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The Standard

National’s achievement: Highest ever inequality

Written By: - Date published: 12:55 pm, August 23rd, 2012 - 49 comments
Categories: class war, economy, equality, national, poverty - Tags: , , ,

In highlighting the record exodus to Australia and the failures of the Key government to live up to its campaign promises, Claire Trevett wrote:

The Department of Statistics is usually a benign presence on the political landscape, but over the past few months it has entered National’s nightmares like the grim reaper.

Each month, the relentless tread of Statistics New Zealand’s updates on migration echo through Parliament, haunting National with the ghosts of campaigns past.

Here are some more statistics that shame this appalling National government:

NZ inequality at highest level

Wages dropped and inequality rose to its highest level ever in New Zealand last year, a Ministry of Social Development report shows.

The Household Incomes Report measuring the wellbeing of New Zealanders by their after-tax incomes has revealed a fall in average wages for the first time since the early 1990s.

It shows the gap between rich and poor widened substantially in 2011, putting inequality at its highest level ever.

Middle and lower class workers saw their incomes fall sharply, while wages rose for high earners.

Incomes for the richest New Zealanders – named as decile 10 earners – rose the most sharply.

Inequality is socially corrosive and damaging. National is steering this country straight down the drain. No wonder so many of us are leaving.

49 comments on “National’s achievement: Highest ever inequality”

  1. AmaKiwi 1

    What does it take for the people to have no confidence in their government? Obviously facts are not enough.

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      It takes a media that is actually interested in the facts to disseminate them.

      • “It takes a media that is actually interested in the facts to disseminate them.”

        Yeah, when will a media organisation, The Herald for example, report on these statistics?

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1

          When a left coalition is in government as part of their job to get that coalition out of government and put the NACTs back in.

          • TheContrarian 1.1.1.1.1

            So you mean The Herald won’t report on these stats?

            • Lanthanide 1.1.1.1.1.1

              See Lynn’s previous statements about newspapers not influencing public debate any more.

              Also, one instance of one newspaper reporting statistics isn’t what I was suggesting…

                • Andrew Scobie

                  +1

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Lets see what position it gets on the 6pm News :)

                    • I agree that the TV news is garbage and has been for a long time.

                    • blue leopard

                      @ Contrarian

                      I don’t accept that your examples of the media’s coverage of this matter comes under “a media that is actually interested in the facts to disseminate them”

                      The examples you provide are simply rote reporting and very little to do with an investigative nature. They are simply regurgitating what some politicians have given them.

                      There is a debate raging world-wide as to what is causing the income-gap, whether this has negative consequences and what can be done to create more equity-the list of information and topics that this type of story could be used as a spring-board into is nearly endless. Our media could raise matters such as informing the public which political views are represented in this argument, what stances they take and the historical precedence of such a debate-famous minds’ views on the matter… etc

                      Our journos, however, choose simply to report by rote and not bring information to the table on the matter.

                      Information, astutely mentioned by one as being the currency of democracy, is being withheld from the majority by the style of lazy reporting which your examples provide good evidence of.

              • lprent

                I did? Not really.

                I would have said that they were having a rapidly diminishing effect. Largely because their readership of the hardcopy is increasingly elderly and ever more conservative. But you don’t need me to point that out. The massive fall in pulp from Kawerau being used in NZ and Aussie shows that up quite clearly. TV is having less of a drop off. But even their news has been getting falloffs in viewership.

                Newspapers have an online presence, but it has some pretty severe limitations like people not paying for the reporting. They also haven’t really got to grip with this whole idea of interaction with readers. The number of times I have seen Herald authors actually comment on their own articles is minimal. But the best test is to look at where kids get their news from, and mostly they get it direct from the net.

                I have rather noticed that reporters are kind of thin skinned as well. Fran is a good example. Good at dishing criticism out to all and sundry in a non-interactive medium but take offense at criticism.

                • “Good at dishing criticism out to all and sundry in a non-interactive medium but take offense at criticism.”

