Yesterday Stata NZ released a lot of data gathered from the 2013 census. I and others queried the income statistics reported yesterday in the NZ Herald. Today Jared Savage in the NZ Herald has provided a more comprehensive article on the growth in the rich poor divide, as revealed by this year’s census [h/t Puddleglum].
The gap between the rich and the poor appears to be widening with the number of Kiwis earning more than $100,000 increasing by nearly three quarters.
More than 181,000 people – or 5 per cent of the population – have a six-figure salary, up from 105,525 people seven years ago, according to the 2013 national Census data released yesterday.
And while the number of women on six-figure salaries has doubled since the 2006 Census they make up only 25 per cent of the total earning more than $100,000.
The statistics show median income has increased from $24,400 to $28,500 but the figure has not kept pace with the inflation rate – calculated to be $28,694 to have the same purchasing power.
A Herald analysis of the income figures show a 90 per cent rise in people earning between $70,001 and $100,000 – from 125,115 to 238,212 – and a 40 per cent increase in those bringing home between $50,000 and $70,000.
Of those earning more than $100,000 41 per cent live in Auckland, 19 per cent in Wellington and 12 per cent in Christchurch.
Savage also reports on the way gender differences have changed somewhat since 2006. There gains in education and in the numbers of women in higher income brackets. however, this has not been matched by gains in the average wage for women, with women on low incomes suffering most.
Women are a fifth more likely to have a degree than men, but women’s incomes lag behind men’s because women are still more likely to do more unpaid child-minding.
The median wage gap between men and women widened by $1000, with the income difference between the sexes increasing from $12,400 to $13,400. Men earn $36,500 and women $23,100, according to the median income figures, up from $31,500 and $19,100 respectively.
The number of women on six-figure salaries has doubled from 22,824 to 45,294 since the 2006 Census.
In this context, an article today on Stuff shows the inhumane and punitive impacts of Paula Bennett’s welfare reforms. They have a particularly harsh impact on mothers in rural communities.
A Waikato woman with no car or access to a bus walked the equivalent of a marathon to make a Work and Income appointment, to stop her benefit getting cut off.
Sarah Warren, a Putaruru mother of four who has been on the benefit for the past 20 years, walked from Putaruru to Tokoroa twice in the past month after receiving a letter from Work and Income requiring her to attend a mandatory meeting.
With no car and no public transport available she completed the 25-kilometre return journey on foot.
“If you didn’t turn up they cut your benefit off,” she said.
Warren said she was shortsighted, but did not have her glasses on either trip.
She said she could “hardly see” as she walked along the side of the road while cars and trucks roared past.
After finishing her hour-long appointment she had to hurry home to her four children before school finished.
“I was rushing to try and get back.”
Her case manager was not interested in finding a solution, she said.
“They didn’t care how I got there. They didn’t want to hear about my situation.”
*Median weekly income from wages and salaries (for those receiving income from this source) was $844, up $38 (4.8 percent).
*Median hourly earnings were $21.58, up 72 cents (3.5 percent).
*Median weekly income for all people from all sources was $575.
John Key’s New Zealand: a brighter future for the well-off; more struggle and hardship for those on low incomes.