One of the country's leading writers on inequality in New Zealand has argued in his new book that despite the idea of a class system slipping from the public consciousness, wealth divides are continuing to have a major impact on New Zealand society.
Max Rashbrooke, author of Too Much Money, joined NZ Herald senior political reporter Thomas Coughlan on the Herald's politics podcast, On the Tiles, to discuss the impact class divides have across New Zealand - and what politicians could do to change this.
He told Coughlan there are increasing number of "advantages and opportunities" that accumulate around wealth.
"So increasingly, if you have wealth, you get access to better housing and housing in desirable locations, such as grammar zones, and that sets your kids up for a certain kind of education and networking and contacts, and those schools are the ones that university elite courses recruit from disproportionately, and that sets people on the path to higher income and higher wealth themselves.
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"And when you think about all those things accumulating around wealth and then being passed down to people's children, so you have this hierarchy where people have much better opportunities than others and it's hard for people to move up the ladder, that is the definition of a class system," Rashbrooke said.
As part of a wide-ranging discussion, Rashbrooke and Coughlan discuss the impacts of a class and wealth divide, how the divide contributes to failings in social cohesion - particularly in the education system - and what the political solutions are to rectify the growing divide.
Rashbrooke said while a wealth tax, which was pushed by the Green Party during the 2020 election, would help address these concerns, it is not a necessary tax.
"The OECD did a big review of these things a few years ago and said the ideal way to tax wealth and the income derided from wealth is to have a comprehensive capital gains tax and an inheritance tax, as then you are capturing all economic income.
"Both those things, it wouldn't kill Inland Revenue to implement those things."