The 99 per cent have taken up residence in Aotea Square, much to the befuddlement of the locals and international rugby fans enjoying the spring sun this afternoon. The NZ Herald reports that collating statistics from NZ survey data and the Luxembourg Wealth Study shows New Zealand is the 3rd most unequal country in terms of how much of the nation’s wealth is held by the ‘top’ 1% of the population. At 16%, where just behind 2nd place Sweden at 18% but way short of the 33% of the U.S.A.
When I was working in the corporate social responsibility field just a couple of years back, one in seven families in New Zealand were living below the generally acknowledged poverty line. Now, according to Dr. Claire Dale, co-editor of the CPAG‘s September 2011 report, Left Further Behind: how policies fail the poorest children in New Zealand, “at least one in five New Zealand children experiences significant deprivation that compromises their health, their education and their future”.
While I offer no insight or opinion regarding these global protests, their validity or their efficacy, I do wonder about the values we model as citizens – to our kids, our communities and the world at large.
Edit 18-10-11: This morning, the NZ Herald reported that John Key has admitted that the “growing underclass’ he committed to help during the period I mentioned above has, in all likelihood, grown further in the intervening period. Whether the Government has done its best to insulate people from the recession, as he claims, is something I’ll leave you to decide for yourself.