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Top 1% own 50% of world wealth: Oxfam

Written By: - Date published: 10:44 pm, January 19th, 2015 - 241 comments
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Winnie Biyanyima of Oxfam is one of six co-chairs at the Davos World Economic Forum. She says her role there is to challenge the powerful elites and she goes armed with a new report that shows that on current trends by next year the world’s richest !% will hold more wealth than the other 99%.

Oxfam said it was calling on governments to adopt a seven point plan:

• Clamp down on tax dodging by corporations and rich individuals.

• Invest in universal, free public services such as health and education.

• Share the tax burden fairly, shifting taxation from labour and consumption towards capital and wealth.

• Introduce minimum wages and move towards a living wage for all workers.

• Introduce equal pay legislation and promote economic policies to give women a fair deal.

• Ensure adequate safety-nets for the poorest, including a minimum-income guarantee.

• Agree a global goal to tackle inequality.

Seems reasonable.

241 comments on “Top 1% own 50% of world wealth: Oxfam ”

  1. Clemgeopin 1

    Great post there mike. ALL governments should be forced/shamed by the PEOPLE in all nations to put into action the seven point plan. The world would then be a much better, fairer, ethical, less selfish and a happier place.

  2. mac1 2

    Sounds reasonable. Sounds fair. Sounds human. Sounds ethical. Sounds achievable. Sounds crucial. Sounds imperative. Soundly based. Now, how do we get them to listen?

    • Mike Smith 2.1

      Don’t let the issue drop. Keep pushing the solutions, just like Oxfam. Heads are starting to turn – Obama’s State of the Union message will be a step in the right direction by the sound of it

      • Gosman 2.1.1

        How do you think this will sit with the now GOP dominated Congress?

        • Macro

          You know the answer to that as well as anybody Gosman. It is regrettable that the world is controlled by such greedy individuals as these. People who only act in self interest, never for the good of society as a whole.

  3. mac1 3

    And Andrew Little’s state of the nation speech might address this, as has the Pope in recent days. We will all fare better if the wealth is shared, fairly.

    The concept of ‘fairness’ is crucial, and must be preached, a word I use advisedly as the way back to equality is based on ethical necessity- a spiritual calling to do our duty to our fellow human being.

    Why else do we see benefit in sharing and fairness? It is our love for our fellow, our acknowledgement of our interdependence, our awareness that security for all is security for each of us, the belief that what we are owed as human beings we also in turn owe others.

    It is a simple truth that the more we own for ourselves, the more we owe to others. We all need the 1% to hear that simple truth, and own it.

    For those interested there are also some great contributions on a similar post here on The Standard post- “An Interesting Milestone.”

  4. Murray Rawshark 4

    The Left – we actually like people. That’s what I see as the main difference with the right. They like people like them, which is sort of like kissing a mirror. Or they like people they would like to be like, usually on such stupid grounds as a bank balance. We need to get that across far more than the message that we don’t like what the right are doing. That’s what inspires me, that people are actually quite cool. That’s the leitmotiv behind my politics, not envy of the rich.

    • Murray Simmonds 4.1

      Excellent comment, Murray Rawshark. but the way i’d put it is more like “The left – we actually like people, whereas the right mainly like owning money (and the nation’s wealth . . . . “)

      Or words to that effect.

    • Gosman 4.2

      How many right leaning people do you know ? I suspect not that many given your rather cartoonish characterisation of what they think of other people.

      • Murray Rawshark 4.2.1

        Heaps bro. Far too many, to tell the truth. Looking at their economics and their views on foreign policy, a cartoonish description is very apt. More than sufficient, and je ne suis pas Charlie Hebdo.

  5. tracey 5

    IN December 2012 Auckland had 13 suburbs with an average house price of $1m or more.

    Today a mere two years later there are 31 such suburbs.

    • Colonial Rawshark 5.1

      Sounds like economic success…certainly to the couple of hundred thousand people who own properties in those areas.

      • Murray Rawshark 5.1.1

        In 2013, just under a third of Auckland residents owned their own home. In 2013, Auckland had 1.42 million people. If we assume that 40% of the population is under 25 and not counted as either home owners or renters, we get a figure of 20% as home owners. Let’s say 2/3 of this is ownership by families rather than individuals, which gives us 200,000 resident owned homes. I don’t know what proportion of these are in the 31 suburbs, but let’s say half. About 100,000 people are benefitting enormously from Auckland property prices. 1,320,000 aren’t.

        (I know the above is very rough, but it’s only a ballpark figure.)

  6. philj 6

    1 per cent own 99 per cent of wealth by next year. RNZ, Suzie Ferguson, “Whats the problem?” Oh dear Suzie, are you for real? Or playing dumb?

  7. Matthew Hooton 7

    The seven point plan looks incredibly first-world-centric. In a global context, the top 1% is about 75 million people. A big percentage of NZers are part of that. The plan may be inplementable in North America, Europe, Australiasia, Japan, South Korea and maybe a few other places but it is totally unrealistic in the majority of the world. It may be worthwhile looking at the common policy settings of those countries where the plan is inplementable and what that may imply for the countries where it is not.

    • tracey 7.1

      could you be more specific?

      • b waghorn 7.1.1

        Haa haa haa someone from the right be specific ,muddle and confuse the message is what they do.

      • mac1 7.1.2

        I understand Matthew Hooton to be saying that more than 1% of New Zealanders belong to the Global 1%. I’d like Matthew to quantify that. What is the figure that NZers would need to own to qualify for the one per cent?

        I understand that globally Muslim countries have a form of taxation that would take care of their obligations to care for their impoverished and enables redistribution.
        I worked out recently, on a fairly modest income, that the taxation I pay as a Kiwi tax payer would equal the amount I would pay were I a Muslim paying Zakat. Wealthy Muslim would pay more, depending on their wealth (interestingly, not depending on their earnings). I understand that zakat is not levied on wealth producing assets such as tools or factory machinery style of things or the family home but on what I might call ‘dead’ assets.

        Such a view that ‘excess’ wealth over and above what is ‘normal’ is taxable would probably deal hugely with the problem of wealth accumulation in fewer hands. What I also like about zakat is its religious base- that this is what a moral and ethical follower of Islam should do. It gives an ethical imperative to our obligations to our fellows.

        I’d appreciate a more knowledgeable view of this, greater understanding. Other than this, I concur with Paul who prefers taxation to charity.

        I would like to see churches preaching taxation as a Christian duty, to be done gladly and fully. As well, I’d like to see schools teaching civic responsibility, including taxation, to all students. I’d like to see community sanctions incurred by defaulters as being social pariah, social misfits, socially unjust- that generally taxation default would be spurned, scorned, sanctioned by one’s peers, as opposed to being actively sought and admired.

        One strong social message is the amount of diligence our authorities pay to the collection of tax and the punishment of tax defaulters, to the amount of loopholes available and to the nature of taxation itself as a means of social redistribution of wealth.

        Severe and sustained pressure gives out the right message to those in our society who do not realise their social responsibilities.

        “Pay unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” is a Biblical version of such a moral precept.

