One quarter of NZ children living in Poverty
‘One quarter of all New Zealand children are growing up in poverty. That’s about 270,000 kids.’ Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand said.
WELLINGTON, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) — A government report Thursday showed the wealth gap between New Zealand’s richest and poorest people was at its greatest ever.
The Ministry of Social Development report on household incomes came a day after the government statistics agency showed a continued exodus of more than 1,000 New Zealanders every week leaving for Australia, where pay and living standards are higher.
The report said that inequality had decreased significantly from 2009 to 2010, before rising in 2011 “to its highest level ever.”
The volatility reflected the impact of the global financial crisis and the report’s authors were “not sure where it will settle.”
New Zealand ranked “a little above the median similar to Australia, Japan and Canada” on the inequality scale of the OECD ( Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) group of developed countries, but the most recent figures from the OECD were from 2009, said the report.
Opposition political parties and trade unions were quick to criticize the economic policies of the center-right National Party- led coalition, which came to power in 2008 and was re-elected last year.
“Between 2010 and 2011 the average income for workers fell 3 percent in real terms, and the gap between rich and poor has never been wider in New Zealand’s history,” said leader of the main opposition Labor Party David Shearer.
“And what’s even worse, the number of children living in hardship has increased from 15 percent in 2007 to 21 percent last year,” Shearer said in a statement.
Branding the figures a disgrace, he said the report exposed the government economic failure for all to see.
With middle incomes falling and only the wealthiest seeing their incomes rise, the report proved that the average family was financially worse off under the National Party-led government, said Green Party co-leader Russel Norman.
“Middle New Zealand is being ground down by government policy, with their incomes falling by 3 percent, while tax cuts for the well-off have seen those at the top do better,” Norman said in a statement.
The Council of Trade Unions said the government was actively creating a class of working poor.
“This government is presiding over record inequality. Rather than addressing the problem, it’s only making things worse with unfair tax changes and unfair employment law changes,” CTU president Helen Kelly said in a statement.
The report was released the same day Australian Member of Parliament Kelvin Thompson suggested a quota of 30,000 to 40,000 New Zealanders allowed to migrate to Australia each year.
The net loss of New Zealand migrants to Australia in the year ending July was 39,800, equal to the highest ever net loss recorded in both the April 2012 and June 2012 years, Statistics New Zealand announced Wednesday.
The figure resulted from a record 53,900 departures to Australia, offset by 14,000 arrivals from Australia and most migrants in both directions were New Zealand citizens.