The Future is Equal

new zealand

Collective Resilience NZ’s Aid Contributions In Times of Inequality & Crises

This report examines New Zealand’s overseas aid contributions against six principles of a quality aid programme that reduces inequality and poverty. The report finds that while New Zealand’s aid contribution has some firm foundations, there is room for substantial improvement. Sixteen recommendations outline steps that will contribute to building a New Zealand Aid Programme that helps achieve collective resilience for all of humanity.

Now is a good time to assess how well the New Zealand government’s overseas development assistance (ODA), or aid, is responding to international development challenges across the world.


Click here to read the full report.

Oxfam To Visit NZ Cities To Talk Action On Climate Breakdown


Climate: Global challenge, local action.

Oxfam New Zealand is starting a tour around the country next week to host discussions about the impact of climate breakdown in regions from Auckland to Dunedin.

The Climate Breakdown: Global Challenge, Local Action series of events will showcase a special pre-release excerpt of the film 2040 and a panel discussion with local leaders, from student activists to council representatives, moderated by Oxfam New Zealand’s executive director Rachael Le Mesurier.

Le Mesurier said she is looking forward to listening to initiatives and ideas about how communities are working together to tackle climate breakdown, how these connect into the actions being taken in the Pacific by like-minded local communities and how they offer opportunities for our individual and collective actions.

“At Oxfam we see daily evidence of communities being dramatically affected by climate destruction, but also fighting hard to adapt to and mitigate its effects.

“It’s inspiring to see the rise in people power – protests, innovative solutions, influencing MPs, communities building climate resilience together – often being led at a grassroots level. We’re interested to hear what people think we might do more of to inspire action on a large scale.

“Climate breakdown is no longer a faraway problem. Communities in New Zealand are also being affected by rising sea levels and extreme weather. Our farming community will likely be dealing with even more intense rains, longer dry periods and higher heat, and a number of other impacts in the coming few years.

“The poorest people, wherever they may be, will continue to be hit hardest. While individual efforts are important, collective action across regions and on the international stage is even more crucial for the world to successfully prevent the worst of climate destruction.

“Oxfam works with vulnerable communities all over the world to help them increase their climate resilience, but especially in Pacific Island nations who are leading the charge against further destruction. What we see is that Kiwis have a lot in common with our Pacific neighbours. We rely on the land, we are connected to the sea, we have the wisdom of indigenous communities guiding efforts that protect our earth for future generations. We can work together to better meet this challenge.”

All are invited to participate in the events, being held in seven cities around New Zealand. Each event will include an exclusive preview of footage from innovative feature documentary 2040, by award-winning director Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film). Panellists from each region will discuss the issues facing their communities due to climate breakdown with a focus on community-led solutions and collective action within the global movement for a more sustainable future.

Find out more about an event near you and RSVP here.

Climate Breakdown: Global Challenge, Local Action dates:

Dunedin – 5 August
Christchurch – 6 August
Nelson – 8 August
Hamilton – 19 August
Tauranga – 20 August
Wellington – 27 August
Auckland – 5 September

Standing Together We Are Strong

The community shows support and solidarity at Masjid e Umar in Auckland. Photo/Oxfam NZ

The New Zealand we believe in is one where the hopes of refugees and migrants arriving in any New Zealand community are realised with welcome and safety.

It’s one where our Muslim whānau who have long been part of Aotearoa New Zealand would remain safe.

Above all, safety at prayer.

Let Friday be one of our darkest days, but one that we vow never to let happen again.

Let’s not give extremists the power to change who we are for the worse – let this be a chance for us to grow stronger, more committed to what is important to us, and to create every single day the communities that we want to live in.

Among our Muslim whānau are families that have come to New Zealand seeking safety, seeking shelter from persecution and conflict.

One family at a time, our volunteers and staff have been learning the stories of escape, and of hope for peace sought by people reaching New Zealand.

The New Zealand chapter of these stories was about neighbours helping neighbours by showing warmth and welcome as, one family at a time, our new whānau were beginning to rebuild their lives. We must continue.

We share faith that in standing together with love and compassion for our neighbours we will defeat hate. We know we must.

We stand for a community and a nation where freedom, justice, hope and love are not negotiable values, but at the heart of who we are.

