'Occupy' movement reaches New Zealand

Almost 2000 protesters with tents and sleeping bags plan to occupy Auckland's Aotea Square for the next six weeks as part of a worldwide grassroots movement against corporate greed and inequality.

The movement, which started when Occupy Wall St activists pitched tents in front of the New York Stock Exchange last month, goes global today with occupations in more than 900 cities including Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill.

By 4pm yesterday 1859 people had said on the group's Facebook page that they would be attending the Auckland event, Occupy Queen St, which starts at 3pm. The group plans to march up Queen St, rally in a "festive" atmosphere on the Wellesley St corner, then begin an "occupation" of Aotea Square until November 30.

It urges people to bring tents, food, water, sleeping bags, musical instruments and media devices to get protest images out to the world.

The movement, which swelled to 20,000 in New York last week, targets bankers and business leaders who have held on to extreme wealth in the recession with a slogan of "We are the 99 per cent" - the rest of the population.

The Luxembourg Wealth Study shows the United States is by far the most unequal developed country with the top 1 per cent of Americans owning 33 per cent of the nation's wealth.

Australia and New Zealand are not part of the study, but a 2006 Statistics NZ survey found the top 1 per cent of New Zealanders owned 16 per cent of our wealth, higher than every country in the study except the United States and Sweden.

What the 1pc own
percentage of nation's wealth the top 1 per cent own

USA 33pc
Sweden 18pc
NZ* (estimate) 16pc
Canada 15pc
Germany 14pc
Finland 13pc
Italy 11pc
Britain 10pc

Source: Luxembourg Wealth Study
* Statistics NZ survey information

- NZ Herald

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