        • Clemgeopin

          mac1, you have made great points in this post. lots to think about, discuss and debate. Worthy of a separate new independent article.

        • Lanthanide

          “I understand Matthew Hooton to be saying that more than 1% of New Zealanders belong to the Global 1%. I’d like Matthew to quantify that. What is the figure that NZers would need to own to qualify for the one per cent?”

          Or you could listen to the interview on Radio NZ this morning where one of the authors of the report said that anyone who had wealth of around $800,000 US was in the top 1% of people worldwide.

          Clearly more than 1% of NZ’s population will have wealth in excess of $800K US, for example most mortgage-free house owners in Auckland, and many retired people around the country.

          Swathes more would fit into the next top 5% of worlwide wealth holders, and I’d suggest the bulk of the NZ population would fit into the top 10%.

          • Sacha

            It’s net wealth (ie: minus the mortgage).

            See #19 below for the calculation of how many NZers it comes to:

            Top 1% own 50% of world wealth: Oxfam

            • mac1

              Thanks for that link Sacha. 123,000 Kiwis or about 13% own what globally 1% of the world’s population own. According to a Wikipedia article, Kiwis comprise .06% of the world’s population but nearly three times that (.17%) of the world’s wealth. We are thirty sixth in the world’s list.

              We have 260,000 children in poverty. Double the number of the one per centers.

              That means 123,000 people own at least some $800,000 wealth each. That is, at that lowest figure, if each of our one percenters had their wealth divided between the 260,000 poor children and themselves, that would be some $250,000 each, child and adult alike.

              Our net worth as Kiwis is $55,000 each. Give each of the poor children that amount and return the rest. The one per centres now own each $683,739, minimum.

              They lose $120,000 each to make our poor children the equal of our average Kiwi. And stay in the top one to two per cent of the world.

              The average Kiwi owns $55,000. The lowest Kiwi one per center owns over $800,000 which is 15 times that.

              There is the inequality.

              There is a truth that says that a differential of more than ten between lowest and highest income earner leads to social disruption. How does a x15 differential between the average and the one per centre sit alongside this? A question for the social scientists and for society itself?

              Asks a question or two, that comparison………………..

              • mac1

                Oops. 123,000 Kiwis is about 2.7% of our population of 4.5 million, not 13%. I believe the rest of my figures are still good.

      • Could you be more specific about what you want me to be specific about. I thought what I wrote above is reasonably clear.

    • so..mr hooton..how would u address this issue/problem of inequality..?

      ..in asking that i am presuming you have the intelligence to see what continuing down this road will bring..

      ..and cd u b specific re nz…

      ..or do you not see a/any problem..?

      • There are no implications for New Zealand from this report. It is about global inequality. As Lanthanide says below, a very big percentage of NZers are part of the apparently evil 1% and, Lanth reckons, we are probably all in the top 10% (I would have guessed top 20% now that India and China have liberalised their economies and lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty).

        Either way, the point is that all NZers are part of the “problem” of global inequality: if we got poorer then global inequality as measured would fall (by a tiny amount – nothing NZ does on any issue affects global statistics by more than a tiny fraction).

        • phillip ure

          yes..that all makes sense..

          ..and what wd yr solutions be for the poverty/inequality within nz..?

          ..or..(once again)…’do you not see a/any problem..?’

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Either way, the point is that all NZers are part of the “problem” of global inequality: if we got poorer then global inequality as measured would fall (by a tiny amount – nothing NZ does on any issue affects global statistics by more than a tiny fraction).

          But we will affect lives of NZers positively.

          Isn’t that enough for a start?

          • Gosman

            I think you missed the point where Mr Hooton stated NZ would get poorer. How will that affect NZers lives positively if the country is poorer than it is now?

            • Colonial Rawshark

              Oh yeah ok, that was his hypothetical.

            • Macro

              I realise that you are a paid up member of the church of the “true science” Gos, But as the rest of us know (as opposed to living in hope that it is not) we are now living in a world that gets warmer by 0.174 degrees C every decade, and have been since 1979. That’s a 2 degrees C rise at least by 2100. By living within our means as a country, sharing our wealth more equally, and promoting a society of fairness and justice to all – not the select few, will be of huge benefit to all New Zealanders, to meet the challenges that that scenario brings. Our milk powder republic will be a thing of the past, and yes! some might have to forgo the 60″ curved HD TV, and the 60ft yacht, and beach house at Omaha. But don’t worry about me – I have mine – but I am willing to share – because I realise that the ways of the recent (post 1980’s) past are wrong and the true benefit for all lies in this country becoming far more self reliant – as it was 40 years ago.

        • tracey

          Does the fact that we have a big % of the top 1% suggest that to have got there it is at the expense of the ones who have fallen further behind elsewhere, referred to int he report? Example buying goods produced by workers paid $1 a day?

          • Matthew Hooton

            No it doesn’t suggest that at all.

            • tracey

              Cool, let’s ban all importation of goods from countries paying less than our own minimum wage to the workers producing said goods.

              • Gosman

                How will this help global poverty and wealth inequality?

                • Macro

                  It will help with our wealth inequality for a start. NZ was a much more egalitarian society before we began the insane export of jobs and import of cheap goods. We used to make things here in NZ, or have you forgotten? People had work, and things lasted longer than a couple of months, or years, before having to be replaced. But I suppose you would rather the banksters continued to create wealth for themselves and the majority of the rest struggle on getting more and more into debt.
                  I hope you gave a sizeable offering in the temple of the hidden hand today.

                  • Gosman

                    But not globally. In fact it is likely to lead to increased inequality in wealth distribution globally as NZ already has quite a high percentage compared to our population.

                    • Macro

                      What are you on Gos??
                      Every country can do the same – and should.
                      The WTO and its ilk have consistently failed the poor nations of this world. Globalisation as it is currently structured helps only the corporates get bigger – no one else.
                      I’m not opposed to trade – it just needs to be fair.

                    • Gosman

                      Not really. If every country did the same there would still be massive wealth inequality as the richer nations would just be sharing their wealth amongst realitively wealthier people whereas the poorest ones would be doing so amongst a much poorer population.

          • Gosman

            Except more people than ever before are moving out of poverty on a global scale. China is responsible for much of this but also in places like India and now in many parts of Africa. what is driving this drop in poverty is not wealth redistribution though.

        • Paul

          Hooton, the defender of the 0.01%
          Wonder if you’ve watched this yet, arch-defender of the parasitical elite.

          The Super-Rich and Us BBC Documentary 2015


          • Colonial Rawshark

            Thanks for these links

            • Paul

              Superb programme.
              Would much prefer to listen to the economists view on inequality shown on that programme rather the spinner for NZ’s idle wealthy.

              • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark

                Growing the Debt Society!

                “… a series of fairly intentional government policies which are designed to guarantee that most people are in debt.

                “If you have a mortgage, you can’t go on strike.

                “So it was quite intentional policy: get people in debt,
                it will reduce the amount of industrial action,
                it will hold down wages,
                it will control inflation …”

                20’38”, Episode 2

    • Murray Simmonds 7.3

      ” . . . . the top 1% is about 75 million people. A big percentage of NZers are part of that . . ” What on earth does that mean?

