NZ Herald Newspaper letter of the week
Equality gap points to the nation’s dark side
Since the recent OECD report on inequality, we have read much about how the gap between the top and bottom 10 or 20 percent of New Zealanders has widened.
One could say, “So what?” Isn’t that the result of opportunity being grabbed by some and not by others? Maybe, but the point that has not often been made is that it is the consequences of this inequality, rather than the actual inequality itself, that we should worry about. As columnist Garth George noted, inequality and the consequences are “the most serious and vexing problem facingNew Zealand—and the Western World—now and in the immediate future”.
Why is that the case? As George also noted ”many social problems are more common in societies with larger income differences”, andNew Zealandis high up the inequality stakes.
We have poorer health, higher teenage birth rates, more people in prison, more mental illness—the list goes on and on—than more equal rich countries> We owe it to our children to address this issue.
Mike Sheffield Mission Bay