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Author, Politicians to Tackle Inequality at Tauranga Meeting

Closing the Gap: The Income Equality Project 

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6 August 2013

Author, Politicians to Tackle Inequality at Tauranga Meeting 

The Bay of Plenty region is a microcosm of the widening wealth gap in New Zealand, says author Max Rashbrooke, who is visiting Tauranga to take part in a public meeting with local politicians next Tuesday (13 August) to talk about inequality.

Rashbrooke, editor of the new book “Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis,” says an atlas of socioeconomic deprivation produced by Otago University researchers (link below) reveals some stark divides, particularly between the Western and Eastern Bay of Plenty.

“The map shows parts of the Eastern Bay are among the most deprived in New Zealand, while a lot – though by no means all – of the west is doing better,” Rashbrooke said. 

“The data used in the atlas is from the 2006 Census, but given the path toward widening inequality that New Zealand has continued to follow, I doubt the situation has improved since then.” 

There’s a growing body of evidence showing that inequality hurts us all, Rashbrooke said, so it’s in the interests of everyone – including the better off – to turn this around.

“Inequality is both a national and a regional issue, and I’m keen to hear what the people of Tauranga have to say about it.”

Peter Malcolm, a meeting organiser and spokesperson for the Tauranga Closing the Gap group, said he hoped Bay of Plenty residents would press central and local government to make income inequality a greater focus.

“I’m a retired schoolteacher and I saw some of the results of the wealth gap first-hand, so I know the damage it does, especially to children,” Malcolm said. “What scares me is how much wider this gap has grown since I left the profession.”

“It’s time to stop pointing the finger of blame and come together to look at how we can start to fix this,” Malcolm said. “That’s the focus of our group, and what I hope will be the focus of the meeting next week.” 

PUBLIC MEETING: Tuesday, 13 August 2013. 7 pm. Wesley Centre, 100 13th Avenue.

WITH: Author Max Rashbrooke; Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby; Western Bay of Plenty District Council Mayor Ross Paterson; Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chairman John Cronin

LINK: to downloadable maps of socioeconomic deprivation in New Zealand: http://bit.ly/w4OsNV

For more information: http://www.closingthegap.org.nz/

ENDS

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