                  You mean kinda like people at The Standard when they are criticised by, say, the Paganis?

                  • lprent

                    The authors didn’t bother responding apart from a few comments and a post from The Sprout. I think he just likes kicking John.

                    Personally I don’t really value John’s opinions because they are somewhat shallow, don’t appear to involve much thought, and are really kind of similar to his friends and allies on the right. They appear to be based more on some kind of mythical populism than anything rational. Reminded me of Mike Moore with their lack of coherence.

                    I don’t know Josie at all apart from hearing her on the radio a few times. But she sounded kiwiblog as well – right down to putting up a strawman of single commentator so she could demonize the site. I guess that is so that she didn’t have to pick a fight with individuals. It is easier to demonize an abstract like a site name or “beneficaries” than real people. Just stupid and quite gutless…

                    Commentators – well they state their own views. Authors state their views. The site doesn’t have a view. However Josie appeared to be too ignorant of the online world to realise that programs don’t have editorial opinions.

                    What was fascinating was where they were getting support. Perhaps they should join the National party? Maybe they could improve their effectiveness rather than dealing with the ungrateful people on the left?

                • lprent

                  I’d also add that watching the dynamic of the stories in the NZ Herald site is one of my amusements. Apparently it is actually a largely readership driven procedure what stories get maintained on the pages – which is why all of the opinion pieces tend to be somewhat more prominent than they are in the pulp.

                  However you can usually clearly see the editorial stickiness of some stories as well, especially when the morning crew take over from the overnight

                • fender

                  Fran gets especially upset at criticism from people who use names that can’t be found in the phone book. It would be so much easier if the right-wing heavy’s had an address they could visit to crack a few kneecaps.

                  • lprent

                    I haven’t been in the phone book since about 1990. Why exactly would I want to get harassed by telemarketers? Not being in the whitepages was the obvious solution to that problem.

                    The whole tizzy that Fran and some of the other slow and conservative people have about anonymous/pseudonymous (where they don’t seem to realize the difference) is rather boring. The same discussion can be seen in usenet and BBS archives. In fact you can see it in publications ever since the printing press went into widespread usage in the 16th century if you care to go back that far.

                    In the end it is weight of the someone’s opinions and argument that counts. There is a handle attached to that and that carries the weight regardless if it is a persona name or a pseudonym. Everyone has an opinion and how that is valued doesn’t depend who their damn parents were – unless of course someone is stupid enough to feel that genetics is that important (is a species with almost as little genetic diversity as cheetah).

                    There are many people on this site who have maintained their handle for at least the 5 years that this site has been running. If they started commenting under their real name, their opinion would be as worthless as any other newbie. Handles have value, and in some areas have far more value than peoples real names.

                    I have been using lprent as a handle for over 30 years on network forums of various types. Most of the people who I have communicated with me over those years about anything from programming to business to politics only know me by that handle. The only reason I bothered to make my name “public” this time around was because someone was required to do it to register the domain name.

                    The only time a real name is of any particular relevance is when you are relying on something that is dependent on it. Drivers license, work experience and degrees are pretty much the only thing that come to mind for me. I use the degrees here on the odd occasion when arguing about a topic related to one of mine. But usually that is when an idiot says something that violates basic science.

                    Fran is a just a bit sluggish about this whole network thing. Hopefully she will catch on to the basics before she blows a valve somewhere.

    • Johnm 1.2

      Hi AmaKiwi
      It’s my honest belief not polemic that we’re a divided society now with a great deal of inequality. Those, a large minority who are doing well see National as protecting their position and will always vote National despite the Socially Destructive policies they put in place, they really don’t care about their fellow less fortunate Kiwis.
      This attitude has been nurtured by the Neoliberal greed machine of everyone for themselves and Bene bashing Bennies as second class citizens plus the low wage economy:
      we have of lots of working poor as well. Poorer Kiwis have no confidence but the better of do have confidence.

