One of the more irritating things about New Zealand politics is that the establishment can get away with making fictitious statements that are simply accepted by a docile corporate media.

So this week I have heard the Minster of Finance, Michael Cullen 'informing' us that, thanks to Labour's economic policies, we are living in a more egalitarian and just society.

Did anyone in the media bother to examine Cullen's claim? No - and it quickly becomes another one of the political myths, just like the supposedly 'low' unemployment figures.

And it doesn't take too much research work to dig up the real figures. I found them by a quick trawl through cyberspace.

According to a Statistics New Zealand survey , the distribution of wealth become more unequal in 2003-4 than the previous survey in 2001, where the richest ten percent owned 48 percent of the country's total wealth. In 2003-04 they owned 52 percent of the total wealth.

And the same survey showed that the richest half of the country owned 93 of the total wealth in 2001. Three years later they owned 95 percent of the total wealth.

This hardly sounds like a more just and egalitarian society to me...


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