Pensioners profit while the young fall behind
Pensions have risen by $67 a week in the last five years - while the incomes of parents of children born into low income and beneficiary households have fallen further and further behind.
The gap is poised to grow even larger as the country enters a long period of low inflation because while pensions are pegged to increases in the average wage, benefits are linked to living
The latest round of
SPECIAL PROJECT - DATA ANALYSIS: New Zealand's inequality story
Prime Minster John Key admitted on Sunday that children were increasingly worse off in relation to retired New Zealanders - and confirmed measures in the budget to arrest the decline.
"Child poverty and material deprivation
"So for New Zealand superannuation, it's 66
"But people on a benefit or that are in low- or very low-income households, over the last 30 or 40 years all they've had is the CPI increase. So that has been a factor."
Analysis of household data by Stuff.co.nz shows government payments to over-65s have eclipsed payments to any other age group, sparking harsh criticism the Government prioritised elderly over the young, who make up nearly half of New Zealand's lowest earners.
The average weekly income from government transfers for people over 65 has gone up by 26.5
A government transfer covers all government payments from welfare to superannuation and Working for Families.
In the same period, there has been no net gain for 15- to 19-year-olds, and several other age brackets have seen their income from Government payments decline.
Since 2007, pensioners have gained an increase to their super; rising from $252 to $319 a week in 2014.
That was compared to the two age groups encompassing 20- to 24-year olds and 25- to 29-year olds - their weekly average for Government payments rose from $56 per
Both those groups made up 45
Those aged 35 to 44 suffered a net loss to their income. All of those age groups were among the most likely to be supporting children.
The data spans seven years of the NZ Income Survey, carried out by Statistics New Zealand. It forms part of an interactive data project by Stuff.co.nz, laying out the extent of inequality in New Zealand ahead of Thursday's Budget.
But inequality experts were not holding out hope for any silver bullets.
"Why are wages so low for so many people?
"What I think the Government is likely to do in the budget is not really address anything that's going on at the top end, because I don't think that's at all a priority for National voters, in fact it's quite the reverse."
While some valuable measures might be passed regarding child poverty, they were unlikely to deal with the structural problems New Zealand faced.
Auckland University associate professor Mike O'Brien said poverty had not decreased by any meaningful amount.
"One of the pieces that
According to Otago University data, there were 260,000 children living in poverty, and 63
Massey University public policy expert Associate Professor Richard Shaw said there were "real signs" of generational inequality in the distribution of income.
"It's an interesting statistic across a broader story, about the transfer of wealth more generally."
"Governments can't walk away from the distributional consequences of their decisions, but neither do they determine everything. There is a place in there for individual agencies as well."
Labour Party finance spokesman Grant Robertson said while the elderly had been looked after, Government policy meant younger generations would not reach retirement with the same level of savings or income base.
"If you look at the 2010 tax cuts, they very specifically protected the incomes of the elderly, and that's good that they did that.
"But at the same time they completely failed, and in fact went in the opposite direction, for people on main benefits. They took a policy decision to deliberately exclude those on main benefits from having their incomes protected, so to me that is definitely to the detriment of other age groups."