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Oxfam report reveals the scale of growing inequality

January 16th, 2017

Media Release

Oxfam report reveals the scale of growing inequality

The latest Oxfam report on inequality has lent its support to a Living Wage for all working New Zealanders as well as a fairer tax system so the wealthy pay their fair share.

The report details the rising fortunes of the wealthy, as well as the precarious financial position of many working New Zealanders.

Among other data, it shows the number of people worth more than $20 million surged from 212 in October 2015 to 252 in June, 2016 – a 20% increase.

A third of this group paid tax on declared income of $70,000 in 2015, “which is just disgraceful”, says Mat Danaher, Living Wage Campaign Leader Organiser for E tū.

“Oxfam has pointed out the need for a Living Wage so that the fortunes of wealthy individuals and companies are shared more evenly, and we agree,” says Mat.

“It has also highlighted the loopholes which reduce the taxes paid by the country’s richest New Zealanders, despite their ability to pay more.”

“Workers face a perfect storm of circumstances which impoverish them including low wages and insecure work, as well as escalating living costs, particularly housing”, he says.

Mat says a key issue is the role played by property speculation in the growth of wealth at the top, as well as the impoverishment of working New Zealanders.

“It’s no coincidence that on the same day Oxfam released its report, we learn of two Auckland houses which sold multiple times over a four-day period, netting one lucky owner tax-free capital gains of $1 million.

“The government has failed to do anything to reign in this kind of excess, despite housing costs being a key driver of poverty, and on the other side of the equation, growing wealth for a lucky few.”


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