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2014 Rich List paints picture of inequality denial

Date of Release: 
Friday, August 1, 2014

The National Business Review’s 2014 Rich List is a stark reminder of the growing inequality in New Zealand, according to FIRST Union.

This year is the first time the combined wealth of New Zealand’s Rich-Listers has passed $50 billion, more than doubling the combined wealth of Rich-Listers just a decade ago.

“What we’re seeing here is a society in a state of inequality denial, propagated by a government of inequality deniers”, said FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid.

“For the bottom half of New Zealanders inflation-adjusted income has barely grown since the mid-1980s. Workers are normally told that wages will rise with productivity gains, but the productivity of the New Zealand workforce is 50% higher now than it was 20 years ago. Workers have been sold a lie.

“This inequality is the result of deliberate policy to keep wages low. John Key, The country’s wealthiest Prime Minister in history and a prominent inequality denier, has seen his personal fortune rise by $5 million over the last year. There’s still no evidence of his productivity rising to meet the inequality challenge.

“New Zealanders have the ability to repaint the picture in this election. Inequality is emerging as the major battleground, and recent policies proposed by the left parties are delineating a clear alternative.”

Starting next week FIRST Union will begin its 2014 Stopwork Meetings around the country, where the union’s work tackling inequality will be highlighted and political leaders will address workers around the country.

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