• Service times

    Services times are:

    Saturday night 7:30 pm for our Chinese/English service [except for the second Saturday of every month when the service starts at 6:30 pm and is followed by a shared meal]. (Pastor Daniel Choi.)

    Sunday 10 am for our English language service (Pastor Jeff Whittaker).

    Sunday 11:30 am for our Chinese (Mandarin) language service. (Pastor Daniel Choi.)

  • Contact details…

    Physical and postal address:
    4 Inverary Avenue,
    Epsom,
    Auckland 1023,
    NEW ZEALAND.

    Email:
    epsombaptist@clear.net.nz

    Telephone:
    (0064 9) 6306010

    Contacts:
    Rev. Jeff Whittaker
    Pastor Daniel Choi

  • Church Officers…

    Church Treasurer: Ann Guan

    Church Secretary: Margaret Whittaker

    Church Deacons: Anne Bartley, Ian de Stigter, Kristy Choi, Helen Evans, Willa Hui, and Alfred Zhou.

The price of inequality; the dividends of equality…

In a piece written for the New Zealand Herald back in August 2012, Hayden Donnell reported on the widening gap of inequality in New Zealand society. It is, said Donnell, now at the highest ever recorded in New Zealand. His reporting is based on the Household Incomes Report which measures the wellbeing of New Zealanders based on after-tax takings. Is Donnell’s piece simply a state-of-the-nation report on a neutral topic? No. Donnell describes how the richest 10% of Kiwis had the biggest rise in income over the last year, while the median income of all workers fell 3% in real terms over the same period. Fortunately, poverty rates – already high – have remained unchanged.

Does it matter? In their book ‘The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone,’ British authors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett show how almost everything – from life expectancy to mental illness, violence, incarceration rates, to illiteracy, for example – is affected by the level of equality in societies around the world. The challenging finding from their research is that the more equal people are in any given society, then the better are a whole range of aspects of life in that society, and thus the better off everyone is.

This of course raises the question: Can conditions of greater equality actually be fostered in one’s country. The answer is ‘yes.’ Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel-prize winning economist, describes how to do just this in his book ‘The Price of Inequality.’ He shows that economic conditions in a nation are strongly influenced by politics as well as economics. He describes, though, how the richest in America have captured the political process to their advantage. It appears to be the same in New Zealand, with it’s recently implemented tax reductions imitating those introduced by recent American administrations. The rhetoric of the free-marketeers needs to be challenged. Trickle-down economics does not work. Around the world at the moment there is a giant flow-up of money into the hands of the world’s richest people. It is society’s poorest who are being battered by the current economic crisis; those whose greed created it are largely profiting still.

It’s time for the equality agenda to be picked up by politicians everywhere, in conjunction with economists who are skilled enough to know what to do to right the current wrong. Legislation like the Glass-Steagall Act – legislation which underpinned stable American economics for 50 years before being dismantled by Ronald Reagan, to the world’s eventual financial woes – should be enacted again in full strength. Are there politicians around the world who are courageous enough to do this? Everyone would benefit.

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