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Posted by Philip on 30 June 2016, 9:13 am in , , ,

Denying reality: how politicians change the world

Finance Minister Bill English argued in Parliament yesterday there is no evidence of increasing inequality in NZ. This was in response to the latest figures from Statistics New Zealand, which show the top 10 percent of New Zealanders now own 60 percent of all wealth, up from 55 percent five years ago.

English said, responding to RNZ News about a family working three jobs and 80 hours a week, "It doesn't mean their life is easy but it does mean there's pretty moderate but consistent progress in lifting our lowest incomes.

"We're one of the very few developed countries where a family like that can see the opportunity for better jobs and better opportunities if that's what they want or more support from goverment because we have sustainable government finances.

"If they're a family like that in Australia, that's unlikely."

It's all very well to "moderately but consistently lift low incomes", but if the increases fall below increasing costs of living, it still results in increased inequality.

English's response demonstrates two political strategies abhorrent to me. Firstly, the tactic of comparing NZ to other countries and saying we're better off so we're ok.

The second is denying reality to falsely justify change.

Positive thinking about a desired future state is important in creating change. But when positive thinking about the present state denies reality, it really is no more than a lie.

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