As the rich get richer, PM says wealthy are helping the less well off




New Zealanders at the bottom get plenty of help from those at the top, says Prime Minister John Key as the latest statistics on wealth show the rich are getting richer.

The new figures show the top 10 per cent of Kiwi households now hold nearly 60 per cent of the country's wealth, up five per cent on six years ago.

Meanwhile the 40 per cent of households at the bottom hold just three per cent of the wealth.

Meanwhile, the 40 per cent of households at the bottom hold just three per cent.
Source: 1 NEWS

Bernie Smith of the Monte Cecilia Housing Trust, which is on the frontline of New Zealand's homeless crisis, says he doesn't have a concern with the wealthy getting wealthier, but would like to see them sharing their wealth.

And Labour says if inequality continues to be ignored, New Zealand risks a voter backlash like the US and the UK.

"Incomes are not keeping up with the cost of living and the cost of housing. When you've got people missing out on education and health, that's what happens when a government doesn't pay enough attention," Labour's finance spokesperson Grant Robertson said.

Mr Key rejects that, insists inequality hasn't moved much for decades, and says those at the bottom are helped by top earners.

He pointed out people who earn under $60,000 and have a couple of children, in all probability pay no tax and get significant Working for Families payments. 

Most wealth in New Zealand is tied up in housing and Mr Key says that's not surprising because better off New Zealanders own assets, particularly housing, and house prices have been rising. 

The Geens say that just shows it's time to remove property investors' tax advantages, something the party says the Government has consistently failed to do anything about.

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