On the Right – Brash back

Don Brash is back: in an unusually intemperate Editorial in the Sunday Star times he is described as “half Mr Magoo, half political assassin”. “There is something blood-chilling about this affable old chap. Always bright, always calm, even when he has just stabbed his ‘old friend’ in the back”.

The editorial goes on to describe the Act Party as a “clique of fanatics and plutocrats who want the rich man back in his castle and the poor man at his gate”. “Brash wants to smash the welfare state, give tax breaks to the rich, get rid of minium wages and let the market take the hindmost”.

In his Encyclical Caritas in Vertiate Pope Benedict says that justice requires economic choices which do not cause disparities in wealth to increase in an excessive and morally unacceptable manner and that we must prioritize the goal of access to steady employment for everyone. He says the systemic increase of social inequality, both within a single country and between countries  not only harms social cohesion but also places democracy at risk.

Inequality is measured using the Gini coefficient, which is imperfect, but a good indicator of inequality within countries. The larger the Gini coefficient, the more unequal a country is. In New Zealand the Gini Coefficient increased most rapidly in late 80s and early 90s. It declined between 2001 and 2007.

While it is not true that New Zealand has one of greatest income inequalities in the world, it is true is that since the 1980s, countries like New Zealand, Israel and the United States have seen their populations become less equal, based upon rapid income growth for those countries’ richest inhabitants. Others like Turkey and Chile have become more equal as a result rapid development.

Sunday Star Times: Editorial not available online

Image: Otago Daily Times




Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

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