It was somewhat ironic that it was former Prime Minister Helen Clark who, in her role as United Nations Development Programme Administrator, recently launched its annual development report.

Among other things, the report ranked some 184 countries in terms of wealth disparity.

Thanks to the neoliberal economic policies that have dominated New Zealand for nearly 25 years - and the policies that Clark's Labour Government myopically pursued - New Zealand now has the distinction of being the sixth most unequal society in the world.

In the economic justice stakes, New Zealand is right there at the bottom of the class.

These neoliberal policies rather than ushering in the promised land -as the neoliberal zealots monotonously claimed - have produced a widening gap between rich and poor.

The UN report confirms OECD figures that show that New Zealand has had the biggest rise in inequality among member nations in the two decades starting in the mid-1980s - when the fourth Labour Government unleashed its neoliberal blitzkrieg.

Despite the fact that neoliberalism has created a more unequal and unjust society , none of the parliamentary parties are offering any alternative to this failed economic dogma. This includes the Green Party. Green MP Kennedy Graham asked in Parliament today if the government had read the UN report - it hadn't. Is the Green Party offering a clear economic alternative to neliberalism? It isn't. The phrase about 'throwing stones in glasshouses' springs to mind.

It's worth considering reading this report in the light of the Ministry of Social Development's 2009 Social Report.

This report shows that economic inequality increased during Labour's last year in office - which is basically the time frame of this report.

The report also reveals that the proportion of the population on low incomes increased from 13% in 2007 to 14% in 2008 – again during Labour’s last year in office.

For a more extensive discussion of the report check out Bryce Edwards's post on his Liberation blog.


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