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The rich get richer, why not everyone else?

27 July 2012

The rich get richer, why not everyone else?

The minimum wage would be $16 an hour if it rose at same rate as the wealth of the 151 New Zealanders on the NBR rich list, said the Green Party.

The NBR rich list, released today, shows the collective wealth of the richest New Zealanders rose by $7 billion, or 18%, in the last year.

"The rich list highlights the growing income inequality in New Zealand While Kiwi families on low wages struggle to get by the wealthiest New Zealanders are doing very well," said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

"Treasury forecasts average wage growth of only 3-4% for the foreseeable future, yet the rich listers’ wealth is growing at a phenomenal rate of 18%.

"Government policy such as tax cuts for the well off, is fuelling a boom for those at the top while all other families are confined to limited wage growth and increasing job uncertainty.

"The Government should immediately lift the minimum wage to $16 to bring it into line with the wage growth of those on the rich list or, better yet, adopt Green Party policy and set the minimum wage at 66% of the average wage,” said Mrs Turei.

The 2011 OECD report Divided we stand showed that the income gap had grown faster in New Zealand than any other OECD country.

"Each year the rich list highlights the inequality gap in New Zealand. But each year the Government does nothing to address this chronic problem," said Mrs Turei.

"It is time we got serious about developing policies that actually close the inequality gap rather than increase it.

“The Greens will be supporting David Clark’s Member’s Bill to lift the minimum wage to $15 an hour as an important step in the right direction.

"Massive income inequality and poverty is anathema to our concept of a fair and egalitarian society and needs to be addressed," said Mrs Turei.

ends

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