Wealth inequality at record levels

The housing crisis is making inequality worse, with housing costs in New Zealand now way out of proportion for those on the lowest incomes, according to the 2016 Household Incomes Report, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.

“Most New Zealanders aren’t getting their fair share – the benefits of growth are clearly going to the top. This report shows that the incomes of the top 10 per cent are now almost ten times the amount of the bottom 10 per cent. This is a record and not one to be proud of.

“This report is clear evidence that the housing crisis is having a huge impact on the material wealth of the lowest paid New Zealanders.

“Kiwis are spending far too much money on housing costs as a proportion of their income.

“For the bottom 10 percent the share of housing costs to incomes has risen from 29 per cent to 54 per cent since the study began. A record 28 per cent of families are spending more than 30c of every dollar they earn on housing costs.

"As the report says ‘there is evidence of higher AHC (after housing cost) income inequality in the last few years as compared with the mid 2000s and earlier’.

“National has to take the blame for this. The rise in wealth inequality is what happens when you run a low wage economy and let a housing crisis get out of control.

“The only way this damaging situation can be turned around is to establish a clear plan to increase wages and fix the housing crisis. The only way that will happen is by changing the government,” says Grant Robertson.