Why must New Zealanders take action? Journalist Max Rashbrooke reports 18 February the key findings as follows: It brings inequality home with real-life stories of New Zealanders from business owners to beneficiaries.
Understand Inequality What is inequality? There are many kinds of inequality — of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and so on. This site focusses on inequality of income and wealth, sometimes known as economic inequality or resource inequality because income and wealth are both things resources that the economy produces.
Income is what people need to get through the present, while wealth allows them to plan for the future and make investments. Income and wealth inequality is about who gets what — the fact that some people have much more or much less of these things than others.
Why this kind of inequality? But they do make a big difference to the kinds of lives people can lead. So it matters how income and wealth are shared out. How unequal is New Zealand? That means many New Zealanders struggle to pay their bills and lead a decent life.
Wealth is also very largely in the hands of a few. That leaves many people in poverty, lacking the resources they need to participate in society and follow their dreams.
What is the connection with poverty? Inequality connects both ends of the spectrum, wealth and poverty, and argues that they have to be looked at together. The fundamental issue is distribution: Are people worried about inequality? Polling shows New Zealanders have consistently rated inequality as the single biggest issue facing the country since Over 80 per cent of the country say they are concerned or very concerned about income and wealth imbalances.
What are the impacts of inequality? For some people, inequality is fundamentally unfair: There are also practical reasons to be concerned about inequality. Unequal societies are less functional, less cohesive and less healthy than their more equal counterparts. The damage inequality does falls under five headings: On the health front, more unequal societies are more materially competitive, more hierarchical and more stressful.
This leads to higher rates of stress-related illness. Opportunities are damaged as well: Advantage and disadvantage are passed on from generation to generation. In contrast, in more equal societies like Denmark, all parents have enough income to buy their kids a computer for school and heat their home properly, and strong public services help out those struggling in later life.
New Zealand is currently somewhere in between these two extremes, but probably becoming more like America. When it comes to politics, inequality allows wealthy people to influence politicians, who rely on them for donations to fund their campaigns.
That means some people get more access than others — a violation of the ideals of democracy. Finally, when it comes to the economy, recent OECD and IMF research shows that more unequal countries have worse economies, because poverty deprives them of the full talents of some children and the economy becomes prone to asset bubbles and instability.
In these five areas, the failings affect all of us, no matter where we are on the spectrum. Inequality has many causes, and they vary from country to country. Global trade agreements play a role, by shifting manufacturing and other jobs to countries with lower pay. But many of the causes are purely domestic.
In New Zealand, in the s and s, taxes were cut for top earners, while benefits were reduced by up to 30 per cent for the poorest families.
Thousands of people lost their jobs as companies moved overseas, and the number of people in trade unions — which traditionally pushed up the wages of ordinary workers — fell from 70 per cent of the workforce to 20 per cent.
In addition, some inequality is down to things like household types we have more single parent families than before, and they tend to be poorerthough these factors are probably not as important as those above. When it comes to wealth, the sale of public assets will have increased the wealth of those at the upper end, while declining home ownership means fewer and fewer people have that most important kind of asset.
Data shows that most saving — a key way to build up wealth — is very difficult except for those who have large incomes or work in the property sector.
How are the terms defined?In New Zealand, income (and probably wealth) was being shared out more and more evenly from the s up until the s – but for the next two decades we had the developed world’s biggest increase in income inequality.
Effects of poverty in New Zealand The impacts of poverty on families and individuals relate to a series of issues. Social problems, health, and the economy are the three main areas of concern. Poverty, Income Inequality and Health New Zealand Treasury Working Paper 01/29 Published Dec Authors: Ken Judge, Iain Paterson Revenue effects of tax changes.
The latest breaking news video and visual storytelling from HuffPost. Max Rashbrooke, editor of Inequality: A New Zealand crisis, says a growing income gap causes people to "lose their sense of what life is like for people in the other half".
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