Expert warns inequality could breed NZ's own Donald Trump

Donald Trump (Getty)
Donald Trump (Getty)

Growing inequality in New Zealand could end in the rise of our very own Donald Trump, an expert in political marketing has warned.

Many have been flabbergasted by Mr Trump's success, with allegations of sexual assault, predatory behaviour and bullying seemingly ignored by supporters.

The University of Auckland's Dr Jennifer Susan Lees-Marshment says while inequality isn't quite as bad here as it is in the US just yet, if it continues to deteriorate they might have to deal with a political outsider who doesn't play by the same rules.

"We know that the situation has changed dramatically in terms of people's ability to buy a house, rent easily and travel around," Dr Lees-Marshment told RadioLIVE.

"That sense of equality and opportunity has been threatened, just not to the same degree as in the US where they see no way forward - so they like the idea of a man standing up and talking about threatening the system, changing the system and going in and sorting it out."

She believes the situation in Auckland is particularly concerning, with many young professionals locked out of the housing market.

"Certainly the discontent that's driving Trump, the potential for that is always there. The leaders of the National and Labour parties need to make sure they respond to that so they stop a Trump phenomenon happening."

Mr Trump has promised to end trade deals which see US jobs go offshore, claiming this will create "millions" of employment opportunities.

His rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton says economists who have analysed Mr Trump's plans for the economy agree it will in fact destroy millions of jobs, due to lost trade opportunities.

Inequality in New Zealand has been rising since 2008, according to Statistics NZ.

It rose consistently following the economic reforms of the mid-1980s until about 2004, dropped for a few years then began rising again with the global financial crisis.