OPINION

The opening lines of the report give it away: "New Zealand's wealth is not being distributed evenly."

And from there come the numbers about who's missing out, how bad it is, and what we need to do to address it.

First, the opening line, the premise of how the discussion is supposed to go forward.

Advertisement

"New Zealand's wealth is not being distributed evenly."

Why would it be?

Who would expect it to be?

Short of the most extraordinary coincidence, wealth in a nation of nearly five million, a democracy where variables like skill, luck, and experience all play a part, will always end up in a variety hands and places, and not in a neat, even distribution.

Hence the opening line, and expectation, is farcical.

Communism might mean wealth is more evenly distributed, but we are not communists, nor do we want to be. And even in communist counties, so called "even distribution" is almost always a ruse under which those who run the rules rort the system.

And so to the numbers (all this, by the way, comes from Kiwi Wealth's first State of the Investor Nation Report).

Twenty five per cent of us feel less well off than a year ago.

Advertisement

Two things. One, that's a mixture of perception, which is kind of pointless in a survey, given it means nothing. And two, it's also a simple statement of fact for some given we have a fuel tax, increased petrol prices, and a cost of living that might well be going up for various individuals beyond their ability to match that rise with increased wages.

Twenty five per cent feel better off. That may or may not be a reality. Once again, that's perception.

Only 22 per cent feel they have enough to do the things they want. With wealth comes expectation. The more you have, the more you want. Hence, in general terms, we always seem to aspire to something bigger, better, or greater.

And therefore, we will always feel like what used to be a luxury is normal. Therefore, the fact we can't have it leads to disappointment. Most of western culture is based on that premise.

Thirteen per cent think they will struggle in retirement. This is actually a good number, because it presumably means 87 per cent won't, which is the vast majority.

So what have learned?

Next to nothing, other than if we persist with the concept that the gap between the so-called "haves and have nots" is addressed by anything other than hard work, dedication, determination and desire, then we as a country are heading towards a Venezuelan-type future.

The beauty of the so-called "rock star economy" is opportunity. The stronger we are, the more openings and opportunities present themselves. Unfairness is when those opportunities and openings never happen.

While there will always be those who struggle, to sit here after a decade of economic success, and start arguing about unfairness of distribution, is to have completely misunderstood what this country is all about.

And that is the freedom to do well, if you choose.