Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Wealth gap in New Zealand underlined by updated book

Gap between the rich and the rest in New Zealand underlined by updated book

5 August, 2014

The latest data on poverty and inequality in New Zealand underline the size of the gap between the rich and the rest, according to the updated edition of The Inequality Debate: An Introduction.

Author Max Rashbrooke has updated the book using data released just a few weeks ago by the Ministry of Social Development. Rashbrooke threads this new data into the wider story of the large income gaps that have opened up in New Zealand over the last three decades.

As the book shows, inequality has increased slightly since the global financial crisis, reversing earlier decreases from policies like Working for Families. Since 2009, incomes have been static or falling for people in the poorest half of the country, but increasing for the rich.

But the book also traces the wider New Zealand story of inequality, starting with a huge surge in income gaps in the 1980s and 1990s – the biggest in the developed world – which left the country far more unequal than it was thirty years ago.

Someone in the richest 10 per cent now earns eight times as much as the person in the lowest 10 per cent, whereas in the 1980s they would have earned just 4.5 times as much.

And despite a mixed picture in recent years, New Zealand’s poverty rates remain extremely high – double what they were in the 1980s.

The percentage of all people in poverty was 9 per cent in the mid-1980s; now it’s 18 per cent. The percentage of children in poverty was 11 per cent in the mid-1980s; now it’s 24 per cent.

These concentrations of poverty, along with concentrations of great wealth, are – the book argues – one of the most important issues in 2014. Indeed, opinion polling shows that inequality and poverty are now the single most pressing issue for many New Zealanders.

The Inequality Debate: An Introduction is part of a series of short books published by Bridget Williams Books called ‘BWB Texts’. The book’s chapters were originally drawn from the larger work Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis published last year.

The Inequality Debate is both fascinating and horrifying. So short that you’ve got no excuse, this is the best book you can read if you want to be informed on an issue that will dominate the rhetoric of all major political parties this election year.’ David Williams,Salient

About the author
Max Rashbrooke is a Wellington journalist and author. He has written for national newspapers and magazines in New Zealand and the UK, including the Guardian, the Herald and the Listener.

About BWB Texts
BWB Texts are short books on big subjects. Published as snappy Penguin-style paperbacks and DRM-free e-books, this new series unlocks exciting opportunities for New Zealand non-fiction. Many more BWB Texts are scheduled for release through 2014 and beyond.

Rashbrooke is a contributor to a BWB Text publishing in October that collects New Zealand responses to Thomas Piketty’s bestselling book Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

For more information about BWB Texts please visit our website.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Jane Kelsey: High Court Can’t Make Groser Provide TPPA Information Faster

‘This week we went back to court to challenge Trade Minister Groser’s stalling tactics over the release of information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, following a High Court order that he reconsider the Official Information Act request I made last January’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, first applicant in the case. More>>

Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


Lambton Quay Shutdown: Object Was Made To Look Like Bomb

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>


Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Disobeying The Law: Police Censorship Of Crime Research “An Outrage”

The Green Party is calling on Police Minister Michael Woodhouse to ensure Police scrap controversial contracts that place onerous restrictions on academic researchers’ access to Police data, the Green Party says. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news