Ig­nore woo­ing, speak up now

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION/NEWS -

By the end of this month, Par­lia­ment will have risen and it will be all sys­tems go for politi­cians try­ing to woo our votes.

A phe­nom­e­non that in­ter­ests me is the em­pha­sis politi­cians of all stripes place on ‘‘eco­nomic growth’’. What ex­actly does this mean?

Is it sim­ply per­suad­ing us all to spend as much as we can so the tills keep on ring­ing and the taxes pour into the govern­ment cof­fers?

Or is it so that the top 10 per cent of our pop­u­la­tion, in terms of in­come, can in­vest ever more heav­ily in shares and property and en­rich them­selves?

Did you re­alise that the rich­est 1 per cent of New Zealan­ders al­ready own 16 per cent of all as­sets in the coun­try, and people in the bot­tom 50 per cent of the in­come spec­trum own only 5 per cent?

The in­come gap is get­ting wider and all gov­ern­ments must be held to ac­count.

We should look back 30 years and note that be­tween the 1940s and 1980s there was greater in­come equal­ity. It was the only time in re­cent his­tory when salaries ac­tu­ally grew faster than in­vest­ments.

Be­tween the mid-1980s and the mid-2000s, the gap be­tween the rich and the rest of us has widened as fast in New Zealand as in any de­vel­oped coun­try.

The trou­ble is that gov­ern­ments have put ‘‘ eco­nomic pol­icy’’ in a sep­a­rate bas­ket from ‘‘so­cial pol­icy’’.

With the con­cen­tra­tion on cor­po­rate wealth and ac­qui­si­tion, our obli- gation to care for fel­low cit­i­zens has flown out the win­dow.

What will hap­pen if noth­ing is done about the in­come dis­par­ity? As the say­ing goes: Those who ig­nore his­tory are in dan­ger of re­peat­ing it.

What can we people strug­gling to make ends meet do about it?

We can has­sle our politi­cians, es­pe­cially in elec­tion year, to do some­thing to rem­edy the sit­u­a­tion.

They could change the taxation sys­tem. They could in­sist that all work­ers re­ceive a liv­ing wage. They could close loop­holes whereby the wealthy and large cor­po­ra­tions avoid tax obli­ga­tions.

Don’t let them think all is sweet be­cause we say noth­ing.

Last month, Kate Twyford in­formed us about the work of the Red Cross Refugee Ser­vices, and we were in­spired by the story of refugee Den­nis Maanga.

This month, we are to be joined by Kris Faafoi – a first chance to has­sle a lo­cal politi­cian as ad­vised above!

Grey Power meet­ing, The Porirua Club, Lodge Place, Tues­day July 8, 1.30pm. Ph Glo­ria Hazlewood, 2330162.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.