Together, we make New Zealand what it is: a land of welcome, respect and openness.

This demands each of us make this vision real, and that we challenge injustice wherever we see it.

Kia kaha Christchurch.

A joint letter by the CEOs of New Zealand’s international NGO community:

• Rachael Le Mesurier, CEO Oxfam New Zealand
• Tony Blackett, Executive Director Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand
• Julianne Hickey, CEO Caritas New Zealand
• Paul Brown, CEO ChildFund New Zealand
• Murray Sheard, CEO Christian Blind Mission New Zealand
• Pauline McKay, CEO Christian World Services Josie Pagani, CEO Council for International Development
• Jackie Edmond, CEO Family Planning New Zealand
• Claire Szabo, CEO Habitat for Humanity New Zealand
• Katrina Penney, Chair, Médecins Sans Frontières, New Zealand
• Heidi Coetzee, CEO Save the Children New Zealand
• Ian McInnes, CEO Tearfund Vivien Maidaborn, CEO UNICEF New Zealand
• Grant Bayldon, CEO World Vision New Zealand
• Livia Esterhazy, CEO WWF New Zealand

Oxfam signs open letter to PM: end oil exploration

Oxfam is proud to have signed an important and powerful letter to our Prime Minister, alongside many other Kiwi businesses, actors, musicians, churches, unions and academics, calling for an end to oil and gas exploration – a vital step in addressing climate change.

Read the full letter below.

Open letter to Jacinda Ardern: End oil exploration in New Zealand.

Dear Prime Minister,

Your commitment to make climate change the nuclear-free moment of your generation has the power to inspire a nation, and indeed the world. We are calling on you to turn this passion into action, by taking bold and decisive measures to protect our future and our children’s future.

Together, we pledge support for the New Zealand Government to end oil and gas exploration now, as a vital step in addressing climate change.

We must apply our ambition, ingenuity, and courage to hasten the transition to a stable and resilient society, powered by clean energy.

The climate science is clear. If we are to avoid catastrophic impacts, the world cannot afford to burn even existing reserves of fossil fuels, let alone seek out and burn new reserves.

Climate change is an existential threat, posing grave danger to our health, homes, communities, food security, culture and livelihoods, as well as the wildlife and wild places with which we share this Earth.

Climate change is an injustice that disproportionately affects our neighbours and kin in the Pacific, developing nations, indigenous people, people of colour, women and poorer working people. These are also the people who are least responsible for causing this crisis.

But the steps we take to address this threat also provide us with opportunities to move towards a more just and equal society, to boost innovation and employment, create more resilient communities, improve our health, and live in better balance with nature.

Now is the time to back the booming clean energy industries, and invite the transformational economic opportunities that shifting to a low-carbon society can bring. This must be a just transition – one that fairly distributes the costs and benefits across the economy and provides opportunities for those affected to actively engage in determining the future wellbeing of themselves and their families.

More than ever, the world needs bold leadership. We wholeheartedly support your ambition for New Zealand to be at the forefront of this planetary challenge. Not only can we live without fossil fuels, but we must. If our small nation can again inspire the world, as we did in our stand against nuclear weapons, then we would earn our place on the right side of history. Ending the development of new oil, gas and coal now, is vital to that success.

Yours Sincerely,

Sir Alan Mark, FRSNZ, KNZM, Chair, Wise Response Society NZ
Jeanette Fitzsimons, CNZM, Former Co-Leader, Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand
Dr J. Morgan Williams, Former Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
Rt Hon Sir Edmund Thomas LLB(NZ) LLD(VUW) KNZM QC
Dave Cull, Mayor of Dunedin

Prof Margaret Mutu FRSNZ, Chairperson, Te Rūnanga-ā-Iwi o Ngāti Kahu
Toro Waaka, Ngāti Pāhauwera Development Trust
Rikirangi Gage – Te Whānau a Apanui
Toa Faneva – Te Rūnanga o Whaingaroa

Kerri Nuku, Kaiwhakahaere & Grant Brookes, President, New Zealand Nurses Organisation (Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa)
Glenn Barclay, National Secretary, Public Service Association (Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi)
Gary Cranston, climate justice spokesperson and fast food lead organiser Auckland, Northland, Unite Union
Sandra Grey, President, Tertiary Education Union (Te Hautū Kahurangi o Aotearoa)

