About us: Closing the Gap – The Income Equality Project

What is  Income Equality Aotearoa New Zealand Inc ?

It began when Nick Jennings of Wellington and Peter Malcolm of Tauranga discovered that they were working independently on the same project. Both had read British epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s book, The Spirit Level. Nick and Peter after looking at further research, were convinced that Wilkinson and Pickett had the answer to restoring New Zealand to the country we were once proud to be a part of.  With the encouragement and support of others they set about joining forces and deciding what to do. The first was the formidable task of setting up this website and Income Equality Aotearoa NewZealand.

New Zealand has a proud history of social innovation, from votes for women through to the Plunket Society, but, over the last 30-40 years, our country has lost its way.

Instead of social innovation, we now have some of the most shameful social statistics in the developed world. Our rates of obesity, imprisonment, infant mortality, drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness and teenage suicide are inexcusably high, and rising. The costs of changing social policies and programmes that accord with the ideologies of successive governments are proving of questionable value in both human and monetary terms.

Evidence is growing that, unless the problem is tackled at its source, our country will not heal

Haere ana Manawa-reka, noho ana Manawa-kawa–sweet heart goes away, bitter heart remains.

The source is income inequality

In one crucial action we can improve the lives of all Kiwis by reducing the gap between the income of the top 20% of the population, and the earnings of the bottom 20%.

The effects of this action are made abundantly clear in The Spirit Level, and we have been excited, provoked and galvanized by its findings. Wilkinson and Picket’s research shows that many of our social ills are a product of the gap between rich and poor: the larger the gap, the more pronounced the social ills.  According to The Social Report 2010 by the Ministry of Social Development, the income disparity inNew Zealand has been increasing steadily since 1988. We now have one of the widest gaps of all developed countries.

If you would like to help us reduce the gap:

(a) read the summary of The Spirit Level on the ‘More Info’ link above or, better still, read The Spirit Level.

(b) go to the UK’s Equality Trust (www.equalitytrust.org.uk), an organisation dedicated to promoting The Spirit Level inBritain.

(c) join us on running this website.

Our goal is to reduce the inequalities inNew Zealand incomes thus ensuring better lives for all. In turn, this will reduce the public funding currently needed in areas such as Health, Education, Social Development and Justice.

Our Intention, after consultation with our supporters, is to:

– act democratically by seeking the involvement of all supporters

– be apolitical to seek the greatest chance of success

– be secular to appeal to the entire community

– work collaboratively with like-minded groups

The Income Equality Project will be actioned by:

– gathering and sharing  research and evidence on the benefits of reducing inequality with the aim of encouraging informed and sustained public debate on critical issues such as social equity.

– promotion through a variety of approaches: this website, e mails to friends, social media such as facebook and twitter, web blogs, presentations to local groups, media opinion pieces, letters to the editor, and letter box flyers .

– encouraging and empowering individual actions to reduce inequality of income.

– signing up a large number of voting New Zealanders (say half a million) who would commit to vote in any general election only for parties who have adopted as a major policy the aim of significantly reducing the income gap for New Zealanders and who will subject all legislation to that aim.

He ‘kokonga whare e kitea, he kokonga ngakau e kore e kitea–the corners of the house can be seen, but not the corners of the heart

You can become a supporter of the Society by signing up on the SIGN ON page. You will appear on this website on the “public list” of supporters (name and town only).  You can opt instead to be part of the list of “private supporters”

You can be removed from these lists at any time by, e mail, or phone call to the secretary. Peter Malcolm at  e mail [email protected]    or  phone 07 5524809

Please go to the SIGN ON page and become a supporter

Rules of the Society and Document for Incorporation-click below for these

Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc

Current List of “Helpers”

National Executive Board:

Graham Robertson, Christchurch: President

Nick Jennings, Palmerston North: Vice President

Peter Malcolm, Tauranga: Secretary

Ron Cormack, Lower Hutt: Treasurer

Tracey Sharp, Auckland

Neville Robertson, Hamilton

Merrill Simmons-Hansen, Tauranga

Nick Wright, Wairarapa

Gillian Cook, Asst. Secretary

Setting up Incorporated Society and legal advice:

John Patterson Tauranga


Tracey Sharp, Auckland: Further development and content


Nick Wright, Wellington


Catherine Marks, Wellington

Te Reo:

Merrill Simmons-Hansen, Tauranga


                More equal societies work better for everyone     

                                                        Income Equality Aotearoa New Zealand Inc