Why is the gap between the rich and the poor growing so fast in New Zealand? Do you think you’re paying too much tax? Do you work all week and just can’t make ends meet? Award winning documentary maker Bryan Bruce is back with another compelling report on life in New Zealand today.
His last documentary INSIDE CHILD POVERTY triggered a nationwide debate on the plight of our poorest children when it was broadcast on TV3 in November of 2011. Now the veteran investigative journalist is back with MIND THE GAP in which he reveals why inequality is bad (even for the rich) and what we can do about it.
"I’m not an economist" Bruce explains, "but by the time I’d finished my documentary on Child Poverty I wanted to know what the hell had gone so wrong with our economy that a lot of our children are turning up to school hungry, and charities are having to supply raincoats and shoes for them, because it never used to be that way."
So Bruce went on a journey, back to 1984 and discovered by talking with some of the world’s leading economists what‘s gone wrong.
"Our economy has simply failed to deliver the greatest good to the greatest number of people which in my view is what an economy should be all about" Bruce says. "So the first thing was to find out why? The next thing was to go in search of solutions and there ARE solutions."
His first port of call was Bangladesh to record a rare interview with Nobel Prize winning economist Muhammad Yunus about his radical idea of doing “social business” – selfless businesses that put people ahead of profit. Sound like a pipe dream? "Not one bit of it" says Bruce. " In Italy I visited businesses like the Coop Grocery Chain that returns 13 Billion dollars a year not to a wealthy elite, but to its 7 million member shoppers and 250,000 workers. Social business can be very big business. Just look at Fonterra. It’s a co-operative."
"In my view we didn’t just import an economic theory from Britain and the USA into New Zealand back in 1984, we imported the politics of selfishness that changed us from a WE society into a ME society. What I do in my documentary is challenge the core concepts and values of our economy today and reveal how it doesn’t have to be that way."
Like INSIDE CHILD POVERTY Bruce’s new documentary MIND THE GAP will be “must see” television. Whether you agree with him or not it’s the programme everyone will be talking about, because he challenges us with what we might do as individuals and as a nation to make life better for all of us.
"Right now the economic tail is wagging the moral dog. Our economic theory is driving our morality when it should be the other way around. What we need to do is decide who we are and what we stand for as a people. If we want a more equal, more caring society, then we’re bright enough to figure out how to pay for it."
Bryan Bruce files his special report on what’s gone wrong with our economy and what we can do about it.
© 2013 Red Sky Film & Television Limited