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Minister welcomes Social Report findings

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister for Social Development & Employment

7 August 2008 Media Statement

Minister welcomes Social Report findings

Minister for Social Development and Employment Ruth Dyson says the findings of the 2008 Social Report show that New Zealand’s overall wellbeing is improving.

"For the first time since 1988 we’ve seen the gap between the rich and poor close. Working for Families has made a significant impact, providing invaluable assistance for families and creating a more level playing field," said Ruth Dyson.

The report, produced by the Ministry of Social Development, shows that over the longer term, social outcomes are advancing strongly. Since the mid-1990s there have been improvements across a range of areas particularly health, knowledge and skills, paid work and economic standard of living.

‘’Overall this report shows that New Zealander’s social wellbeing has made great strides in the past few years,’’ said Ms Dyson.

Key findings of the Social Report are:

- The reduction in income inequality between the highest and lowest earners, the first time the gap has closed in 20 years. The proportion of the population with low incomes is also considerably lower.

- Maori have over the long term, made significant gains particularly in employment, life expectancy and access to tertiary education.

- The market income per person was higher in 2007 than it was in the mid 1990s.

- Improvements in health expectancy, life expectancy, and the suicide and cigarette smoking rates indicate better health outcomes for New Zealanders since the mid-1990s.

The report also found that New Zealand still has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the OECD and we’re living healthier lives as people can expect to live independently for longer. New Zealand is also first equal in the world, as the least corrupt nation.

A full copy of the report is available on August 21 from


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