New project targets Inequality in New Zealand – Embargoed till 11am Thursday June 2 2011
Leaders from NZ’s major churches are supporting the launch of a new project today, aimed at reducing the gap between the
rich and the poor in this country.
The NZ Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS) is launching Closer Together Whakatata Mai as a way to highlight
the impact of inequality, especially income inequality, for our nation.
NZCCSS President Ruby Duncan says 20 years ago New Zealand was one of the most equal countries in the economically
developed world but that is no longer the case. She says it’s very important to change the mainstream perspective about
economic and social disparity.
“Our largely individualistic approach to economics and politics will lead us down a dark alley, where the nation we are
becoming is increasingly divided. This separation is on the face of it an increasing divide between rich and poor, but
underneath that is the reality of misery and despair for those growing up as the have-nots.
NZCCSS is supporting regional networks to organise events and meetings over the next few months. They’re also aiming to
collect more than 5,000 signatures, either online or by postcard, from those committed to reducing inequality. Already
keen to sign up are Anglican Archbishop David Moxon, Baptist Union NZ President Rodney McCann, the Wellington Catholic
Archbishop John Dew and Salvation Army’s Director of Social Services, Major Campbell Roberts.
NZCCSS Executive officer Trevor McGlinchey says he hopes many, many other New Zealanders will sign up so “reducing
inequality” becomes an election issue.
“We are not seeking to promote one political party over another but we want all parties and government agencies to
develop or support policies that promote equality or reduce inequality. We want to send a strong message to all
political candidates that we don’t want a country of haves and have-nots, rather we want to live in a society where
everyone gets a fair go and is seen as a valuable member of our communities.
The Closer Together Whakatata Mai project will be launched at 10am, Thursday 2 June 2011 at the Downtown Community
Ministry (DCM), Lukes Lane, central Wellington. Guests will be able to view the various services based at DCM, which
include a foodbank, benefit advocacy service and a street people project.
For more information about the campaign or to show your support by signing up,
Champions who have publicly committed to signing a Closer Together Whakatata Mai card
Ruby Duncan NZCCSS President & CEO Iosis
Vaughan Milner, NZCCSS Vice-President & CEO Presbyterian Support Upper South Island
Archbishop John Dew, Catholic Diocese of Wellington
Campbell Roberts, Salvation Army Director of Social Services
Rodney McCann, President Baptist Union of New Zealand
Archbishop David Moxon, Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
Bishop Muru Walters, Pihopa o Te Upoko o te Ika & Chair of Anglican Social Justice Commission
Professor Mike O'Brien, Massey University
Karen Morrison-Hume, CEO, Anglican Action Waiapu
Stephanie Macintyre, Director, Downtown Community Ministries