Think-tank highlights growth of debt culture

Tuesday 27 July 2004

The emergence of a "debt culture" is shackling people's ability to buy assets, says the New Zealand Institute's first policy paper.

By The Landlord

The new think-tank says New Zealand is falling behind other comparable countries in terms of household wealth because of a lack of incentive schemes and assistance.

The discussion paper, The Wealth of a Nation, details the difficulties, such as student debt and increasingly expensive housing, facing young New Zealanders trying to build up assets.

Such issues were not faced a generation ago, when couples used home ownership as a way to build equity.

The trends of recent years are breeding a debt culture and are likely to have a "major effect"on the future asset distribution of New Zealand, the paper says.

It looks at countries such as Australia, Britain, the United States and Canada and concludes that New Zealand has fallen behind in terms of household wealth.

Policies such as assisted first-home ownership - which have been removed from New Zealand over the past two decades - are the difference, the report says.

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