The ODT is the latest newspaper to come out arguing that inequality is a crucial issue for New Zealand. In an editorial, it argues that it has to be tackled not just through financial support for people at the lower end but also
fundamental changes in thinking and policy. Oxfam is calling on governments to take urgent action to reverse the inequality trend through various recommendations, including cracking down on financial secrecy and tax dodging; progressive taxation; demanding a living wage; investing in universal education and healthcare. For those who think it is pie-in-the-sky stuff, it points to countries which have succeeded in reducing inequality while growing prosperous.
There is no doubt there will be a significant cost to fix the problem, but perhaps the most pressing question has to be: what will be the long-term price if we don’t at least try to make a start? An unequal society, an us-and-them dynamic? Social unrest, increased global instability, crime, war, displacement? As global citizens, can any of us really afford to turn a blind eye?