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Key manipulates figures on income inequality

Labour Leader

2 August 2011

Key manipulates figures on income inequality

Prime Minister John Key cynically manipulated figures in today’s Houshold Incomes in New Zealand report by refusing to admit it included statistics only up to June 2010, and didn’t take account of the massive tax cuts for the rich in October 2010, says Labour Leader Phil Goff.

“While the Salvation Army and Auckland City Mission report heart-breaking stories of families below the poverty line and desperately seeking help, John Key chortles in Parliament and says he prefers to stick to the facts contained in the report,” Phil Goff said.

“The facts are out there on the streets, and at the social services agencies who are at the front-line in helping those most in need.
“John Key claimed today that inequality increased under Labour, but the report says exactly the opposite. It states that inequality reduced from 2001 under Labour and continued to reduce throughout Labour’s term, mainly as the result of Working for Families --- which John Key abused as ‘communism by stealth’ --- but it’s returned sharply since the end of last year.

“The asset value of the 150 richest people in New Zealand increased by more than $7 billion last year, and every one of these people got at least a thousand dollars a week in tax cuts from John Key, while those on the median wage got just $14.

“And John Key still pretends that’s a decline in inequality,” Phil Goff said. “If the Prime Minister is as interested in facts as he says, here are some facts for him:

• Families seeking food parcels from the Salvation Army's 54 foodbanks jumped from 15,239 in 2007 to 27,612 - with 34,482 children between them - in the year to last month.
• The Salvation Army says it gave about 35,000 food parcels in the first six months of the year, compared to 53,000 for the whole of last year.
• Across the country, communities are reporting increase in the use of food parcels

“The truth is that the last thing John Key wants to admit is the facts,” Phil Goff said. “Kiwis in the top wealth decile hold 50 per cent of our total wealth. That’s five per cent higher than Australia and the United Kingdom.

“Labour drove down poverty figures in New Zealand,” Phil Goff said. “The National Government is deliberately increasing inequality through a tax system that favours the wealthy.”


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