Social Development Spokesperson
23 August 2012
Inequality a National shame
A report which shows income inequality at its highest level ever and growing numbers of New Zealand children living in hardship is a scorecard of Government neglect, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.
“The Household Incomes Report backs up what most Kiwis already know – the poor are still poor, middle income earners are going backwards and those at the top have recovered lost ground.
“Median income across all households has fallen by three per cent from 2009 to 2011. That follows 15 years of steady growth.
“What’s also clear is that without Labour’s Working For Families tax package things would be much worse.
“If Paula Bennett wants a measure of poverty, then she’s got one here. The report shows child poverty rates remain high at 21 to 22 per cent after significant reductions in the past.
“Material hardship – which measures the ability to get by day-to-day, such as paying the bills and going to the doctor – also rose from 15 per cent in 2007 to 21 per cent.
“The Perry report indicates that previous Labour policy has prevented the situation being much worse than it is. Equally New Zealanders could have been in a far better position had National been pro-active in addressing issues such as low incomes and job creation.
“If the Government hasn’t already realised that Kiwis are suffering, this report should be a wake-up call,” said Jacinda Ardern.