NZ income gap wider than most in OECD
4:00AM Thursday Oct 23, 2008
By Simon Collins

The gap between rich and poor has narrowed slightly in New Zealand under Helen Clark's Government, but is still wider than in 21 of the world's 30 developed nations.

A report by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has found the income gap widened more in New Zealand than in any other OECD nation except Mexico from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, when social protections were reduced and the economy was opened up to the world.

The gap here has narrowed slightly since then, thanks mainly to our dramatic fall in unemployment. In contrast, inequality has continued to widen in most OECD nations due to technological changes and globalisation.

But the gap has narrowed much more strongly in Mexico, so the increase in inequality over the whole 20-year period up to about 2005 was greater in New Zealand than in any other developed country.

Data used for the report largely pre-dates the Working for Families package, which has lifted incomes for low-income families since 2004.

More here.