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


Environment And Conservation: Changes To Our Oceans Pose Serious Concerns

New Zealand’s oceans, coasts, and marine wildlife are under growing pressure, according to the first national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand about the marine environment. More>>


Police Authority: Use Of Taser Was Disproportionate And Unjustified

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that an officer’s second use of a Taser on a mentally unwell Hokitika man was disproportionate and unjustified. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Holidays, Hekia Parata And Badlands

Hekia Parata, adieu. Reportedly, she’s been ‘passionate’ about education. She has “bravely’ led the charge on the government’s education reforms. In the past week , many of the postscripts to Hekia Parata’s career as Education Minister have sounded like a schoolteacher desperately trying to find some reason why a D student can be marked up to C minus. More>>


Minister of Finance: Plan Shows $100 Billion Infrastructure Projects

Finance Minister Bill English has today launched the Government’s Ten Year Capital Intentions Plan (CIP) which shows a pipeline of $100.9 billion worth of infrastructure projects over the next decade. More>>


Werewolf: Safe Landings Gordon Campbell on the safety challenge to the Wellington runway extension.

The safety-related legal challenge revolves around the size of the 90 metre long Runway End Safety Area (RESA) being proposed for the runway extension. More>>


Environment Commissioner: We Need To Work Together On Climate Change And Farming

“The debate around agricultural emissions and the ETS has been polarised for too long,” said the Commissioner. “But the ETS is not the only way forward – there are other things that can be done.” More>>


NZ Super Fund: Seeking To Put A Market Price On Climate Change

Oct. 19 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand Superannuation Fund says it will devise a set of rules to assess investment winners and losers under climate change, a strategy that could rule out fossil fuels or producers such as current portfolio member Exxon ... More>>


Rejuvenation: Parata Will Not Contest 2017 Election

Education Minister and National List MP Hekia Parata has today announced that she will not be contesting the next election. She advised the Prime Minister of her decision earlier this year. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news