  2. Graham 2

    I cannot believe what morons the bene-bashing bigots are! They are clearly incapable of critical thought and don’t even bother getting their facts straight. They are simply regurgitating the neoliberal mantra of hate and entitlement.
    It has been established that a vast majority of beneficiaries’ claims are legitimate – this is a very easy fact to research. As for the few that are cheating the system, many of them are dealt with, but more importantly there are far more significant and concerning rorts taking place – from the top. This government’s agenda is to draw our attention away from these white collar criminals (corrupt bankers, greedy CEO’s) who are the real leeches in our society by institutionalising hatred of the most vunerable, whether they are genuine or not.

    • mike 2.1

      “This government’s agenda is to draw our attention away from these white collar criminals (corrupt bankers, greedy CEO’s) who are the real leeches in our society by institutionalising hatred of the most vunerable, whether they are genuine or not.”

      Indeed I just saw an interview with Naomi Klein where she said she believes that the reason the US is cracking down on any form of dissent in an increasingly Orwellian/Stalinist way, is that the elites are truly afraid of the books being opened and the public seeing just how massively we are being financially butt-fu*ked by them.

      Oh but look over there! What about them pot smoking dole bludgers eh? What else? Euthanasia! That always gets ’em going. Oh look there’s a dog in Rotorua that can do tricks with a tennis ball…

      • AmaKiwi 2.1.1

        In the USA they have done a fantastic job of convincing the public irrelevant distractions are what are really important. Abortion. Gay Marriage. Unlimited access to guns. Pot. Wow! These are really important issues compared to such trivia as endless wars, a failed economy, increasing gap between rich and poor, an unaffordable health system, and climate disaster. I forgot. This year’s devastating drought has nothing to do with human caused climate changes.

    • Johnm 2.2

      Graham
      100% right! :-)

  3. fender 3

    Despite his BS “campaign promises” Keys actual intentions are working out exactly the way he intended. Nobody believed his crap did they? He certainly didn’t intend to create a more equal society, theres no fun in that for the elites who like to have poor scum to kick around.

    • AmaKiwi 3.1

      “Nobody believed his crap did they?”

      Obviously they did, not once but twice.

      My faith in rational decision making is fading. It’s the salesman’s personality, not the facts, that makes the sale.

      Which is why David Parker as finance spokesperson is a cruel disservice to the rank and file. If you are hopeless at winning a safe electorate seat, you ain’t no salesman. What was Shearer thinking?

      • Bunji 3.1.1

        Erm, the only seats David Parker’s contested have all been safe – but safely right-wing, not Labour. He turned Otago red for the only time in its history, but has unsurprisingly failed to win Waitaki and Epsom since.
        You may contest his charisma, but his record on contesting electorate seats isn’t a particularly good example. More just shows him willing to put the hard yards in…

        • AmaKiwi 3.1.1.1

          David Parker has faced three electorate contests, each time against Jacqui Dean.

          2003, Parker beat Dean by 684 votes.

          2005, Parker lost to Dean by 1,995 votes.

          2008, Parker lost to Dean by 11,035 votes

          Eleven thousand votes is a dismal performance.

      • Te Reo Putake 3.1.2

        “If you are hopeless at winning a safe electorate seat, you ain’t no salesman.”
         
        Not sure what you mean by this. Parker has never stood in a safe electorate seat. He once narrowly won Otago, but that’s a seat that’s usually been a National stronghold, not Labour. And with a boundary and name change (Waitaki), it’s now solidly blue.

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.2.1

          David Parker has no interest in being an electorate MP.

          • AmaKiwi 3.1.2.1.1

            If my campaigning results were as dismal as Parker’s (see 3.1.1.1 above), I’d give up on trying to be an electorate MP, too.

            • Te Reo Putake 3.1.2.1.1.1

              Don’t let the facts get in the way of your prejudice Amakiwi. His results are pretty damn good, as Bunji and I have pointed out. He took the Tory seat of Otago for starters, then lost it narrowly in the next election. The seat then had a name and boundary change which made it a blue ribbon Tory seat, which is reflected in the 2008 result.
               
