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English fooling no-one on inequality



Spokesperson for Finance

English fooling no-one on inequality

Bill English’s narrow and selective focus on a small subset of inequality statistics is fooling no-one, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.

“Bill English is yet again trying to hoodwink New Zealanders by claiming inequality is not growing. New Zealand is now a country where the gap between the wealthy and the less well-off grows wider every year.

“The public knows that. Bill English is so out of touch that he thinks the 75 per cent of New Zealanders who say the gaps are widening are wrong.

“National cherry picks statistics to back up its claims. The OECD Report that Bill English cites is based on 2011 data but he knows the 2012 data shows income inequality reaching its highest level in recorded history.

“The income inequality data also excludes capital gains on the likes of investment housing, which is a significant contribution to inequality in this country.

“The truth is, in the 1980s New Zealand was in the best 30 per cent of the OECD for income inequality. Since then income inequality has got worse overall in the OECD, while New Zealand’s downward trend has deteriorated even further. We are now in the worst 40 per cent of countries for income inequality.

“The consequences of income inequality at these levels pile up every year. That’s why home ownership rates have dropped to their lowest level in 50 years and 285,000 children live in poverty.

“Under National the gaps will only widen.

“We need better paid jobs, lower power bills and more affordable housing.

“If Bill English really wants to make a difference, reduce inequality and child poverty, he should adopt our Economic Upgrade policies to create the better jobs and higher wages that New Zealand needs to become a more equal society,” David Parker says.

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