In supposedly egalitarian New Zealand, the wealthiest 10% own 60% of all the country’s assets. Their lives are also increasingly separated from those of other New Zealanders, characterised by residence in desirable ‘grammar zones’, a growing ‘ambition flight’ from decile one schools, access to homeownership through parental support, donations to political parties, and other forms of influence. Do these trends herald the regrowth of class divisions in New Zealand and an increasingly segregated society? In this, the 2020 J.D. Stout Annual Lecture, writer and commentator Max Rashbrooke will use previously unreleased data and interviews with both wealthy and poor New Zealanders to illuminate the contours of a changing country.
Max Rashbrooke is a Wellington-based writer with twin interests in economic inequality and democratic participation, and is currently the 2020 John David Stout Research Fellow at Victoria University of Wellington. He is the author of Government for the Public Good: The Surprising Science of Large-Scale Collective Action, published by Bridget Williams Books (BWB) in September 2018. He is also the author of Wealth and New Zealand, and edited the best-selling work Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis. He is a senior associate of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, his work appears in outlets such as the Guardian and Prospect magazine, and he is a regular commentator in the New Zealand media.