Kiwis are increasingly concerned about inequality – paradoxically, inequality has barely changed in 20 years. This short paper is based on new data and shows that despite popular opinion, income inequality in New Zealand hasn’t changed in the past 20 years, and it’s been at the current level before. The paper considers:
Media coverage on inequality in contrast to a downward trend in inequality
How New Zealand sits in the middle on inequality amongst OECD countries
What Kiwis care about and what inequality measures capture aren’t the same thing
Change in home ownership from 2001 to 2013
Suggests you’ll miss the story behind the numbers if you only look at a single measure like income inequality. Understanding how New Zealand is changing and what that might mean for future generations requires a robust long-term evidence base.