The Future is Equal

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Popular NZ fashion brands get 5 star rating from Oxfam

Today Oxfam Aotearoa launched the world-famous campaign, What She Makes. The campaign is about asking fashion brands to pay the women overseas who make our clothes a living wage.

Oxfam Aotearoa engaged with four New Zealand founded brands, Glassons, Hallenstein Bros, Kathmandu and Macpac, and two international brands H&M and Lululemon. Today Oxfam released the results of the first step in the process: a credible commitment towards paying workers in their supply chain a living wage.

Glassons, Hallenstein Bros, and Macpac came out on top with a 5 star rating. H&M received 4 stars, Lululemon received 3 stars and New Zealand brand Kathmandu received 2.5 stars.

Oxfam Aotearoa’s What She Makes Lead Tracy Decena said:

“We want to create a race to the top between fashion brands – starting with a real, credible public commitment towards paying the women overseas who make their clothes a living wage. It’s encouraging to see New Zealand founded brands leading the race. Even though some brands did better than others, we want to acknowledge that every brand made some progress. Yet, there is much more to be done, and you can bet we’ll be there supporting and pushing these brands towards the end goal.

“The women making our clothes often work up to 12 hours a day and then extra overtime, but because they make as little as 65 cents an hour, they don’t have enough money for decent housing, food or healthcare – let alone any savings. We are working to change this.

“We encourage our supporters, fashion lovers, and anyone who believes poverty can be a thing of the past to join us by signing the pledge and demanding fashion brands to do better.”


The What She Makes Brand Tracker

For rating and rationale head to

Our ask of New Zealanders

Oxfam Aotearoa will be asking Kiwis to let brands know they want them to do better, and to stand with the women who make their clothes. They can start by joining the campaign and signing the pledge through:

Our ask of the brands

The What She Makes campaign calls on clothing brands that sell clothes here in Aotearoa New Zealand to make sure the garment workers in their supply chains are paid a living wage. Oxfam Aotearoa will work with six brands: Glassons, Hallenstein Brothers, H&M, Kathmandu, Lululemon, and Macpac. We asked them to take the first step of their living wage journeys: commit to paying workers in their supply chain a living wage. We’ll work with the brands to get them to there, and publish their progress (or lack of progress) regularly.

Oxfam reaction: NZ wins Fossil of the Day award at COP27

Fossil of the Day award

Climate Action Network International has awarded the New Zealand government the
Fossil of the Day award at COP27 for opposing an agreement to establish a loss and damage finance facility this year. 

This comes less than a week after the Government repurposed $20 million of its existing climate finance for adaptation and mitigation, for loss and damage. 

Oxfam Aotearoa’s climate justice lead Nick Henry said: 

“This is one award not to be proud of. Our government blocking urgently needed action on loss and damage is frankly not what we expect from a government that says it’s at the leading edge of loss and damage funding.  

“Our government should be standing with Pacific nations at COP27 who are calling for a global fund to address the loss and damage they are experiencing due to climate change. This is a global problem that communities on the frontlines are experiencing right now. A decision is needed now, not in a year.”  

Oxfam in the Pacific’s project coordinator in Vanuatu George Koran says that it is indigenous communities who suffer from rich governments’ inaction: 

“We see the impacts of climate destruction across the Pacific, in Vanuatu and now even in Aotearoa. People in the most vulnerable situations, those who do not have the capacity to adapt, suffer the consequences. The New Zealand Government say they understand the urgent need for loss and damage funds, and yet, we are not seeing any real action. It’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul – we need new and additional funding from our neighbours to fight this crisis.” 

Henry said: “We call on the New Zealand Government to back-up their acknowledgement that loss and damage needs funding by supporting a new loss and damage finance facility. This will help ensure that finance to address loss and damage is accessible and sustained and is delivered in accordance with the principles of climate justice. New Zealand can pledge our $20 million allocation to the new facility.” 




Aotearoa top 10 in global inequality index, but tax system’s inequality impact 136th

Oxfam Aotearoa communications and advocacy director Dr Jo Spratt said about the Commitment to Reducing Inequality index:

“The inequality index shows Aotearoa is doing pretty well overall, but there is still work to be done. The fact that rich and poor countries alike have exacerbated an explosion of economic inequality since the outbreak of the pandemic from 2020 is unacceptable.

“Billionaire wealth and corporate profits have soared to record levels during the Covid-19 pandemic, while over a quarter of a billion more people could crash to extreme levels of poverty this year because of coronavirus, rising global inequality, and the shock of food price rises supercharged by the war in Ukraine.

“Tax is one of the most powerful tools we have to fight inequality. It is disappointing to see New Zealand’s tax system contributing to the gap between the rich and poor. Especially in these extraordinary times, tax is crucial to boosting government resources to support welfare systems and public services.

“An excess profits tax on supermarkets could be used to support the poorest households most hit by the increase in food prices. Excess profits and windfall tax revenues can help tackle the biggest challenges of our times like the explosion in inequality and the climate crisis.”

The 2022 Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index (CRI Index) is the first detailed analysis into the type of inequality busting policies and actions that 161 countries might have pursued during the first two years of the pandemic.

New Zealand ranks eighth overall, and seventh in the world on tax progressivity. The index found that New Zealand’s tax system is effective at collecting revenue; however, this comes at a cost as New Zealand’s tax system makes a direct contribution to an unequal income distribution. On this, New Zealand ranks 136th in the world. Oxfam says the Government has made some progress since 2020 by slightly increasing the top income tax rate, but needs to do more by taxing wealth and exploring better ways to tax corporate profits.

