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

 


Poverty is falling and income inequality is not rising

Media Release

1st September 2014

ACT Leader Dr. Jamie Whyte

The Left is wrong: poverty is falling and income inequality is not rising

“A Roy Morgan poll shows that the issue people are most concerned about is income inequality. This just goes to show how the persistent repetition of a lie bewilders the public. Income inequality is not in fact rising. And the child poverty rate has been declining for nearly 20 years, falling from 35% in 1994 to 16% in 2007 and recently returning to pre-global financial crisis levels in 2012” said Dr Whyte.

“Those who advocate socialism have exploited the public’s concern about a rising number of people being trapped into a cycle of dependency. The Left’s repeated claims that New Zealand is getting more unequal are simply false and divert attention from policies that would help people out of dependency.

“Prior to the recent recession, there were 15 years of steady growth in median household incomes driven, in part, by the steady increase in the number of two-parent households where both parents are in paid employment (3% pa).

Figure 1: Real household income trends before housing costs (BHC) and after housing costs (AHC), 1982 to 2013 ($2013)


Source: Bryan Perry, Household incomes in New Zealand: Trends in indicators of inequality and hardship 1982 to 2013. Ministry of Social Development (July 2014).

“The net income gains from the mid-1990s to 2013 were similar for all income groups, so income inequality in 2013 was also similar to the mid-1990s” said Dr Whyte.

Figure 2: Real household incomes (BHC), changes for top of income deciles, 1994 to 2013


Source: (Perry 2014).

“The Gini coefficient – the most common measure of inequality – shows no evidence of a rise in income inequality since the mid-1990s. The trend-line is almost flat.

Figure 3: Gini coefficient New Zealand 1980-2015


Source: (Perry 2014).

“The Top 1% of income earners in New Zealand earn such a modest share of total earnings that the Occupy movement is left with nothing to protest about. The incomes of NZ’s top 1% of earners make up 8-9% of total incomes, as they have since the mid-1990s. It was only in the USA were the share of the top 1% continued to rise strongly, from 13% to 19%. New Zealand’s top 1% is performing so poorly that even the Swedish top 1% is set to overtake it”, said Dr Whyte

Figure 4: Top 1% income shares, USA, New Zealand and Sweden, 1970-2012


Source: The World Top Income Database at http://topincomes.g-mond.parisschoolofeconomics.eu/#Database

“Reducing inequality would not help to reduce poverty. The causes of poverty are complex but failure to get an education is one. Our one-size-fits-all education system has failed children from deprived homes for many years. Charter schools have successfully lifted educational achievement for children in poverty in many countries. Yet the political left is against this ladder,” said Dr Whyte.

“Who doubts that if New Zealand had its own Bill Gates, the country would be both more unequal and more prosperous? We need policies that encourage hard work, enterprise and success. ACT is the only party advocating such policies.

“The last time there was a significant increase in income inequality was in the early 1990s and this spike in inequality was immediately followed by a 15 year long economic boom” said Dr Whyte.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

PM's Presser: ‘Precarious’ Solid Energy In Banks’ Hands

Liquidation of state-owned coal company Solid Energy “cannot be ruled out” but is “not the number one preferred option of the government,” says Prime Minister John Key, who confirmed the beleaguered company was discussed today at Cabinet as its banking syndicate grapples with its commercially dire prospects. More>>

ALSO:

Missed Opportunities: Amnesty International Report Card On NZ's UN Role

As New Zealand steps down from its month as President of the Council, Amnesty International has taken the opportunity to review New Zealand’s role on the Council so far and assess their performance and contribution to protecting human rights worldwide. More>>

ALSO:

Prince Charles Get More Jobs: PM Announces Honorary Military Appointments

PM John Key has announced that Her Majesty The Queen has approved the appointment of HRH The Prince of Wales to three honorary positions: Admiral of the Fleet of the Royal New Zealand Navy; Field Marshal, New Zealand Army; Marshal of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. More>>

ALSO:

No TPP Deal: Gordon Campbell On Why We Should Still Oppose Investor-State Dispute Measures

Even in this dark hour for the TPP, the secrecy farce continues... What is left to hide? Every single negotiator went into those talks in Maui knowing exactly where everyone else stood. More>>

REACTION:

Salvation Army On Homelessness: Hard Times In West Auckland

The report details an uncomfortable story of people whose only option is to live an unhealthy, dangerous and damaging street life... The social housing needed by these people is not currently available in sufficient quantity. More social housing is required in the West. More>>

ALSO:

Message For PM: NZ Supports Te Reo Māori – You Should Too

As Māori Language Week celebrations and commemoration of 40 years draws to an end, the Māori Language Commission, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, is once again hugely encouraged by the widespread support for Māori language from throughout the country ... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news