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Believe it - inequality gap not make believe

David Cunliffe
Labour Leader

16 June 2014

Believe it - inequality gap not make believe

The Government needs to pull its head out of the sand and recognise that inequality in New Zealand is getting worse, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe.

“New information from Oxfam NZ that shows the richest 10 per cent of Kiwis are wealthier than the rest of the population isn’t a fiction.

“It coincides with a recent OECD report which revealed the highest-paid 10 per cent of workers in New Zealand earn 32 times more than the poorest 10 per cent.

“New Zealand used to pride itself on its egalitarianism. Now ours is an economy where the wealthy few are doing extremely well while those in the middle are struggling and those on the lowest incomes are going backwards.

“You can bet there weren’t too many CEOs among the 46 per cent of New Zealanders who didn’t get a rise in their wage rates in the past year.

“The consequences of income and wealth inequality are obvious – plummeting rates of home ownership, increasing child poverty, and the emergence of a new class of working poor.

“The first step to resolving it is to recognise it.

“Labour wants an economy that works for everyone, where wealth and high incomes aren’t just concentrated in the hands of the few. Our Economic Upgrade policies will create better jobs and higher wages, and ensure that those who already own substantial assets pay their share of the tax burden, through a capital gains tax.

“That’s what New Zealand needs to become a more equal society.”

ENDS

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