              If you have anything of substance to say about Parker, I’d be interested. But you’re pretty unconvincing so far.

    • King Kong 3.2

      In reply to Fender-
      That is certainly in line with what John Key told me and my monocle wearing, corpulent and dinner suited bretheren at the secret meeting of fat cats we had prior to the last election.

      He also promised that we would have small children cleaning our chimneys before the term was out.

      • Gosman 3.2.1

        Have we decided how to allocate them yet? I would like to specify my exact requirements up front rather than wait for the lolly scramble that surely will occur later on. Wouldn’t want to get the wrong sort of sweep now.

      • SpaceMonkey 3.2.2

        Now that’s a very different kind of asset sale. I guess if we only sell 49% of our children into chimney-cleaning servitude, the majority of our children are still ok. Furthermore, if we hold on to our chimney-cleaning children for a year, will we be eligible to receive more? And how soon can we sell them to foreign corporations?

        • Colonial Viper 3.2.2.1

          Plus, you can never be sure what the exact price your children will fetch on the international world markets, nevertheless we’re assured that it will be worth your while.

        • jcuknz 3.2.2.2

          What with Christchurch banning open fires and the like will there be enough chimneys for 51% of our children? Obviously we need fewer children to match the chimneys availability.

    • Johnm 3.3

      fender
      100% right In asia the poor scum have to sell their bodies to survive! sort of economic slavery, Go to Bangkok ,there’s lots of poor scum wanting to sell their bods to you to stay off the street. Makes the shit pile leaders feel really powerful, fantastic ego boost: who wants an = society?

  4. Polish Pride 4

    But this is just the first part of the plan. We now need to wait for the trickledown effect.. :)

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      That warm yellow pitter-patter

      • fnjckg 4.1.1

        hee hee. When i first began to read your site and was truly horrified by the verifiable content i went to the Statistics NZ site and amongst many things read the findings re people in poverty across time in ol gZ-which Jacindy i think raised in the house (again?) this week

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Thats just the start. Its going to turn uglier. (BTW it will be his constituents who raised these concerns to him initially).

      Curiously, this particular MP doesn’t get the idea that the NZ tax payer pays hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece to educate these Kiwis, provide medical and dental care, and that Australia gets them as skilled literate workers without having to pay a cent.

      He should be saying more more more more

      • Te Reo Putake 5.1.1

        I guess you didn’t read the last para, CV! Thompson cites an anecdote that notes “… it is a mistake for New Zealand to educate and train young New Zealanders only to see them gravitate to Australia, which has higher wages and lower unemployment”.
         
        I’d say Thompson has an internationalist streak; the sort of thing that used to be quite fashionable in Labour/Labor MP’s back in the day.

  5. North 6

    And we’re all meant to clap Bennett for her stout defence of her government on the score that these are hard times – unspoken – “get real…….of course people will get poorer.” Typically pathetic focus of the NZ media on the story about the story. Too gutless or dull to focus on the actual story and what it means for NZ.

    How about telling us how it is the rich are getting richer in these hard times Bennett ?

    • Tombstone 6.1

      That’s a great question – I’d like to hear Paula respond to that.

    • jcuknz 6.2

      But the rich are feeling the pinch … only two Mazzarati instead of one for each child as well as mum and dad. The kids always feel the pinch.

  6. Heidi Brickell 7

    Hi, Anthony… I agree with the claims made in this article about inequality rising, and I would like to share the article, except the claims aren’t really quantified, and I know that that is what all it’s antagonists will say? Who are the middle income earners? How much have their wages fallen? What are the statistics that define who these higher earners are, and how much have their earnings risen? If those sort of stats and definitions were published it would make this a much more effective arguement to the unconverted, in my opinion. Be great to hear back from you,
    Heidi

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