Winston Peters: Inequality the PM's responsibility


It's confirmed. There is a chokehold on New Zealand's growth.

It's the gap between the rich and poor. It's called inequality.

Prime Minister John Key is not taking any responsibility for it. It wasn't created by his government, he says.

Well, here's the news for him.

Government after government since the 1980s has created it and his is just as responsible for the widening gap as any of them.

These are governments who believe private corporations are better than public ones. So they sell off state assets and thousands of workers go on the scrap heap. But private corporations fail to create new and decently paid jobs.

It's governments who think state housing should be sold. It's governments who think state house tenants should pay market rents.

It's governments who allow overseas investors to speculate on our property market, then they get to charge high rents, absorbing most of the income of lower paid workers. The rich get richer. Life gets tougher for the struggling worker. Result: inequality.

Under John Key more and more jobs have become part time, or casual. Mr Key now wants employers to have workers on contracts with no set hours. They will be at their beck and call. Some weeks they will have no work. Families can't live on zero hours. Result: inequality.

Under John Key we've have had a flood of migrant workers, workings visas, and foreign students working, who are all prepared to accept any wages and conditions just so they can live in a First World country. More competition for jobs, wages held down. The result: inequality.

Inequality has been labelled by the esteemed body, the OECD, as the culprit in holding back economic growth.

The OECD, representing 34 developed countries, with a belief in the market economy, as National does, says the widening gap between the haves and the have nots caused a massive loss of economic growth in New Zealand, the highest in the developed world.

The OECD says the solution is for governments to concentrate on the 40% of the population that is not getting their fair share from the economy, not just those in poverty.

This is a case of stop and listen. But the PM has cotton wool in his ears. He does not want to know. He does not want to take any responsibility.

The mantra is that he’s making the economy stronger and that will close the gap between rich and poor. It hasn't worked so far. The economy is faltering at this very moment.

The OECD has handed him the solution. It says we need more redistribution of wealth.

It was John Key's government that cut the higher rate of tax.

And he says he is not responsible for any of this inequality.

He's been proved wrong again.

Like the moss eradication advert he "just sprays and walks away."

Winston Peters is the leader of New Zealand First

source: data archive