      And, ” . . . . it is totally unrealistic in the majority of the world . . . ”
      Yes, Matthew, there’s always a way to pass the buck. However, my mommy taught me that charity begins at home. What did your mommy teach you, Matthew?

      • Colonial Rawshark 7.3.1

        He’ll mean the top 10% or so of Kiwis by wealth i.e. National’s true constituency.

        • Matthew Hooton

          No, I mean that the poorest NZer would be in the top quartile in a global sense (Lanthanide thinks top decile).

          • Colonial Rawshark

            Top quartile to top quintile in the world is about right IMO.

            But comparing ourselves to an Indian peasant living on $2/day having to shit outside into the local river his family gets their water from is not the choicest scale to place oneself on.

            • tracey

              yes but if they are now paid $2.10 a day, gosman says they are moving out of poverty.

              • Gosman

                The Chinese seem to be getting rather more than that now.


                • Colonial Rawshark

                  That’s an average income of NZ$11000 pa in 2014, I would guess that the median is about two thirds of that: $7300 pa. Given a typical 60 hour working week, that’s $2.34/hr.

                  So Gossie is right, the Chinese are typically earning quite a bit more than $2.10/day.

                  • Gosman

                    I notice you didn’t answer my question about what would happen in a relatively short space of time if wage rates kept increasing by 10% every year?

                    • McFlock

                      According to your source, inflation doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem, and is consistently less than the wage increases.

                      soooo – people have more buying power?

                    • Gosman

                      That is part of it. Essentially they are lifted out of low wage economy quite rapidly.

                      What would be interesting would be if some of the suuggestions mentioned came about. If there was a global minimum wage I suspect it would be nations like China that would suffer as those nations using them as manufacturing centers would take out their investment. Unemployment would sky rocket and the average income (not wage) would be back to subsistence levels.

                    • McFlock

                      butbutbut we can set the global minimum wage really low so it doesn’t wreck the chinese economy, and then increase it by 10 or 20% every year until it reaches a dignified level. That wouldn’t affect inflation or unemployment, according to your data source.

                  • Gosman

                    $2.34 per hour is indeed a lot more than $2.10 per day. If you are working on average 12 hours a day then it is more than 12 times the figure.

                  • tracey

                    except you and I were discussing indian peasants.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  A report from 2012 saying that Foxconn was increasing its monthly wages to US$630/mth. Roughly US$7300 pa.

                • tracey

                  and when did a chinese person become an indian peasant gosman?

            • Gosman

              That is the whole point of the study though. We are being compared to an Indian peasant farmer living on less than 2 dollars per day.

              • tracey

                now you are back to the indian peasant who you briefly turned into a chinese worker to “prove” whatever your point had changed to.

              • tracey

                yet you decided to use Chinese wages to make whatever your point was. Oh that’s right, they are all climbing out of poverty fast the lucky buggers, now they are just very low wage earners and need to be more grateful.

          • Olwyn

            I am not sure if these comparisons fully take into account the relationship between wealth and local conditions. A poor person here is required to meet standards that assume a middle class income. This means that certain solutions are not available to them – they cannot, for example, use a motor scooter to transport a family. They cannot go out onto a street corner and sell pots of noodles to passers by, without a lot of rigmarole to go through first. And so on.

            • freedom

              “They cannot go out onto a street corner…” Olwyn is not wrong on this point. For example, try getting a short term (2-3 day) street hawker permit in Wellington to sell high quality hand-crafted goods (that fully align with the stated goals of a city that wants to encourage a diverse arts culture.) Short story is, they no longer exist. Annual permits only. Over $750 required for application and permit fees, and a million bucks in public liability insurance must be proven BEFORE you apply.

          • Lanthanide

            “No, I mean that the poorest NZer would be in the top quartile in a global sense (Lanthanide thinks top decile).”

            Correction here: I said “bulk of NZ”, not “all” or “poorest”.

    • dv 7.4

      >> about 75 million people. A big percentage of NZers are part of that

      Lets see a big %

      say 20% then thats 15m nzers

      what about 10% Nope that is 7.5m

      ok the big % is 1%
      That is 750,000

      OK .1%

      STILL 75000

      Big % -Yea Rite

    • Lanthanide 7.5

      One of the authors was interviewed this morning on Radio NZ, possibly Winnie.

      She said that to be in the top 1% you had to have wealth of about $800,000 US.

      So Matthew Hooton is correct – a large number of NZers would fall into that 1% – most people in Auckland with mortgage free homes for example.

      I’d suggest that the vast bulk of the NZ population would fill out the top 10% of worldwide wealth.

      • phillip ure 7.5.1

        all of which just makes it so obscene that we have the levels of poverty/third world diseases we have..

        ..we are a very rich country..

        ..we have absolutely no excuse..

        ..and it is is both national and labour that have brought us to this sorry-state..

        ..so unless little offers a mea culpa for labours’ past..

        ..and a u-turn/seachange in attitudes to addressing poverty..and the like..

        ..(c.f. labour election ’14..offering s.f.a..)

        ..i see little changing..

        ..(see what i’ve done there..?..)

        • Gosman

          Our levels of comparative poverty are around the OECD average. As for the rates of ‘third world’ diseases (please note that the term third world is rather passe now) I presume you mean Rheumatic fever in which case there are a number of factors in this, none of which are recent.

          • phillip ure

            every word a lie..an excuse to do nothing..

            ..typical uncaring rightwing crap..

            • Gosman

              Inequality and poverty rates are around the OECD average. That is no lie.

              Check out Page three of this link


              If you disagree with it perhaps you would provide som evidence to the contrary.

              • the point being you are a rightwing apologist for doing nothing about poverty/inequality in nz..

                ..everything else from you is just bullshit/dancing around that fact.

                ..just u arguing we do nothing about poverty/inequality..

                ..these are the facts that matter…

                • Gosman

                  No. You stated that we had ‘third world’ levels of poverty. I stated we were around average with the OECD. You stated I was lying. I provided evidence supporting my view. You have something different then put it up. Otherwise it is merely your opinion you are wishing me and others to take at face value. I would suggest that on your track record that makes little sense to agree to do.

                  • the point being you are a rightwing apologist for doing nothing about poverty/inequality in nz..

                    ..everything else from you is just bullshit/dancing around that fact.

                    ..just u arguing we do nothing about poverty/inequality..

                    ..these are the facts that matter

                    • Gosman

                      You implied we had high levels of poverty. Are you backing away from that claim now? If not, what basis do you make the claim? Is it just a gut feeling you have?

                    • are you trying to claim that black is white..?

                      ..that we have no poverty/inequality..?

                    • Gosman

                      I’ve never stated that. I disagree with the view pushed by you a d others that our current levels are at crisis levels and on part with the ‘third world’.

                    • and what should we do about that (admitted) level of poverty/inequality/3rd world-diseases….?

                      ..nothing to see..?..nothing to do..?

                    • (won’t let me edit..)

                      ..and have you ever been to one of those centres of poverty..?

                      ..those little and big hell-holes dotted up and down the country..

