New Zealand becoming more unequal

The 2 richest people in NZ earn the same as the total amount earned by the bottom 30% of New Zealanders. The British charity, Oxfam, listed figures for many countries which attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last week. Overall, the 8 richest people in the world earn the same as the total amount of money earned by the poorest 50% in the world.

It is true that some of these people, like Bill Gates, give generously to charities. However, not all rich people want to help the poor. Some rich people avoid paying tax because they have clever accountants who manage to hide their income in various legal or illegal ways. In New Zealand one third of the very rich paid tax on only $70,000 a year.

In New Zealand, 90% of our population owns less than half of New Zealand’s wealth. The number of rich people has been increasing very fast also. In October 2015, we had 212 people with more than $50m. Nine months later, there were 252 New Zealanders with an income of more than $50m.

So New Zealand is becoming more unequal. The gap between the rich and the poor is becoming larger.

How do the rich get richer? Apart from avoiding tax, most own businesses which push down wages by offering fewer hours of work or by having fewer staff in their business. They pay producers of goods as little as they possibly can. And of course they make clever business decisions.


• charity (n) – an organisation which helps the poor
• wealth (n) – the amount of money a person or a country has

One Comments

  1. dear ms Syme, my name is Deco, I’m 16yo from Brazil. I’ve just found your fabulous website on my windows phone after a long way searching for sth useful. I’ve been almost giving up my study but then found eslnews, it brought me back that pleasure to keep on teaching myself eng, I’m going bananas coz of your work, I gotta tell you that I’m eternally thankfull to you. Anything you need, please, let me know, I’m on orders. I wish you all the peace and love!

Leave a Reply