about evolution? It might just work.

  7. mary_a says:

    “Cradle to grave Boomers who have had their existence subsidised but removed those for everyone else and ….. will always vote for National ….”

    No not quite true, particularly where I and many of my long time friends are concerned. Of course there will be some of my baby boomer generation out there who are at the other end of the spectrum and will continue to vote National, simply for what’s in it for them and not for the good of the nation. But that’s an inter-generational thing regardless. It’s part of human nature and cannot be contributed to one generation on its own, although I do admit what we have now, inaccurately reflects badly on baby boomers in general, which isn’t quite correct in its entirely.

    I was born just after WWII, so fall into the boomer category. Yes, we did have a subsidized life, through free education at all three levels, free health care, fair first home housing loans through the State Advances Corporation, which also administered state houses for those who were unable to afford their first home immediately, a situation often used as a step up towards home ownership.

    As a child I lived in a state house until my parents were able to afford our first house, then we vacated the state provided home to move into our own property. That was more often than not the way that particular system worked.

    The child benefit also existed. Although not a lot, it did however allow many families to provide for their children up until the time they left school. This benefit could also be capitalized to get first home buyers into their first property.

    During those years, workers on the shop floor (so to speak) were paid a decent, livable wage, which covered rent, mortgage and was enough to put food on the table and clothe the family. It was a unionized workforce. I don’t remember any luxuries, other than maybe a visit to the local cinema (flea pit) once a month. At the time, we children were reasonably healthy, well educated and happy and secure in our existence. Most of all, it seemed we lived in a caring society, where communities took care of and watched out for each other.

    I certainly appreciate and realize now how fortunate my generation was to be able to know such an existence, where the state system seemed to work well for the benefit of the ordinary Kiwi, although it certainly wasn’t perfect. But it did an adequate job expected of it.

    In my case, I had the good fortune growing up in a family with a strong sense of social justice, where material wealth was not considered important, compared to the richness of having a caring and charitable spirit. I like to think I have taken the strong values I learned in my working class childhood years, into adulthood.

    Although it might seem otherwise, please don’t consider all us boomers are greedy and selfish, lumping us all together, because we certainly aren’t and a good majority of us definitely don’t vote National, never have and never will, in the hope of lining our own pockets at the expense of the less fortunate, instead living and voting for what we think is for the benefit of NZ as a whole.

    • Rosie says:

      Absolutely agree. I am tired of the blame being heaped on so called “greedy baby boomers”. We have worked and paid taxes all our working lives and our social contract with every government of the day was that we would have a pension. It is not our fault that successive governments have dicked around with various savings schemes and this one is the worst of the lot.
      However, what does make the difference these days is the erosion of meaningful, fulltime, properly paid work. Since the treachery of Douglas and Prebble in the 80s and the connivance of Richardson, Bolger and Shipley in the 90s, this is what has created the inequality and poverty we now experience.

    • Adrian says:

      I hear what you are saying, and I realize lumping a whole generation into one basket is pretty brutal, however this really has become or is certainly unfolding into a generational battle.
      Unfortunately this neo liberal economic system has opened an absolute can of worms called greed, it is an infectious disease that only a minority of humans are immune from (sounds like you are one of the lucky ones), the boomers got hit in the first wave, few have survived with their moral and ethical integrity in tact.
      Luckily for the next generation, there are less and less opportunities to catch this not fatal, but debilitating virus, it seems that this deadly plague is showing real signs if turning inward and (we all are hoping) will ultimately destroy itself.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Me too exactly, MARY_A
      I worked very hard to get a living, and never made quick money on the stock market since I don’t gamble.

      “Honest days pay for a honest day’s work” was the motto of that day me now at 72.

    • Mike in Auckland says:

      Point well made, some do not get this!

  8. WILD KATIPO says:

    Oh… and btw… I just watched a young curious Pukeko gingerly climb along a six foot tall wooden fence and flap its wings to get up onto the roof of my sleep-out just four feet away…

    I can hear him clambering around on the roof atm… so it was he who was doing that late last night… I thought it was a cat or possum or aliens or something …

    Hehehe… this country fella living in the middle of Auckland smiled and felt the connection … made my day .


  9. Mike in Auckland says:

    It sadly seems, as long as the ones affected have their i-phones to play with, and music to listen to, and casual jobs that pay for a room or shared room in an over crowded flat, they do not really care.

    Less wealth ownership means less responsibility, and more mobility. So with an i-phone and a bag full of clothes, the future mass precariat, who are mobile workers, students and small scale entrepreneurs, they simply adjust and compete at the bottom level and in some cases higher levels, to just get by.

    I see NO sense for revolution, we must first turn the electricity off, turn the water supply off and cut out the mobile phone and internet traffic to get people ready to revolt. Until that happens, or until it happens due to an economic and financial meltdown, nothing much will happen.

    • Castro says:

      Just keep waiting… it’s going to happen. What do you think will happen when the foreign born population of No Zealand reaches 80%?

  10. Mike in Auckland says:

    This will be of some relevance here also, the Statistics NZ have changed their criteria for “jobseeker” statistics, now excluding person that only look at job ads, and who do not actively look for jobs, i.e. make active applications. It is apparently a policy that the ILO is also following. In any case, we get more cosmetic exercises that are dressing up the realities, by tweaking statistics!

    So the unemployment rate went down as Radio NZ reported today, by changing the way unemployment is measured:

    See the publication on their website here:

    “Identifying active job seekers

    By definition, ’actively seeking work’ means an individual must use job search methods other than only looking at job advertisements – for example, contacting a potential employer or employment agency. The redeveloped HLFS has broader categories for job searching, which better reflect current methods of seeking employment. For example, internet and other electronic job search methods can now be more easily classified as passive job seeking as a result of improvements made to the HLFS. These changes will improve the accuracy of our unemployment statistics – to be classified as ‘unemployed’ a person must be both actively seeking work and available to work.

    As this change has implications for our measurement of labour force participation in future, we will revisit the historical data with an eye towards backdating this change. It is possible that we’ll need to make revisions to previous estimates of unemployment and labour force participation.”

    Nobody knows the real level of unemployment, that includes people having given up looking, same as nobody knows the real number that drop out of the WINZ system.

    Looking at this, we should ask, how reliable are the figures from Statistics NZ on wealth inequality, that may also be underestimated.

    And in Parliament today Key and his ministers were throwing around all these dressed up various figures from Statistics NZ and other data gatherers again, supposedly telling people they live in a “brighter future”, when so many are not.

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