                    • Gosman

                      Personally I prefer people to be given the tools to lift themselves out of poverty. Government simply magicking away problems doesn’t tend to be terribly effective much of the time. That stated I also don’t agree with relying on relative poverty levels to determing economic and/or social policy as it is not reflective of whether someone is actually having major issues with their income.

                    • so you advocate continuing to do nothing..?

                      ..in short:..’arbeit macht frei’..eh..?

                    • Gosman

                      I didn’t advocate doing nothing. I did state that using the relative poverty level is not something I agree with. Also income mobility is something I am more interested in improving rather than relative poverty/wealth inequality measures which I find are blunt measures without context.

                    • putting yr obsession with graphs/number-comparison to one side.

                      ..what wd u practically do to address poverty in nz..?.

                    • Gosman

                      Improve the quality of education especially in the early childhood sector. Look to put in place a set of policies that encourage investment in innovation. Encourage people to embrace change and not be happy to stagnate in one location or job area.

                    • but in practical/real terms…nothing..

                    • Gosman

                      I disagree. I think my preferred approach is far more practical and long term than whatever it is that you prefer. However what is clear is you can’t argue that I have no interest in trying to resolve this issue. All you can do now is try and argue that my approach won’t be as effective as your approach. Congratulations you have discovered the purpose of politics.

                    • no..i just wasted a lot of time/energy..

                      ..it won’t happen again..

                      ..and congratulations on successfully disrupting this thread to the degree the actual topic has not been addressed/discussed..

                      ..but that is what u set out to do…eh..?

                      ..but like i say..u won’t get me again..

      • Colonial Rawshark 7.5.2

        I’d suggest that the vast bulk of the NZ population would fill out the top 10% of worldwide wealth.

        That would be true and says how privileged we are in this nation – and how badly the global economic system performs for the poorest couple of billion people in the world.

      • tracey 7.5.3

        Mortgage free Aucklanders… there is a rare breed indeed.

      • Treetop 7.5.4

        I heard the $800,000 US figure to.

        What is $800,000 US in NZD?

        I am crap at maths.

    • Gosman 7.6

      Do you also think that the proposed solutions are trying to solve a problem that was not the focus of the report i.e. the solutions seems related to income distribution rather than wealth ?

    • Adele 7.7

      Kiaora Matthew

      Surely you would only need to implement the plan in the first-world to have an immediate effect in the third world. The third world is being pillaged of its resources by the first world without adequate compensation being provided.

      I read an article the other day about bio-prospecting for new varieties of cocoa in South America. Its basically theft of resources that rightfully belong to those communities of the Amazon.

      More insidious is the possibility of growing cocoa outside of those regions and countries that substantially make a living from the crops.

      • Gosman 7.7.1

        How is adequate compensation not being provided? Is this due to corruption in the nations involved? In which case how is the West responsible for the form of government in other countries? Do you want the West to impose ‘better’ governments on other nations?

        • tracey



          You make it sound like this doesn’t happen regularly Gosman?

          • Colonial Rawshark

            Gosman can get away with saying these things has he doesn’t have the will to face the true impacts of resource imperialism on third world countries. Blood diamonds and blood oil are just the tip of it.

        • Adele

          Kiaora Gosman


          • Gosman

            Are you implying the nations involved are not receiving adequate royalties? I know of many nations (e.g. Botswana) that seem to be doing very well from Royalties from their natural resources. Why do you think that it is insufficient?

    • A big percentage of NZers are part of that.

      Nope. Here’s a RNZ report with the actual numbers:

      According to figures compiled by Credit Suisse, 123,000 New Zealanders can say they are part of the exclusive one percent, which owns 48 percent of the world’s wealth.

      Which given an NZ population of 4.471 million (source: Google) makes it 2.75% of New Zealanders.

      Of course Matthew and Lanthanide can quibble about whether 2.75% is “a big percentage” but at least now we can all see exactly how silly they are.

      • tracey 7.8.1

        Thanks for the actual figures Stephanie.

      • tracey 7.8.2

        None of those basing their arguments on those figures being much more of our population than they actually are, seem to have found their tongues/fingers

        • Gosman

          The point being unless you transfer some of this wealth from these 100,000 + to people at the very bottom globally you are unlikely to make much of a dent if any in global wealth inequality. Doing so locally won’t help regardless of whether you think it is the correct thing to do or not.

          • Stephanie Rodgers

            That makes no sense. If the top 1% of wealth-hoarders are over-represented in New Zealand, we can affect greater change by targeting them than say a country where only 0.002% of the wealthy are in the global 1%.

            • Gosman

              No. The bottom 10 % of NZ’s population would have greater wealth than The bottom 50% in many poorer nations I would suggest. Hence any transfer of wealth in NZ becomes essentially middle class welfare and has minimal impact on global wealth inequality.

          • phillip ure

            @ gosman..

            “..Doing so locally won’t help ..”

            what absolute bullshit..

            ..why do countries that have negligible poverty rates..

            ..have those ‘negligible poverty rates’..?

            ..it is because those countries guarantee that all citizens..including sole-parents/the sick/the unemployed..

            ..that they receive enough money/support to keep body and soul together..

            ..that this is a ‘right’ they have…all citizens..

            ..it’s as simple as that..

            ..and yr prancing around denying that fact..

            ..is just rightwing ideological-spin..

            ..and a subsection of that rightwing lie/spin far too many of labour buy into..

            ..that big pile of stinking bullshit claim:..’the problem can’t be solved by ‘throwing’ money at it’..

            ..um..!..yes..!..it can..

            ..that is how we got into this shithole in the first place..when the rightwing ideologue pricks and lady-bits in national and labour..stripped that support/guarantee away..

            • Gosman

              No Country has a neglible poverty rate (at least at the relative level).

              • um..!..sweden..?

                “..This means that there are no extremes of wealth and poverty in the country.

                Progressive personal income taxes and comparatively lower executive compensation (compared to that in the U.S.) contribute to maintaining equal social opportunity.

                Sweden’s excellent distribution and transportation system – along with generous regional subsidies – work to prevent inequalities in living standards between urban and rural areas.

                Social security programs are exceptionally comprehensive – and are subsidized by the government – although some are administered by the trade unions…”

                Read more: http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Europe/Sweden-POVERTY-AND-WEALTH.html#ixzz3PNwjQmgr


                • Gosman

                  Ahhhh… no.


                  “When including estimates of wealth held outside of Sweden, Roine and Waldenström estimate that the top one percent richest Swedes own 25-40% of total wealth ”


                  “Some 220,000 children were living in poverty in Sweden in 2008 and the figure is increasing”

                  Seems very similar to NZ actually.

                  • yr link doesn’t work..

                    ..but put that to one side..

                    ..and try to grasp these facts..

                    ..new zealand used to have a real problem with elder-poverty..

                    ..we ‘threw money at it’..we increased the pension-payments..

                    ..new zealand does not now have an elder poverty-problem..

                    ..what is so difficult to understand about those historical/current-facts..?

                    ..and why not transfer that imperative to children/adults living in poverty..?

                    ..as we already know..we are one of the richest countries in the world..so we can afford it..

                    ..and if we can’t/don’t do it..?..who can..?

