We are constantly told the rich are getting richer at the expense of the poor and the only way to help the poor up is to tax the rich more.
A report from Treasury contradicts this picture.
The report divided income earners in New Zealand into ventiles (bands of 5 per cent) and followed the taxable income of each person within the band over the period 2002 to 2006.
The bottom 20 per cent (four ventiles) of income earners increased income by an average of around 75 per cent in that short period, with the percentage increase being highest at the very bottom.
The income of the top 50 per cent by contrast was almost static, and a number of the top ventiles had income decreases.
Despite common perceptions, people do not stay welded to the bottom rungs over a lifetime but generally move up the ladder with age, hard work and experience.
In the United States peak incomes are achieved in the 45-54 age bracket.
A study in the US, using 20 per cent brackets, showed that in a nine-year period over half the people moved to a different quintile. Another US study showed that 40 per cent of those in the bottom 20 per cent were at some stage in their career in the top 20 per cent.
Studies like this tell me, in my simplicity, that the way to get out of poverty is to get into work and stay there, and move up the career ladder.
So we need a system that encourages people into work and helps them to stay there.
PM's wee note
Regarding the letter 'Poor standards' (Chronicle, April 15); Does the writer really think the Queen will read Jacinda Ardern's wee note? I consider our Prime Minister has more important things to worry about than getting her writing perfect.
A lot of children today cannot even write or read, so give the good lady a break.
I frequently see apologies in the Chronicle for various reasons and wish to register my own.
A couple of days ago in my letter concerning the Collegiate Anzac remembrance I mentioned previous ceremonies I attended in Singapore. In a "senior moment" I spelt Kranji as "Krangi".
To those few alive today who survived the POW camps at Kranji, all others who have relatives buried there and those who have stood at dawn on Anzac Day on that site, I apologise for my error.