New data paints stark picture of inequality in NZ

New data showing that the top 10 percent of New Zealand households own half our country’s wealth, while the bottom 40 percent of households own just 3 percent of the wealth, helps explain why so many people are living in cars and being forced to choose between putting food on their table or seeing a doctor when they’re sick, the Green Party said today.

The data is from Statistics NZ’s Household Net Worth survey.

“When wealth inequality is this stark, it’s clear that the economy is broken,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.

“Wealth inequality is driving the housing crisis, and causing over 40,000 children’s hospital visits every year because they live in cold, damp, and mouldy homes.

“National has spent eight years making excuses but we can’t afford to wait any longer for a ‘brighter future’.

“This isn’t just about GDP and wages, it’s about whether people have the economic security to build a stable, fulfilling life for their families – and this data shows that for many people, that’s no longer possible.

“Things have got worse under National. The top 10 percent of people now have a bigger share of the country’s wealth than they did ten years ago.

“Economic growth on paper isn’t enough. We need to make sure that the benefits of that growth are reaching all New Zealanders fairly.

“National’s only delivering for a chosen few, while ordinary families struggle with housing costs and more and more are forced to live in their cars.

“It hasn’t always been like this in New Zealand. We have the tools to fix our broken economy, and we need to start today.

“We can level the playing field by extending in-work tax credits to all parents, providing wahakura essentials packs for all newborns, and investing in schools and school nurses in low income areas.

“Shifting investment out of property speculation and into growing businesses will create jobs and raise wages. Adding value to our exports will make our country richer.

“The economy is out of balance when so few people have so much of the wealth, and so much of it is tied up in investment properties,” Mrs Turei said.

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