                    ..do we just resign ourselves to global-dystopia..?

  8. Gosman 8

    Interestingly the report focuses on wealth inequality yet the proposed remedies mainly focus on income redistribution. It seems to be trying to solve a problem it hasn’t identified.

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      There are two problems that are related: wealth inequality and income inequality.

      Redistributing income is a way to help moderate wealth inequality. Unless you’re suggesting we actually confiscate wealth from people and redistribute that.

      • Colonial Rawshark 8.1.1

        Taxes on capital (and I don’t mean taxes on capital gains) are one way of redistributing capital.

        Corporations like Apple and Google are hoarding trillions in tax havens instead of allowing them to circulate around the general economy.


      • Gosman 8.1.2

        The problem identified is wealth distribution. Changing income redistribution could reduce or increase wealth inequality depending on the policy chosen. For example someone may be a high income earner but my net wealth is at the low end. If you decide to increase income taxes you will have a negative impact on the income for people like this for no discernible change in wealth distribution.

        • Lanthanide

          “For example someone may be a high income earner but my net wealth is at the low end. If you decide to increase income taxes you will have a negative impact on the income for people like this for no discernible change in wealth distribution.”

          Such people are outliers. Government policies, particular tax and welfare, will always result in ‘unfair’ outcomes for a minority of people. That’s simply a fact. It costs too much to administer a system that takes is equally ‘fair’ to everyone, if it were even possible. Trying to do it on the cheap by simply writing very complex legislation that tried to take everything into account would result in loopholes and rorts, so you’d be helping some in need while allowing others to unfairly exploit the system.

          It’s possible to engineer scenarios where people on various benefits and student loans have an effective tax-rate (abatement rate) of ~92% for each dollar earned when they start a part time job, meaning that getting a low-paid job for them is very much worth less than just staying on the benefit, which is of course a perverse outcome from a system that is trying to encourage work. They’re simply outliers in a complex system.

          So, crying about the poor high-income people with low wealth being unfairly impacted by these policies wouldn’t look so suspect if you actually gave a damn about the already existing, in much larger numbers, of people with low wealth on low income that are getting shafted by the system.

    • freedom 8.2

      if there is inequality in wealth then is not redistribution of the income that generates that wealth a natural and logical remedy?

      • Colonial Rawshark 8.2.1

        It’s ownership of land, buildings and infrastructure which generates that wealth. Goes back to Marx and owning “the means of production.”

        • freedom

          The world, as we all know, is changing. The income engines you include were the historic generators of wealth but it could be argued they have been largely surpassed by today’s broad array of financial institutions and data industries which are generating ridiculous levels of income that the infrastructure lands and buildings which allow them to function could never hope to match. Like so many things it comes down to interpretation though. Interpretation of what people define as income and what people define as wealth.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            Agree with you, although I will say that even search engines have infrastructure…

      • Gosman 8.2.2

        Not really. Hitting high income earners won’t really impact on wealth distribution in any major way. It is also a generational tax on the younger as the older you get the more non income producing wealth you tend to have.

        • freedom

          Could be wrong here, but it seems you are applying the term “income’ solely as it relates to ‘earnings from employment’ and ignoring the vast revenues gathered that make up the turnover of the enterprises owned by the 1%.

          • Gosman

            That revenue earned by companies doesn’t impact income unless it is paid out in the forms of dividends. In which case it forms part of an individuals taxable income for that year. you might have a case for someone owning a company, or a significant share in one, that subsequently takes off and the value increases majorly and you realise this by selling your shares (e.g. Sam Morgan with TradeMe). However most Western countries have a Capital gains tax in place already.

            • Colonial Rawshark

              That revenue earned by companies doesn’t impact income unless it is paid out in the forms of dividends.

              Not quite correct.

              Oversized corporate profits affects it by reducing the share of national income going to salaries and wages, and also by raising the cost of living on ordinary people – i.e. it is a private sector tax.

              • Gosman

                Do you have evidence supporting your claim that over sized corporate profits are more of a problem now than previously?

            • freedom

              Yes Gosman, I should have written ‘earnings from employment and dividends or other holdings’ that was clumsy of me and you rightfully used it as another angle to distract from your unwillingness to focus on the reality of the issue. The 1% are assigned such a title because of their $ worth, their $ value not whatever illusory figures the Disaster Area accountants whittled down for taxable declared earnings in any particular period.

            • Skinny

              Good choice of an example Gosman;

              Sam and more so his old man at least have a moral compass unlike the likes of yourself;

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Taxes on those earning over 10x the minimum wage should be 49%.

          That combined with a capital wealth tax and FTT whose proceeds are designed to establish low cost community housing, will sort out NZs inequality rather quickly.

        • Skinny

          The rich elite have geared taxation gathering in their favour by the introduction crony capitalism, influencing political outcomes, buying out policy makers to rort loopholes.

          Then you have the liberal thinkers like Gosman & Hooton that believe the market will self correct. A proven failure illustrated by the financial bailout we got swindled into by the bankers. They are contractors to spew out snake oil venom through the the elites media vehicles.

  9. Gosman 9

    Global poverty (as measured by the standard of living on the equivalent of one US Dollar a day) has fallen by the fastest amount in living memory over the past 20 to 30 years yet apparently the world has a problem with inequality. How exactly is this problem manifested again?

    • Colonial Rawshark 9.1

      It is manifested by the 0.01% taking wages out of modern western countries like NZ, and transferring a portion of those monies to wages places like China, Vietnam, Cambodia and India, while pocketing the difference for themselves.

      Wage arbitrage in other words.

      • Gosman 9.1.1

        Do you have evidence that the profit margins of companies doing this have significantly increased over the past few years?

        • Colonial Rawshark

          ? You asked how it is manifested and I answered: via the application of wage arbitrage. The dynamic is very easy to observe in action.

          • Gosman

            And I would suggest this is not as big an issue as you think it is. However you essentially made the assertion that this is the cause of the recent growth in wealth inequality. This would suggest to me that it has led to increased profit margins for the companies that are using this strategy. Do you have any evidence that would back this up?

            • Colonial Rawshark

              Sigh. I’m not your researcher. Although the example of Apple shifting all their high wage US production to low wage China in the 90s is instructive.

            • Skinny

              Did you have a chuckle as you posted that from the taxpayers union office? As you well know many of the American brands shifted manufacturing to China for the cheap labour rates. F&P bailed out of here to make their whiteware products in Spain, the added advantage was weak environmental laws. Even in our own fashion industry it’s hard to buy locally made NZ clothes. All but a few design here but make in Asia, and the profits skimming don’t really filter directly to the consumer. As an example I use to buy NZ labels (shirts) like Culters for $240 now they cost $160 but the quality just isn’t there.

  10. Wayne 10

    Isn’t this politics as usual, at least as far as it affects New Zealand.

    Presumably the left of politics (Labour and the Greens) will be advocating more taxes and regulation (which is my shorthand the general range of policy prescriptions that will be offered over the next year or so). The Greens will go further of course and also oppose every single free trade agreement on offer,

    For the Nats it will be pretty much the existing policy prescription, which was after all the policy basis of them winning the election (to the extent that the election was about policy). But even if the election was not about about specific policy, at least it was about the general direction of the country. And on that basis the Nats won handsomely on the overall strength of the economy.

