5:00AM Wednesday April 04, 2007
By Simon Collins
More than half of New Zealand's total net worth is now owned by the richest 10 per cent of the population.
A new survey by Statistics NZ shows that the distribution of wealth has become even more unequal in 2003-04 than in the previous survey in 2001, when the richest 10 per cent owned only 48 per cent of the country's total wealth. They now own 52 per cent.
The richest half of the country owned 93 per cent of the wealth in 2001, and now owns 95 per cent. So the share of the poorest half has dropped from 7 per cent to 5 per cent.
But the two surveys cannot be compared directly. The 2001 survey, a one-off exercise for the Retirement Commission, was based on "economic units" where a couple counted as one unit, whereas the latest survey is the first part of a long-term sampling to be repeated up to 2010 and is based on individuals.
The new survey includes details which the previous one did not, revealing that the richest 1 per cent of individuals own 16 per cent of the country's wealth, and the richest 5 per cent own 38 per cent of the total.
The median net worth rises with age. The 15 to 24 age group was worth $2400, the 25 to 34 group $31,000, the 35 to 44 group $82,400, the 45 to 54 group $142,900 and the 55 to 64 group had $170,000.
The median drops back in the 65-plus retirement age bracket to $149,500. Overall the median individual is worth just $69,800.
More than half of all the 6.5 per cent of people with negative net worth are aged 15 to 24. This is probably because of student loans.
As in 2001, the latest survey shows that Europeans have by far the highest median net worth ($86,900), followed by Asians ($21,000), others ($19,000), Maori ($18,000) and Pacific people ($6700).
The manager of Statistics NZ's standard of living unit, Andrea Blackburn, told a social policy conference in Wellington yesterday that about 40 per cent of New Zealanders' net wealth was held in residential property. Data on other assets were not yet available.
She said New Zealand's skewed distribution of wealth was similar to Canada's, but still not as unequal as in the United States.
"It's typical of developed countries," she said.
Eat the rich I say, poverty has become a dirty word in the Maori & PI communities, all of Maori establishment just wish that us p addicted criminal dole bludging baby killers would just go away...to prisons in our own tribal areas run by the local kupapa trust board of course. What follows is a conversation my cousin and I had after the fallout of the Kahui twins:
"If you tremble of indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of mine."
Kia ora whanau
Jim Traue: Look deeper into roots of violence
The goal of current welfare reform in Aotearoa/New Zealand and the United States is to reconstitute the poor--not to eradicate poverty as a social/economic phenomenon, but to alter what are constructed as negative personality characteristics. Thus the focus of welfare reform is on the reformation of individuals rather than structures. It is only by creating counter-discourses that challenge socio-economic systems that perpetuate (and even depend on) poverty that we can hope to avoid the annihilative othering inherent in neo-liberal welfare reform
New Zealand: tragic deaths of baby twins used to foment anti-welfare
By John Braddock
15 July 2006
The tragic deaths in New Zealand last month of 11-week old Maori twins
is being used to justify a wide-ranging campaign by the media, police
and political establishment against the most oppressed and
impoverished layers of the country's Maori population.
We should be critically looking at programs introduced in other
'western countries' to cattle heard and dog tag the poor & black.
The stigmas of "welfare" and of single motherhood intersect; hostility
to the poor and hostility to deviant family forms reinforce each
other. The resentment undercuts political support for the program, and
benefits fall farther and farther behind inflation. The resulting
immiseration makes poor single mothers even more needy and less
politically attractive. The economic downturn of the last decade has
deepened both the poverty and the resentment, and created the
impression that we are experiencing a new, unprecedented, and
primarily minority social problem. Thus, Black single mothers'
inferior status in the welfare state has intensified their political
and economic marginalization, making them even less worthy of
citizenship rights. By casting their need for public assistance as
"dependency," welfare reform rhetoric suggests that these women lack
the independence required to be citizens, entitled to dignified
Dorothy E. Roberts,
Welfare and the Problem of Black Citizenship ,
105 Yale Law Journal 1563 -1602, 1576-1584 (April, 1996)
Overseers of the Poor:Surveillance, Resistance, and the Limits of
Privacy. 277 p. 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 2001 Series: (CSLS) Chicago Series in
Law and Society
This powerful book lets us in on the conversations of low-income
mothers from Appalachian Ohio as they talk about the welfare
bureaucracy and its remarkably advanced surveillance system. In their
struggle to care for their families, these women are monitored and
assessed through a vast network of supercomputers, caseworkers, fraud
control agents, and even grocers and neighbors.
Strip away the bureaucratic language of fraud control, regulatory
enforcement, consent forms, and the like, and we see a simple pattern
in which a government agency is using broadly targeted and online
surveillance in an effort to force a dependent population to live at
an intolerable level of poverty