Money Talks: Shane Te Pou – ‘I don’t know how Jeff Bezos sleeps at night’

Why is it that some people are rich and some are poor? What’s at the root of inequality?

Political commentator Shane Te Pou has some strong views on money has never been shy of sharing them.

“The founder of Amazon [Jeff Bezos] has tens of thousands of workers who live in poverty and I just don’t know how he can sleep at night, ” he says, on the latest episode of the podcast Money Talks.

Click below to listen:

He argues that corporate greed remains one of the big drivers of poverty and inequality in the world.

A former unionist, turned business executive (with data storage company Mega) Te Pou grew up in working class Kawerau in the 1970s with a Māori mum and Pākehā dad.

He acknowledges the role strong parenting, whānau support and bit of extra discipline played in giving him a good start – even as others in his community were drawn down the gang path.

But ultimately arguments about individual responsibility only go so far, he says.

“We have a generation of New Zealanders living in indentured poverty. And the inequity is growing.”

“If you don’t have equity of opportunity then you are going to an inequity of outcome,” he says.

“If you have a kid that goes to school hungry and cold and has poverty related diseases, like rheumatic fever, he or she is never going to get ahead. It doesn’t always work out that way, but the numbers are against the kids born in poverty.”

Te Pou describes his mum as rich, even though she worked until she was 69, held down two or three jobs, and regularly went without to help others.

“My mum’s measurement was, if I’ve got enough kai for me and my mokos [mokopuna] then we’re doing okay and we can look after others,” he says.

Te Pou acknowledges his whakapapa and the Māori perspective around money and finances but says his is also very much as story of class consciousness.

“We were working class and working class families looked after each other,” he says.

One of his earliest memories is when Norman Kirk died in 1974 “because it really upset my father, he cried.”

“I remember we were able to stay up late because Big Time Wrestling was on and it got interrupted. And I remember my father… it was like a brother had died.”

Money Talks

Money Talks is a new podcast series. It isn’t about personal finance and isn’t about economics, it’s just well-known New Zealanders talking about money and sharing some stories about the impact it’s had on their lives and how it has shaped them.

You can find new episodes in the Herald, or subscribe on iHeart Radio, or wherever you get podcasts.

Source: Read Full Article