Dr Selina Tusitala Marsh, Assoc. Prof, Poet Laureate
Lucy Lawless, ONZM, Actor
Tiki Taane, Musical Activist
Robyn Malcolm, NZ Actress
Peter Lange, MNZM, Potter

Prof Grant Guilford, Vice-Chancellor, Victoria University of Wellington
Prof James Renwick, Victoria University of Wellington climate scientist
Prof Ralph Sims, Massey University and the Global Environment Facility
Dr Jim Salinger, Climate change scientist
Dr Terrence Loomis, Coordinator, Fossil Fuels Aotearoa Research Network (FFARN)
Dr Bob Lloyd, Associate Professor (ret), Climate Consultant Pacific Region
Prof Jonathan Boston, Professor of Public Policy, Victoria University of Wellington

Dr Kate Baddock, Chair, New Zealand Medical Association
Dr Felicity Dumble, President, New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine
Warren Lindberg, MNZM, Chief Executive Officer, Public Health Association of New Zealand
Dr Rhys Jones & Dr Alex Macmillan, Co-convenors, OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council
Dr Rye Senjen, Scientific Advisor Environmental and Human Health Aotearoa

Rt Rev Justin Duckworth, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Wellington
Rev Dr Peter Matheson, Emeritus Professor, Knox Church, Dunedin

Phillip Mills, Managing Director of Les Mills International
Michael Mayell, Founder, Cookie Time
Chris Morrison, Co-Founder, Karma Cola and All Good
Brendan Winitana, Chair, Sustainable Electricity Association of New Zealand
Malcolm Rands, Founder, Ecostore

Livia Esterhazy, Chief Executive Officer, WWF-New Zealand
Kevin Hague, Chief Executive, Forest and Bird
Niamh O’Flynn, Executive Director, 350 Aotearoa
Rachael Le Mesurier, Executive Director, Oxfam New Zealand
Dr Russel Norman, Executive Director, Greenpeace New Zealand
Rosemary Penwarden, Coordinator, Oil Free Otago
Cindy Baxter, Coordinator, Coal Action Network
Emily Bailey, Climate Justice Taranaki
Robyn Harris-Iles, Coordinator, Frack Free Aotearoa New Zealand
Denys Trussell, Friends of the Earth
Guy Salmon, Ecologic
Gary Taylor, Environmental Defence Society

Richest 1% of Kiwis bagged 28% of all wealth created last year

A staggering 28 per cent of all wealth created in New Zealand in 2017 went to the richest 1 per cent of Kiwis.

While the 1.4 million people who make up the poorest 30 per cent of the population got barely 1 per cent, according to new research released by Oxfam today.

The research also reveals that 90 per cent of New Zealand owns less than half the nations wealth.

The research forms part of a global report released to coincide with this week’s annual meeting of political and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. New Zealand Trade Minister David Parker is scheduled to attend the gathering, which focuses on global politics, economics and social issues.

The full report, called Reward Work, Not Wealth and released at 1pm this afternoon [Monday], will reveal how the global economy enables a wealthy elite to continue to accumulate vast wealth while hundreds of millions of people struggle to survive on poverty pay. It will reveal how globally big business and the extremely wealthy are fuelling the inequality crisis by avoiding taxes, driving down wages for their workers and the prices paid to producers, and investing less in their business, say Oxfam.

Last year, Oxfam’s research revealed two New Zealand men owned more wealth than the poorest 30 per cent of the adult population; this startling statistic remains the same. Graeme Hart, New Zealand’s richest man, has increased his fortune by US$3.1 billion in 2017 to US$9.5 billion (up from $US6.4 in 2016).

Rachael Le Mesurier, Executive Director at Oxfam New Zealand says: “Trickle-down economics isn’t working. The extreme gap between the very rich and the very poor in our country is shocking. As new wealth is created it continues to be concentrated in the hands of the already extremely wealthy.

“2017 was a global billionaire bonanza. This is not a sign of success but of economic failure. Experts are clear, high levels of inequality are bad for economic growth – for everyone except the small number of super-rich, who on a global scale are often able to translate their disproportionate control of resources into disproportionate influence over political and economic decision making. This can lead to policies that are geared towards their interests, often at the expense of the majority.

