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Slow Growth Will See Wealth Gap Widen

Don Brash - National Finance Spokesperson

Slow growth will see wealth gap widen New Zealand runs the risk of ending up like Latin America unless it fast-tracks its rate of economic growth, says National’s Finance spokesman, Don Brash.

“The inequality in wealth distribution highlighted in last week’s Retirement Commission survey could see us heading the way of Latin America, with a very small number of very affluent people and a very large number of very poor people.

“The obvious counter to this is a faster rate of economic growth, but the chances of this happening under this Government are rapidly waning.

“The Council of Trade Unions has warned of a risk to social instability because the Retirement Commission’s survey shows 20 percent of New Zealanders account for almost 70 percent of total net worth, leaving more people with less.

“But National fears the situation will only get worse unless New Zealand achieves a faster rate of economic growth.

“The fact is New Zealand will continue to lose skilled people unless we pay them some approximation of what they can earn overseas. To do this, we need an economy where average incomes are similar to those in other developed countries, otherwise we run the risk that paying those with skills enough to keep them here leaves ever less for those without skills.

“Without faster economic growth to return our living standards to those enjoyed by other developed countries, New Zealand will see the gap in wealth and income steadily widen,” says Dr Brash.

ENDS

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