Universal Basic Income (UBI)

For the last 4 years The Awareness Party has promoted a Universal Basic Income,
and it appears in Article 5.9 in our Constitution. Un B I

Now the UBI appears to be in the mainstream consciousness, and the NZ Labour Party is even talking about this.

We already have a UBI in the form of Superannuation for people over 65.

A Universal (or Unconditional) Basic Income acknowledges that every individual has the same unconditional right  to a basic income, sufficient for them to live in dignity. The UBI provides this.

A Universal Basic Income would see every adult regularly paid a set amount by the government, regardless of their income or wealth.  The tax system would be altered with such a move. It would replace all targeted welfare, benefits, and the pension.

This policy would be a major change in the way wealth is transferred. It recognises the contribution to society that people who don’t necessarily get paid, like at-home spouses or volunteers in the community.

It gives people more choice so they can, if they wish, quit their job to do training, or go back to tertiary education.

Savings could be made by no longer having targeted welfare and its associated bureaucracy.
The cost of a UBI to the government will also be indirectly covered by The Awareness Party’s money creation policy. (The policy covers government infrastructure, and would then free up money from tax to go towards the UBI. See Chapter 5 of our Constitution.)
The proceeds of a financial transaction tax, (also our policy) could contribute to this.

Here are two of the main reasons that we think it essential for New Zealand to adopt a UBI.

  1. It reduces a large amount of unpleasant bureaucracy associated with benefits
  2. As jobs get more and more automated and outsourced people will inevitably be squeezed into fewer and fewer jobs, many of them poorly paid. Continue this process, and it is obvious that it is completely inequitable and unacceptable that people’s right to have the basics to live by, is in the hands of employers and corporate gate-keepers.

A UBI could range from $800 a month to $2000 depending on the financial model that is adopted.  If a smaller UBI is adopted then people in special circumstances would require further assistance.

NB: The intention of The Awareness Party is to ensure that everyone has a living income. A UBI does not mean that current beneficiaries will be worse off. Hopefully their situation will be improved as recipients of the UBI will be allowed to work. The system would generally work like Superannuation does currently.

Here is an excellent TED talk on the reasoning behind a UBI and the need for immediate trials