The 1% grabbed 82% of all wealth created in 2017

Jeannie Matthews
January 22, 2018

Besides, 67 crore Indians comprising the population's poorest half saw their wealth rise by just 1 per cent, as per the survey released by the global rights group Oxfam hours before the start of the annual congregation of the rich and powerful from across the world in this resort town.

Eighty two per cent of the wealth generated past year went to the richest one per cent of the global population, while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half got nothing, according to a new Oxfam report released today.

It was published ahead of the annual World Economic Forum of global political and business leaders in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

Those 1.4 million took just one per cent of the wealth created and about 90 per cent of Kiwis own less than half of New Zealand's wealth.

The figures come from Oxfam's Reward Work, Not Wealth report and indicate the growing divide between the rich and poor in Australasia.

Oxfam said that Australian billionaires increased their wealth by 38 billion Australian dollars (30 billion US dollars) in the financial year ending in June 2017.

"Yet over the same time, the average wages of ordinary Australians have increased by just 36% and average household wealth grew by 12%". In the USA, it takes slightly over one working day for a CEO to earn what an ordinary worker makes in a year.

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"Oxfam is committed to tackling poverty and inequality - but a broken economic system that is concentrating more wealth in the hands of the rich and powerful, while ordinary people struggle to scrape by, is fuelling an inequality crisis", Helen Szoke, chief executive officer (CEO) of Oxfam Australia, said in a media release on Monday.

Oxfam India has urged the Indian government to ensure that the country's economy works for everyone and not just the fortunate few.

According to the report, this include the erosion of workers' rights, the excessive influence of big business over government policy-making and the relentless corporate drive to minimise costs in order to maximise returns to shareholders. The Indian billionaires' wealth increased to over Rs 20.7 lakh crore - increasing during past year by Rs 4.89 lakh crore, an amount sufficient to finance 85 per cent of the all states' budget on health and education.

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). They control 51 per cent of the total wealth of billionaires in the country. "The way this wealth is being distributed we are really anxious, it's being concentrated in fewer hands".

In New Zealand, Oxfam's NZ executive director Rachael Le Mesurier said poorer people tend to vote less than others, and that continued income inequality is bad for democracy.

Mr Robertson previous year said "the Tax Working Group has been established to look at the structure, fairness and balance of New Zealand's tax system".

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