“To end the global inequality crisis, we must build an economy for ordinary working people, not the very few rich and powerful.
“Kiwis love fairness, not inequality. Governments can tackle extreme inequality here and globally by ensuring the wealthy and multi-nationals pay their fair share of tax by cracking down on tax avoidance – then using that money to make our country and the global economy a fairer place.”

“Let’s have a national conversation about tax. Labour’s Tax Working Group and the opportunity it provides New Zealand to examine the structure, fairness and balance of the New Zealand tax system, is a huge opportunity to ensure our economy reflects the fairness that is innately Kiwi. It also offers an opportunity for New Zealand to provide an example to many developing countries in using a fairer tax system to reduce the extreme gap between the very rich and the very poor. Oxfam’s report includes a strong list of recommendations, backed up by experts, for both governments and multi-nationals that can help us achieve this.”

The two richest New Zealanders are Graeme Hart and Richard Chandler. They own wealth of US$9.5billion and US$1.9billion respectively.

Oxfam’s 2018 report is the most recent in a series of reports that has analysed economic inequality and its drivers. Each of these reports was published to coincide with the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Each year the report has included an analysis of wealth inequality which draws on data from the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook and the Forbes list of billionaires. This Credit Suisse Databook is produced annually and is widely recognised as providing the best available data on global wealth.


Richest 10% of Kiwis control more wealth than remaining 90%

The richest ten per cent of New Zealanders are wealthier than the rest of the population combined as the gap between rich and poor continues to widen.

Oxfam New Zealand’s Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier said the numbers are a staggering illustration that the wealth gap in New Zealand is stark and mirrors a global trend that needs to be addressed by governments in New Zealand, and around the world, in order to win the fight against poverty.

“Extreme wealth inequality is deeply worrying. Our nation is becoming more divided, with an elite who are seeing their bank balances go up, whilst hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders struggle to make ends meet,” said Le Mesurier.

Figures for the top one per cent are even more striking. According to the most recent data, taken from the 2013 Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook, 44,000 Kiwis – who could comfortably fit into Eden Park with thousands of empty seats to spare – hold more wealth than three million New Zealanders. Put differently, this lists the share of wealth owned by the top one per cent of Kiwis as 25.1 per cent, meaning they control more than the bottom 70 per cent of the population.

New Zealand’s wealthiest individual, Graeme Hart, is ranked number 200 on the Forbes list of the world’s billionaires, with US$7 billion. That makes his net worth more than the bottom 30 per cent of New Zealanders, or 1.3 million people.

The news comes ahead of the G20 meeting of Deputy Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Melbourne this weekend, which New Zealand will join at the invitation of Australia, the chair for 2014. Last year the G20 countries endorsed a plan to crack down on multinational corporate tax dodging by taking, “the necessary individual and collective action.”

Le Mesurier said, “Our government says it is significant New Zealand has access to these meetings and praised the G20 as a key vehicle for tackling the world’s economic challenges. Have we taken the necessary individual steps to stop corporate tax dodging in our country and are we well-placed to contribute to this urgent collective action in Melbourne? It’s a fair question.”

In January Oxfam released a landmark report showing half of the world’s population – 3.5 billion – own the same wealth as the 85 richest people. By March the number dropped to only 66 people. Oxfam’s report warned that inequality is creating a vicious circle where wealth concentrated in the hands of a few is used to buy political influence and rig the rules in favour of a small elite. This year US President Barack Obama, the World Economic Forum, the OECD, the Pope, and the heads of the IMF, the World Bank and the UN have all called for action to address inequality, recognising it as bad for growth and the driver of serious social ills.

Child poverty is emerging as a major New Zealand election issue. A new book by Jonathan Boston and Simon Chapple, Child Poverty in New Zealand, explores the nature of the problem and the solutions, while all political parties are touting their strategies for reducing it.

“Extreme inequality is a sign of economic failure. New Zealand can and must do better. It’s time for our leaders to move past the rhetoric,” said Le Mesurier.

“By concentrating wealth and power in the hands of the few, inequality robs the poorest people of the support they need to improve their lives, and means that their voices go unheard. If the global community fails to curb widening inequality, we can expect more economic and social problems.”