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New project targets Inequality in New Zealand

New project targets Inequality in New Zealand – Embargoed till 11am Thursday June 2 2011

Leaders from NZ’s major churches are supporting the launch of a new project today, aimed at reducing the gap between the rich and the poor in this country.

The NZ Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS) is launching Closer Together Whakatata Mai as a way to highlight the impact of inequality, especially income inequality, for our nation.

NZCCSS President Ruby Duncan says 20 years ago New Zealand was one of the most equal countries in the economically developed world but that is no longer the case. She says it’s very important to change the mainstream perspective about economic and social disparity.

“Our largely individualistic approach to economics and politics will lead us down a dark alley, where the nation we are becoming is increasingly divided. This separation is on the face of it an increasing divide between rich and poor, but underneath that is the reality of misery and despair for those growing up as the have-nots.

NZCCSS is supporting regional networks to organise events and meetings over the next few months. They’re also aiming to collect more than 5,000 signatures, either online or by postcard, from those committed to reducing inequality. Already keen to sign up are Anglican Archbishop David Moxon, Baptist Union NZ President Rodney McCann, the Wellington Catholic Archbishop John Dew and Salvation Army’s Director of Social Services, Major Campbell Roberts.

NZCCSS Executive officer Trevor McGlinchey says he hopes many, many other New Zealanders will sign up so “reducing inequality” becomes an election issue.

“We are not seeking to promote one political party over another but we want all parties and government agencies to develop or support policies that promote equality or reduce inequality. We want to send a strong message to all political candidates that we don’t want a country of haves and have-nots, rather we want to live in a society where everyone gets a fair go and is seen as a valuable member of our communities.

The Closer Together Whakatata Mai project will be launched at 10am, Thursday 2 June 2011 at the Downtown Community Ministry (DCM), Lukes Lane, central Wellington. Guests will be able to view the various services based at DCM, which include a foodbank, benefit advocacy service and a street people project.

ENDS


For more information about the campaign or to show your support by signing up,

go to the website www.closertogether.org.nz.


NZCCSS_Backgrounder__FAQs_Web_version_FINAL_May2011.pdf



Champions who have publicly committed to signing a Closer Together Whakatata Mai card

Ruby Duncan NZCCSS President & CEO Iosis

Vaughan Milner, NZCCSS Vice-President & CEO Presbyterian Support Upper South Island

Archbishop John Dew, Catholic Diocese of Wellington

Campbell Roberts, Salvation Army Director of Social Services

Rodney McCann, President Baptist Union of New Zealand

Archbishop David Moxon, Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

Bishop Muru Walters, Pihopa o Te Upoko o te Ika & Chair of Anglican Social Justice Commission

Professor Mike O'Brien, Massey University

Karen Morrison-Hume, CEO, Anglican Action Waiapu

Stephanie Macintyre, Director, Downtown Community Ministries

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