My values are Labour values.

I want to help build a stronger, more caring society. I am passionate about Dunedin, and I bring considerable energy and wide experience to the task of representing this electorate.

My diverse work background has given me an understanding of the economic and social levers that can be pulled to achieve meaningful change.

Please read some of the discussions included here. I welcome your comments.

- David Clark

Is the Gini out of the bottle?

MP Pete Hodgson announced last month that he is stepping down in time for the next election. Pete will leave some big shoes to fill.  I want to stand in Dunedin North for Labour because I want to build on the results Labour has achieved for people here and throughout New Zealand.

One of the things I am passionate about is addressing the growing inequalities in our country.  Economists measure inequality in income using the Gini coefficient.  It gives a pretty good feel for what is going on in a society over time.  New Zealand’s Gini coefficient has grown significantly over my lifetime (meaning we now live in a less equal society than when I was a child).  

The last Labour Government halted the growth in the gap between rich and poor. At the same time Real GDP grew by around 25%.  This means that at the end of the term of the last Labour Government, on average people across the spectrum in our society were significantly better off financially than they were at the beginning.  Compare this with recent National Governments.  When National is in power it is a wealthy few who benefit unequally from any gains to the economy.  Most families receive little or no benefit.

I find the growing gap between rich and poor abhorrent.  It doesn’t motivate anyone, and it makes most people feel frustrated.  Worse, it leaves the most vulnerable people including their especially vulnerable children – in poverty.  It needs to stop.

2 COMMENTS

2 comments on ‘Is the Gini out of the bottle?’

  1. 22 August, 2010
    Johanna Stewart

    I am very pleased to see that this difficult and complex issue is a priority for you. I believe we should do all we can to pursue the ideal of equal opportunities and the eradication of poverty, in particular child poverty and deprivation among the elderly.

    However, the UK labour government has shown that simple policies of redistributing money by taking it from the rich and giving it to the poor has been ineffectual in changing the prospects of the poorest in society. These policies have resulted in a massive debt burden to the country which will be felt hard by the lower middle classes, and whilst the poorest may not suffer further, the net has been widened to pull more people into debt and distress.

    Can you provide reassurance that your policies are more broad-based and will learn from, rather than follow the failures of Labour policy in the UK?

  2. 29 August, 2010

    Hi Johanna.
    First thing to note is that I’m not (yet!) responsible for Labour policy in the way that elected MPs are.
    However, I am committed to better addressing poverty and will post further on this in subsequent blogs.

    As a rank and file party member, I have been actively using my entitlement to engage in policy development, holding the pen on a paper that went to Labour’s policy council last year on another topic.

    As an aside, I note that UK Labour leadership aspirants are looking hard at the history you refer to above – in the hope of learning from their mistakes. See for example: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/aug/29/ed-miliband-labour-leadership-change

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