The latest MSD Household Incomes in New Zealand: Trends in Indicators of Inequality and Hardship report is out, and its bad news. The highlights:
- Average household incomes have risen, but the median has fallen. Which means the rich are getting richer again, while everyone else is going backwards.
- This is shown on decile average incomes, which show that the top 20% of New Zealanders have got richer in the last year, the next 10% have stayed pretty much where they were, and everyone else has gone sharply backwards. Guess which group National's policy favours?
- Inequality has skyrocketed to record levels, with the biggest rise since Roger Douglas. This is unsurprising, as National's hefty tax cuts for the rich kicked in last year.
- The poorest new Zealanders are on benefits, and have had their incomes protected during the financial crisis. Its the working poor who have seen income drops and whose living standards have declined under National.
- On an income measure, poverty rates have stayed roughly the same thanks to the benefit system. On an NMI measure (basically asking people whether they can afford things beyond the bare necessities e.g. a phone, internet, birthday presents, new clothes etc), poverty rates have risen among young people and over-65s.