    I know some here say the Nats don’t really have a mandate by only getting 35% of registered voters, but Labour got just over 15% on that measure. In short the proposition is nonsense, since it clear who won the election.

    John Key has added on dealing with child poverty (or more likely disadvantage) since the election.We have yet to hear what that really means.

    • framu 10.1

      you know that an electoral win is only a mandate to govern – why the hell did you lot ever faff about voting on bills if it was a mandate to enact policy?

    • Colonial Rawshark 10.2

      Labour deserves to lose traction amongst the electorate if all it can come up with are a bunch of mildly different macro policy settings to National.

  11. All accidental. No conspiracy needed whatsoever!

  12. Wreckingball 13

    Creating headlines about 1% of the world’s population owning as much wealth as the bottom 50% is inevitable of you pay attention to innumerate left wing activists masquerading as a charity.

    The figures are rubbish.

    They are based on net wealth so a pensioner on benefits who owns a small bungalow is wealthier than a banker on $500k a year who has taken on more debt than the current value of his assets by building himself a mansion.

    Lots of people have negative net-wealth if they rent and have credit cards. These negative net wealth figures then massively distort the aggregate net wealth figures for the global population.

    It also confuses wealth with money. They are not the same thing. Wealth is a function of interest rates. With low interest rates any given income stream becomes more valuable, without actually making that income stream bigger. So if you own a company making $100k a year the value of that company can vary enormously if interest rates are 1% or 10%. (You would need $1m in the bank paying 10% to give you the same income, or $10m if the bank only pays 1%)

    In addition it spreads the lie that for the “rich” to have their wealth they must have it at the expense of the “poor”. This is bollocks. Wealth can be created, it is not a fixed sum. The truth is that during the period of globalisation the poverty of the developing world has fallen faster than at any point in human history. That Oxfam wants to reverse this trend suggests an appalling prioritisation of their pet prejudices over the lives of those they purport to want to help.

    • The Murphey 13.1

      Q. How would you create wealth ?

    • Colonial Rawshark 13.2

      Wreckingball – what nonsense. Who do you think you are fooling, after decades of this same trickle down rubbish?

      The fact is that the 1% (and especially the 0.1%) are doing much better at the expense of everyone else. Rentier capitalism and crony capitalism is now the norm.

      Further, your model of working has no answers for the coming carbon and climate crunch that our civilisation is facing. Ironically, the super rich are going to find their lifestyles the most impaired, overall, if we don’t get on to this.

      • Gosman 13.2.1

        Except the past 20 odd years has probably seen some of the greatest innovative changes than most other 20 year periods in human history. This would be unlikely if the economy was dominated by rentiers and crony capitalists as you suggest. How do you explain organisations like Google and Apple?

      • Wreckingball 13.2.2

        CR. How do you explain worldwide real poverty dropping by the fastest rates in history over the last 20 years? It wouldn’t be that rentier capitalism you are talking about would it??

        Murphey. Examples of creating wealth – Microsoft, Apple, new fracking techniques.

        The problem with the suggestion in the report is that they rely on income/wealth redistribution rather than wealth creation. Without wealth creation, we won’t see net improvements in living standards.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Productivity continues to increase (as it has since 1970 at least) as the median wage falls: when will the extra wealth creation start working the way you assert?

          • tracey

            oh, gosman and wrecking dont give a shit about wages… except when those folks in india move from 1 buck a day to 1 buck 20 cents a day and they can proclaim poverty is easing.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Yes, I assume WB is lying deliberately, and there’s always the possibility that they’re a gullible fool instead: we can at least offer them a charitable gesture once in a while.

            • Gosman

              I’ve shown you evidence that in China at least people are moving far beyond $1 per day.

              • tracey

                Gee Gosman, apart from the fact that you use China to disprove a broad claim about indian wages I was not suggesting my figures were actual proveable figures but was making a broader point.

        • The Murphey

          I assumed you would not be able to answer the question so I’ll try another angle

          Q. What would you use as examples of wealth ?

        • Wreckingball

          Murphy – I would describe the wealth of an individual as all personal property, including goods, investment securities, money, chattel paper, intangibles, negotiable instruments and documents of title.

          Paul – obviously you have no rebuttal to my statements so resort to insults.

          OAB – look at the facts, the real median wage has, on average, grown faster than inflation over the last 30 years. It is true, the real wages of some top executives has increased by much more than the median wage but people are richer than they were. Please don’t resort to insults like your comrade Paul.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            The average volume of real weasel words in your comment looks like insincerity. I appreciate this may not be the charity you deserve.

          • The Murphey

            Q. Where do you get your information and perspective from Wreckingball ?

    • Paul 13.3

      What a nonsensical argument.
      Some gullible fools would have believed this in the 1980s.

  13. Bill 14

    It is, as stated in the post, ‘reasonable’.

    I suspect reason will only prevail when something unreasonable is proposed…something that will rock the boat of complacent power and wealth. ‘fraid to say, we’re probably going to have to eat the rich – metaphorically if not literally – before anything changes.

    • adam 14.1

      A three point programme.

      1. No more inheratance

      2. Procuscute and removal all wealth from corporations, and the people who own/run them – who damage the environment. No more fines – completly removal of all capital and the ability to generate anymore. Start with BP – they have a track recored.

      3. Freedom of movement

      • Colonial Rawshark 14.1.1

        The truth here is that Governments can choose to issue new money if they wanted to. You don’t have to take money off the top 1% of wealth if that is not politically palatable, you can just dilute the sons of bitches.

      • Clemgeopin 14.1.2

        No more inheritance

        I have pondered that issue. Inheritance (based on luck and DNA) seems to be the primary cause of inequality.

        The question is, how to prevent this complex social/economic issue?

        Would be interesting to hear diverse views on this.

        • adam

          Phase it in – let people give their children a house and a few chickens – for a generation. Then force them to spend it before they die – or it goes to the state. Use the right wing to inspire fear about the state and bob’s your ulcer, a generation later – no inheritance.

          Fits well with the whole right wing agenda anyway – self reliance and all that. Not sure why national have not put it on the books yet – are they not so in love with the freedom to make your own way – by choices – as they say? Goodness me, are they supporting nepotism disguised as a cultural phenomena?

          • Colonial Rawshark

            You won’t get NZ society to accept that and there will be no electorate support for it.

            A 33% estate tax for assets over $5M net would be easy to justify though.

  14. disturbed 15

    Hey I have just figured out how to get rid of these NatZ moles, Hooton, Gosman ect’.

    Just ignore them.

    They are paid by the right to incite criticism of them, thus demonstrating that they are wearing the left down!

    Answer; – so if we ignore them as they are not there, they will fail to hook any criticism of their stupid crap.

    Then this will damage their finance streams, and them.

    Just ignore them as though they don’t exist, and the money they are paid to upset us all will dry up and not be paid to them Hooray!

    • If you really believe that anyone would be paid to comment on this site then you really are “disturbed”.