The table below shows New Zealand’s ranking on the key indicators that make up the CRI. 





Education spending 


Social protection spending 


Health spending 


Public service spending average of indicators 


Public service implementation 


Public service impact on inequality (Gini) 


Progressivity of public services 




Tax policy 


Tax productivity 


Tax impact on inequality (Gini) 


Progressivity of tax 




Labour rights 


Women’s labour rights 


Minimum wage 


Labour policy average of indicators 


Coverage of labour rights 


Wage impact on inequality (Gini) 


Progressivity of Labour Legislation 




Commitment to reducing Inequality 



Oxfam reacts to Government’s farmgate emissions pricing system

In reaction to the Government’s farmgate emissions pricing system, Oxfam Aotearoa climate justice lead Nick Henry says: 

“A system for pricing agricultural emissions is starting to shape, but there are some major holes that need filing if Aotearoa is to do its part in keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees. Farming is responsible for almost half of New Zealand’s emissions. The system must be transparent, fair and effectively reduce emissions. 

“The governments proposed cautious approach does little to help people across the Pacific and beyond to keep their homes and their livelihoods. This is not a business deal; this is our future.   

“We already know what it is going to take to tackle agriculture emissions: we need an effective system to price and reduce emissions, with support to turn around the farming sector from being Aotearoa’s biggest polluter, into a solution for tackling climate change and restoring nature. That involves a phase out of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, and investing billions to support agriculture to transition to low emissions and regenerative agriculture.” 

Oxfam responds to New Zealand International Climate Finance Strategy – Tuia te Waka a Kiwa

In response to Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Climate Change Minister James Shaw’s Aotearoa New Zealand International Climate Finance Strategy – Tuia te Waka a Kiwa, Oxfam Aotearoa Communications and Advocacy Director Dr Jo Spratt said:

“This is a substantial piece of work that was well-consulted, carefully considered and provides a solid framework to guide significant investment from the New Zealand Government. We are pleased to see a Pacific-led approach that makes way for our Pacific whānau to build climate resilience on their own terms.

“We are also pleased to see the Government acknowledge that too often communities are not included in how climate finance is allocated, and Minister Mahuta and Minister Shaw’s willingness to make sure communities are able to benefit from it. It is good to see a focus on equity and inclusion for the people who are so often left out and left behind.

“It is excellent to see recognition of both the economic and non-economic costs of climate destruction that communities cannot adapt to and the willingness of Aotearoa to promote countries’ access to finance to address loss and damage. We look forward to engaging with the Government on this in the lead-up to COP27 where loss and damage will be a focus. Other mechanisms, not just mitigation and adaptation, will be necessary to address the unavoidable loss and damage people in the Pacific and beyond face every day.”

2022 Budget Reaction: Big Hearts Connected World

“We are disappointed that, once again, this government has not increased its contribution to global efforts to halt the fall of families across the world into extreme poverty,” says Big Hearts organisations Anglican Missions, Christian Blind Mission, Christian World Service, Oxfam Aotearoa, Tearfund, Trade Aid, the Wellington Anglican Diocese, UnionAid and World Vision. 

“The hardship we experience is connected. Our response must be this connected, too. As a people, we are generous. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the Tongan volcanic eruption and the war in Ukraine, our agencies have experienced the generosity of everyday New Zealanders who want to share what they have with people who are suffering extreme poverty and the loss of their homes. 

“When will our government match our people’s generosity?” says Big Hearts organisations. 

On top of the climate destruction and the coronavirus pandemic, the war in Ukraine has had a ripple effect across the world, where communities across the globe feel the impact of rising food prices. Between April 2020 and December 2021 there was an 80 percent increase in the price of wheat alone, making food out of reach for millions of people. 

Big Hearts organisations continue: “In the words of Gabriela Bucher from Oxfam, ‘starvation is a political failure’. It is the result of governments across the world, like here in New Zealand, refusing to help people get the food they need to survive. 

“People in Syria have never been so hungry – three in five people in Syria do not know where their next meal will come from. Families in countries like Yemen and Ethiopia exist in famine-like conditions – every day wondering if they will have the very basic fundamental of life – food – watching their children waste away in front of them. One person every 48 seconds is likely dying of hunger seconds in drought-ravaged Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia,” say Big Hearts organisations. 

“Now more than ever, we need to pull together as one human family, so that we all make it through the triple crises of a public health pandemic, the global rise in cost of living and climate destruction.  

“As a high-income country, Aotearoa New Zealand is able to both support its own people through this hardship, as well as make a small contribution to help people who face starvation and deprivation across the world in low-income countries.” 



There is a significant increase in the international development cooperation budget, but this is all comprised of last year’s welcome climate finance announcement. It is not overseas aid. There is a stated $75 million contingency for Pacific countries, but it appears that this comes from the existing overseas aid budget. Overall, there is no apparent increase in the overseas development assistance budget. 

Food prices were already high before the Ukraine crisis with an increase in wheat prices of 80 percent between April 2020 and December 2021. The FAO Food Price Index which tracks the international prices of food items, has risen to a new all-time high, exceeding the previous top of 2011. Additional price hikes and food inflation are likely, with inflation extending to fertilisers and energy.  

One person every 48 seconds is likely dying of hunger seconds in drought-ravaged Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, Dangerous delay 2: the cost of inaction | Oxfam International. 

Global crises, worsened by the economic turmoil of COVID-19 and more recently by the Ukraine conflict, have pushed food prices to an all-time high in March 2022 – up by 12.6 percent over February – which is putting food ever more out of reach for millions of people. See here