Interesting article in today’s Herald (the same one referred to by Jacinda Ardern) reporting on a New Zealand Institute report which shows that New Zealand has a high disadvantage rate. Only six countries have a worse disadvantage rate (the gap between rich and poor) among the 30 developed countries that make up the OECD. It was correctly noted that our country became much less equal in the 1990s under the last National Government.
The policies of the current National Government will no doubt worsen this situation. One of the earliest acts of this Government was to give tax cuts favouring the rich (30% of the cuts went to the top 3% of salary earners). We are likely to see further unfair tax changes in the May budget with increases to the regressive GST and further cuts in personal tax for high income earners. Access to lifelong learning opportunities which can assist people in many ways including improving their job opportunities such as Adult and Community Education and the Training Incentive Allowance have been cut.
The Government has placed scant attention on economic stimulus to create jobs or invest in skills.
A recent Salvation Army report ‘Road to Recovery’ stated that: “…there is no denying that the recession is taking a social toll. Unemployment is at a five year high, gains made over the last five years in reducing child poverty have probably been lost, and there are signs of a widening income gap between the well paid and the poorly paid”