      • Colonial Rawshark 15.1.1

        Well, you don’t get paid for increasing your profile online, but having an increased online profile is definitely worth $$$.

      • adam 15.1.2

        I don’t think Disturbed is disturbed Matthew – fustrated and cluching for straws.

        Matthew, you write here for you own ego yes? And by ego – I mean the ego that drives us all to comment here. Not our Id.

      • Skinny 15.1.3

        Oh pull the other one Hooton. If a client of yours that your being paid to lobby for and is suffering bad press and it’s being commented on here, you will here quick as a flash peddling propaganda like we are accustom to seeing.

        • Gosman

          This is unlikely I would suggest. It would be much more effective posting comments on a right leaning blog as that would mean a more sympathetic audience (depending on the client I know but generally it would hold true). Posting here would tend to get a very negative reaction and it would be unlikely the message would get through to the intended recipients. It is also likely draw out the issue beyond what a client would like as a result of the heated debate.

          • Skinny

            Cut it out Gosman we see Hooton employing the shotgun effect all the time. He puts it out there amongst all his avenues of media. People become conditioned to whatever particular snake oil view he is peddling. It then gets picked up by lazy idiot rightwing media puppets and so the cycle continues. I would assume Hooton has surveying tools and graphs to illustrate the effectiveness of whatever brand of oil he has sold. Then it’s just a matter of haggling a fee for his services. I’ve previously had a fair bit of success in marketing and other ventures using this trade so feel qualified to comment on the dark art of spin.

            • Matthew Hooton

              You see things that don’t exist. And you assume wrong.

              • Skinny

                Well we will take your rebuttal at face value Matthew, just like many of us reading and commenting on topic’s of interest
                Is a fair cop. It certainly passes the boredom of work so shouldn’t be too critical since I work for the taxpayer.

                Despite the odd nasty word or 2 ( union puppet ) most of your comments ‘add value’ to speak in your own language. Btw I didn’t mean to be overly insulting about drinking.

          • tracey

            Planting a meme amongst those who already swallow it isn’t too bright or useful… but trying to get it to have traction amongst those who dont agree would be the point wouldn’t it?

            i think you dwell too much on who posts and forget the large number who never comment but read. Hoots probably understands that even if you don’t.

            The “client” is probably not as naive as you seem to think.

            • Gosman

              You are essentially stating the whole premise behind dirty politics was wrong. Congrats on doing that.

        • Matthew Hooton

          No, I have never done that.

      • tracey 15.1.4

        just in your “breaks” aye Matthew 😉

    • The lost sheep 15.2

      “They are paid by the right to incite criticism of them..”

      Who is kidding who!
      The ‘Right Wing Tr**lls’ generate about 70% of the content here.
      They are the oxygen the blog lives on.
      If they left it would take you all about a day to get sick of agreeing with each other and plead for them to come back.

      My theory is that the owners of The Standard are paying them.

  15. Brendan 16

    “They are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants…”

    The great classical liberal Adam Smith. Pay particular notice to “had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants”. Now either this is socialism, or it’s the source the oxymoronic “trickle down” down theory.

    I’m looking up and there ain’t nothing tricklin’ down here. Not if Oxfam’s research is correct.

    So water is a weak analogy—because it still obeys the physical law of gravity. Wealth however, doesn’t.

    • Colonial Rawshark 16.1

      So water is a weak analogy—because it still obeys the physical law of gravity. Wealth however, doesn’t.

      That’s why its called dough. You roll dough around and it sticks together. It picks up more dough. A big bit of dough collects more dough very quickly, compared to a small bit of dough. Dough does not “trickle down” it gathers up.

    • tracey 16.2

      Adam Smith,quoted by the NZ Initiative to make them seem neutral…

  16. disturbed 17

    As for the 1% owning more than all the rest of the 99% of us population.

    This is undoubtedly again pushing us to another revolution and even worse than we saw in history in France hunger strikes and misery as the Gentry invoked against the people in the 1880s’ that caused their revolution.

    This will be a global revolution this time.

    • Colonial Rawshark 17.1

      That’s what drones, militarised police and mass surveillance are for.

      • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 17.1.1

        That reminds me of …

        “London’s [sic] has purchased three water cannon for the Met Police’s armoury against austerity protesters this year. Surely it’s only fair the people had one too?”

        This is the question being asked by protesters who are furious at Boris Johnson’s announcement that he bought three water cannon for the Metropolitan Police at a cost of £218,000.


        Posted: 24 June 2014

    • Gosman 17.2

      Wealth inequality now is much better than it was pre-industrial Europe so it is difficult to understand why the consequences of our current levels would be worse.

      • Colonial Rawshark 17.2.1

        Please don’t set the standard at: not as shit as it was in the 1700s.

        And its very easy to understand why the consequences are going to be worse this time. Its because people haven’t been peasants all their lifetimes bowing and scraping to an aristocracy, unlike the 1700s.

        • Gosman

          Except, according to many here, an awful lot of people are mindless subservient drones who simply parrot the official line. Perhaps we are not so different from the peasants of the lat 18th century after all ;-).

        • Skinny

          If riots occur during Key’s reign it will take more than farmers on horse back to stem the angry mob.

        • mac1

          “Do you hear the people sing?
          Singing the song of angry men?
          It is the music of the people
          Who will not be slaves again!
          When the beating of your heart
          Echoes the beating of the drums
          There is a life about to start
          When tomorrow comes.”

          Les Miserables –

          • Gosman

            That revolution ended well didn’t it.

            • mac1

              Which is why we want to avoid the anger of men who will not be slaves again, by resiling from slavery, poverty, malnutrition, hopelessness, desperation, starvation, penury, persecution and many other words which describe the human condition of the oppressed. That was after all the relief of the American Dream inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.

              Who are today’s refugees, today’s poor, today’s forgotten millions? Why do we still have them in this world which could guarantee the material happiness and needs of us all?

              That, Gosman, is why we need to have it end well. Better without bloody revolution. Better with good men of good will acting well.

              The common good. eh?

            • McFlock

              Less bad than many ended, and provided some good work for the successful one 16 years later.

          • Clemgeopin

            Great book, great movie and great music!
            Russel Crow acted and sang well too!

            Here is the song on U-tube. Enjoy!

            And Sung by 17 Valjeans from around the world. 7 minutes. Includes Rob Guest.

      • Paul 17.2.2

        Pretty dreadful argument.

      • tracey 17.2.3

        yes fewer workers are dying in workplace accidents too… but over 50 still die a year from preventable workplace acccidents, the ones who don’t die should be much m,ore grateful dontcha think?

  17. framu 18

    how many more threads is gossamer going to try and hijack?

  18. Sacha 19

    Further to the arguing above:

    Credit Suisse reports that 123,000 New Zealanders are part of that worldwide wealthiest 1%. http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/264092/over-100,000-nzers-in-top-1-percent

    Statistics NZ says our current population is 4,561,000. http://statistics.govt.nz/tools_and_services/population_clock.aspx

    So that makes our local contribution 2.7%. Still a tiny parasitic minority.

