The spotlight will be turned on the difference between how much the rich and poor get paid in Tauranga at a special public meeting this week featuring speakers including former National Party and Act leader Don Brash.

"We want to start the conversation about what income inequality looks like in Tauranga and what we can do about it," SociaLink general manager Liz Davies said.

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The other speakers are Merivale School principal and Labour Party candidate Jan Tinetti, the co-chair of Western Bay's Primary Health Organisation, Graham Bidois Cameron, and author Max Rashbrooke, who edited Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis.


Thursday's forum has been jointly organised by SociaLink and Closing the Gap, which aim to reduce inequality.

Ms Davies said videos looking at how homelessness and income inequality affected everyone in Tauranga would be screened for the first time.

"Many of us are only one step away from being in financial hardship and homelessness."

The meeting would also allow the audience to ask questions and begin conversations about what could be done at a local level, she said.

Closing the Gap said 1 per cent of New Zealanders owned 22 per cent of the country's net wealth, while the wealthiest 10 per cent owned 59 per cent of net wealth. The poorest half of the country owned less than 5 per cent of net wealth.

Ms Davies said the increasing income inequality gap had far-reaching implications, not just for the poor but for everyone.

"There are higher rates of overall violent crime, obesity, mental illness and decreased life expectancy in countries that have high income inequality," she said.

SociaLink worked to champion and build the capacity of social services.

Closing the Gap forum
Where: Club Mount Maunganui, Kawaka St
When: Thursday July 20, 4pm to 6.30pm
Tickets: Available free on EventBrite