Ignore wooing, speak up now
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.