International charity Oxfam has highlighted figures from the recent 2013 Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook which show that the richest 10% of New Zealanders are now wealthier than the rest of the population combined.
The National government doesn’t reject the evidence outright, but simply says its own analysis shows inequality has not worsened in the past decade.
Oxfam NZ’s executive director states that New Zealand is becoming increasingly divided “with an elite who are seeing their bank balances go up, while hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders struggle to make ends meet”.
The data also shows that the top 1% of people hold more than 25.1% of the wealth, which is more than what’s owned by the bottom 70%.
Inequality of this level, familiar to many countries since the advent of neoliberal economic policies, highlights the inability of the former social democratic parties to redistribute wealth. The Labour Party stays quiet about the fact that fastest growth in income inequality actually occurred during the last Labour-led government.
We need to rebuild militant trade unionism and create a new workers party based on the organisations of the working class in order to be able to really tackle this problem.
By Joe Kelly