This letter was written and sent to the Editor of the New Zealand Herald by Mitchell Palmer, the Chief Executive of the New Zealand Powerhouse Institute, in response to Peter Malcolm’s article in the Friday 28th July Herald, titled “Make our worsening inequality an election issue.”
I was disturbed on Friday to see your publication stoop to new lows by publishing a counterfactual article by Peter Malcolm which was comprised entirely of groundless assertions on the basis of mere anecdotes in complete disregard for findings of esteemed economists and other experts in the matter of economic inequality.
A good example of the many logical fallacies and simple fabrications in the article is the assertion in the title that inequality in New Zealand is“worsening.” In fact, the Gini coefficient for income (the standard metric for income inequality used by economists) both before and after taxes and transfers has remained relatively stable since the 1990s – with some minor volatility recently as a result of the Global Financial Crisis. There are many other examples littered throughout the article, however the limits of this format make it impossible for me to list and disprove them all.
I am frankly astonished that an article guilty of such crimes against logic and fact has been published in your newspaper and I hope a retraction is forthcoming.
New Zealand Powerhouse Institute