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Too Much Money: How Wealth Disparities Are Unbalancing Aotearoa New Zealand

Max Rashbrooke’s widely anticipated new book shows how wealth disparities are unbalancing Aotearoa New Zealand – and why we should care.

Presently, someone in the wealthiest 1 per cent of adults – now a roughly 40,000-strong club – has a net worth 68 times that of the average New Zealander.

Possessing such wealth opens up opportunities to live in certain areas, get certain kinds of education, make certain kinds of social connections, exert certain kinds of power. And when access to these opportunities becomes alarmingly uneven, the implications are profound.

Too Much Money is Max Rashbrooke’s far-reaching and compelling account of the way that wealth – and its absence – is transforming the lives of people across Aotearoa. Drawing on the latest academic research, personal interviews and previously unexplored data, it reveals the way wealth is distributed and shows how disparities risk turning into entrenched class divisions, puncturing the myth of a ‘classless’ New Zealand. It arrives at a time of massive interest in related issues including house prices, public and private debt and trusts.

Having helped elevate the word ‘inequality’ into the political lexicon through his focus on income, Max Rashbrooke now turns to the division of wealth and what this means for our country’s future.

'The aim of all this scrutiny of wealth, well-being and class,' says Rashbrooke, 'is to better understand the social dynamics that shape New Zealand, and how they might be better reconfigured. It’s a chance to imagine a world in which opportunities are more widely spread, social divisions are diminished, and the distribution of wealth is not as top-heavy as it is now.'

Max Rashbrooke is a Wellington-based writer and researcher. His books, led by the best-selling Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis (new edition 2018), have helped transform national understanding of income and wealth dis- parities. Rashbrooke’s journalism has appeared in major outlets worldwide, including The Guardian, the Economist Group and Stuff. He was the 2020 J.D. Stout Fellow at Victoria University of Wellington, and is a senior associate of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies. His talk on renewing democracy has had almost 1.5 million views.

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