I am not long back from a lovely weekend in Auckland which included a conference/stay at a top hotel (disclaimer: not paid for with church funds!), a sortee on Friday evening and yesterday lunch time to middle of the road eating establishments, and general mixing with a wide range of people.
At certain points I felt I was touching the 1% rather than the 99% (re the current division of the world into the super rich and the rest of us). A Lamborghini parked outside the hotel at one point, by most stretches of the imagination, is not a car owned by the merely well off. At other points moving through Auckland's central city seemed to provide a flow of evidence of our prosperity in general terms: lots of people enjoying a Friday night out on the town - too many of them to imply that 1% were out and about buying an ice cream here or a hamburger there while the 99% were stuck at home or under a bridge longing enviously for a better life.
But there was evidence of a lack of participation in general prosperity: beggars on the streets.
Prompting the writing down of these observations was an article in yesterday's Sunday Star Times (I cannot find a link) about Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-First Century and the ongoing global response to the book, in particular to his idea of a tax on capital which is then redistributed to the world's poor.
With our election looming ever closer, and descending ever more quickly into farce (as, for overseas readers, we are daily treated to stories drip fed to us about previous indiscretions about rich people donating clandestinely to parties), I see few signs of any serious debate about redistribution of the Piketty kind.
On the one hand we have some very rich people influencing the course of the election, on both the right and the left (Key, Craig, Dotcom). On the other hand we have the party best situated to lead a discussion on redistribution (Labour) in disarray.
Indeed, on Saturday night I heard Ginette Macdonald give a stand up comedy routine. Her best zinger of the evening was this:
I don't vote for any of the organised parties.
I vote Labour.