  19. TVNZ Breakfast tweeted:
    ‘Huge divergence’ in economic equality gap – @AndrewLittleMP (video link)

    • Ross 20.1

      Thanks for the link r:r. I fell asleep watching it. If the “Huge Divergence” statement hadn’t appeared on the banner I would have missed it. Again, Little just sounds like Nat Lite, waffling away in polibabble. Who is advising him, do we know? They should be sacked for missing the bleeding obvious. The biggest impact Little has had since being elected leader was his cut the crap comment. It was genuine, honest and framed in a language that speaks to the heart of both the issue and the people. That’s our language and he should be using more of it. I know the right are trying to spread the “angry man” meme about him. Well, fuck them. If ever there was a time in our history when anger was justified, I would have thought, that time is now. When asked about the government’s plan to hobble the RMA, his response should have been unequivocal and along the lines of:

      “These people have trashed the economy, attacked the poor and defenseless, enriched their mates, massively increased inequality and are rampant climate change deniers. If you think that Labour would support them to bugger the RMA you’re crazy. The answer is NO and we will be doing everything in our power to make sure it doesn’t happen.”

      • The guy on Breakfast was agreeing with everything Little said, so there was a lack of dramatics. However, Little spoke intelligently about the issues in his 5 minutes
        – two tier economy
        – average kiwis missing out on ‘rock star economy’
        – gdp is a poor measure of wellbeing
        – housing affordability in crisis
        – changing the RMA won’t fix the core problem
        – incomes are too low
        – labour has reviewed the last election but looking to the future

        I don’t think that angry ranting is what the country wants from a future PM.

        • ropata:rorschach

          Ross, if you pay attention, the interview actually covers some serious issues, not “polibabble”…

          • Ross

            Sorry r:r. It was bland, measured, reasonable, boring, unmemorable babble. It was background noise. There was no emotion there, no indication that he cared or had any new ideas or insights or investment in anything other than playing the same game in the same old way. I didn’t mean to imply either that the topics were lightweight or that his responses should be angry. The reverse: these are dynamite topics that deserve strong, unequivocal, tell it like it actually is responses. Not “Bill English promised there would be wage increases last year and actually that didn’t happen, most people last year in fact didn’t get a pay increase yada yada yada.” What is wrong with, “Bill English is a bare faced liar!” and then go from there. Similarly my suggestion (for the flavor of a response) to the question about the RMA “reforms”. I was living in Australia during the Hawke/Keating years and I can assure you that phrases that are as honestly felt and delivered as those above are extremely attractive to the electorate and are exactly what people want from their PM. Key is PM because he is perceived as strong. Little (wear a white shirt ffs! and a red tie – it’s Labours colour after all 🙂 looks and sounds, well, little.

            • Clemgeopin

              Ross, you should ask Labour or Little to give you a job as an adviser. They can do with some extra help.

            • ropata:rorschach

              The combative approach has been tried and backfired (Goff). Little certainly has fire in the belly when it’s appropriate. I have more confidence in a leader who is rational and calm most of the time, rather than a rabble-rouser chanting “FJK! FJK!”. It may feel good at the time but generates more heat than light.

      • Clemgeopin 20.1.2

        I agree. He came across as too conciliatory. If he does not show more passion and differentiate himself and Labour widely and vehemently away from National, then how will he and Labour attract more support?

  20. This classic New York Times infographic shows how the US middle class was hollowed out over the last 30 years.

    The Great Prosperity, 1947-1979: productivity growth of 119% correlated to strong growth in wages and overall compensation for all workers.

    The Great Regression, 1980-Present: productivity growth of 80% was accompanied by almost STATIC wages or other compensation for workers. Almost all the productivity gains went to a tiny percentage of people at the top. More women went into work and debt piled up.

  21. John Key: Poster Boy for Rogernomics

    In these times, John Key is a powerful symbol of the new values elevating wealth and individual achievement. His rags-to-riches life story has provided a base for phenomenal political popularity, blindsiding the Opposition. Labour thought his $9 million Parnell home and the Hawaiian condo would be political liabilities. Instead, they have only added to his appeal. “He’s the right man for the times. Helen [Clark] was lucky she lasted so long,” says Caldwell.

    NZ Wellbeing rated ‘D’ for Inequality

    So how does New Zealand compare internationally in the inequality stakes? The New Zealand Institute think-tank recently gave the country a D for inequality in its report card on the nation’s well-being, saying: “Despite any perception New Zealanders may have of their country as fundamentally egalitarian, all but six of the OECD countries are more equal in terms of income distribution … Poverty is always undesirable in a society, whereas some inequality can be bene­ficial. Inequality can provide incentives to aim higher and work harder. Too much inequality, however, leads to unhappiness, frustration and stress.”

    The Institute says New Zealand had a much more equal distribution of income in the 1980s, but this deteriorated rapidly in the 90s. “Most other OECD countries are at a level that New Zealand also once had, and children enjoyed better outcomes at that level.”

    Worker protections decimated and benefits cut

    A rollercoaster of economic restructuring in the 1980s and 1990s brought the loss of thousands of relatively well-paid jobs for less skilled workers as a result of corporatisation of the railways and the Post Office and the loss of protection for manufacturing. Income distribution also changed as a result of tax and benefit cuts in 1991. Trade unions have been decimated by reforms of labour laws, reducing their ability to protect the wages of ordinary workers.

    Inequality impacts health outcomes

    Gaping health inequalities have also become part of the picture. A 2005 Ministry of Health report found life expectancy varied by as much as 28 years between neighbourhoods. In some neighbourhoods, people could expect to die before reaching 65; in others, they could expect to live for more than 90 years. Professor Tony Blakely, head of the Wellington School of Medicine’s health inequalities research programme, says those differences can be explained by a combination of socio­economic and ethnic inequalities, as well as migration from area to area.

    A whole lot more here.

  22. Adele 23

    Kiaora Gosman

    In respect to your comment below:

    Are you implying the nations involved are not receiving adequate royalties? I know of many nations (e.g. Botswana) that seem to be doing very well from Royalties from their natural resources. Why do you think that it is insufficient?

    Why Botswana? Why not the Americas, Europe, the Commonwealth. Why not New Zealand?

    Flowing with Botswana, I consulted Wikipedia. Two things struck me ironic.

    40% of earnings are derived from mining. There is a 50% shareholding in mining. Thus 40% from 50%. But why not 100% from 100%?

    Botswana mines DIAMONDS, precious gems and URANIUM. First world commodities that continue to command first world prices (despite occasionally being drenched in blood and gore). Royalties in this context suggests a fire-sale.

    The other irony is “BOTSWANA” and not Australia.

    • Gosman 23.1

      Ummm… because the huge amount of capital investment required to extract the diamonds is not easily generated within the country. Hence why they encourage private sector foreign investment.

      • Adele 23.1.1

        Kiaora Gosman,

        Errrrr, that’s why I said “firesale.” Not even a den of dragons could entice 50% for 40%. Perhaps a population decimated by HIV and desertification is sufficient incentive to ink such an inequitable arrangement.

        And when the diamonds turn to dust, FDI will evaporate.

  23. Treetop 24

    The more you have the more you can get, is how it works fot the top 1%.

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