Written By: - Date published: 2:41 pm, May 14th, 2014 - 86 comments
Categories: Uncategorized - Tags:
Russel Norman and David Cunliffe have asked about John Key’s government’s record in Question Time today. They referred to this census evidence, as reported on RNZ, that the inequality gap on NZ is growing.
In 2006, the median income for someone in the Orakei area, including Mission Bay and St Heliers, was $36,600.
Data from last year’s census, which has just been released, shows that figure has grown to $42,700.
But incomes for those in the poorest suburb of Mangere-Otahuhu actually fell, dropping $200 to $19,700 last year.
The figures for Auckland as a whole show the median income last year was $29,600, an increase of nearly $3000 from 2006.
Key denied there is rising inequality in NZ. He ignores the increasing inequality in Auckland that is impacting heavily on those struggling to make ends meet: they are also living with increasing transport, housing and energy poverty. Key’s response is to divert from this by, ignoring the gleefully attacking the opposition and praising the (alleged) successes of his government.
Key still keeps referring to general numbers of jobs and employment, and ignores the extent of underemployment, and low paid jobs.
The speaker again runs cover for an out of control government, that refuses to be held to account – something expected in a democracy.
I’ll link to the transcript of the exchanges as they become available – and to Question 2 by David Cunliffe about income inequality. Key’s response to that is to deliver a speech, blaming the GFC, and praising the government poverty.
NZ’s growing income inequality gap is in an international context, where income inequality is growing in the US, as reported by the New York Times.
What if inequality were to continue growing years or decades into the future? Say the richest 1 percent of the population amassed a quarter of the nation’s income, up from about a fifth today. What about half?
To believe Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics, this future is not just possible. It is likely.
In his bracing “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” which hit bookstores on Monday, Professor Piketty provides a fresh and sweeping analysis of the world’s economic history that puts into question many of our core beliefs about the organization of market economies.
His most startling news is that the belief that inequality will eventually stabilize and subside on its own, a long-held tenet of free market capitalism, is wrong. Rather, the economic forces concentrating more and more wealth into the hands of the fortunate few are almost sure to prevail for a very long time.
To a later Question, Bill English referred to OECD evidence that income inequality in NZ, is not rising: at best, it’s flat. Parker responded by asking if those stats have taken account of housing affordability, and included measurements of wealth such as capital gains.
Several questions in Question Time have focused on issues of income inequality, and causing heated debate.
Update: Question One
In which David Cunliffe referred to the Salvation Army giving the government a D in their report (as reported by the Child Poverty Action Group), and to the numbers of children in poverty (as in the Child Poverty Report, which indicates a rise in diseases of poverty, and that 10% of children live in severe and persistent poverty).
In which David Parker refers to rising housing unaffordability as an indicator or f rising inequalities, and the impact on this of a lack of capital gains tax.
And Bill English said this:
On average across New Zealand, income inequality has not got worse. In fact, we are one of two developed countries where the OECD as recently as yesterday has said that it has been stable since 1994—and the Opposition should take some credit for that.
OEDC on Income Inequality in NZ: 3 News report in 2011.
A new report reveals the average income of New Zealand’s richest 10 percent is now 10 times that of the poorest 10 percent.
It’s a similar story across the OECD, but New Zealand’s income gap has grown faster than any other developed country over the past 20 years.
English was talking about the “average income as a measure. The 2011 report tells a different story because it compares the top and bottom 105.