by Victoria University politics lecturer Bryce Edwards 

New Zealand is becoming a less socially cohesive country. And the driver of this division is worsening inequality. That’s the view of most New Zealanders according to a survey conducted for the New Zealand Herald. It shows that inequalities of wealth and housing access are tearing the country apart.

The survey of 1000 people run by research company Dynata in late November showed that 64 per cent of the public thought that New Zealand society is becoming more divided. Only 16 per cent thought NZ has become more united in the last few years.

This survey backs up an earlier one carried out in January by Curia Research in which a large majority of 72 per cent said that we are more divided, with only 10 per cent believing we are less divided.

The cause of disunity: inequality

It is the unequal distribution of wealth that most New Zealanders believe is at the heart of this decline. According to the Herald’s survey, 74 per cent believe that wealth inequality is pushing us apart. In addition, when asked if “Our distribution of wealth is fair and good for the country”, 46 per cent disagreed and only 24 per cent agreed.

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Commentary by Karl du Fresne on the malaise caused by Jacinda government policies (in particular) is here