Basic Income New Zealand have researched four steps towards a comprehensive universal basic income for consideration and comment. These four steps represent well researched, tangible and realistic actions that any government could take in the upcoming term in order to advance this conversation. Basic Income New Zealand have said they are prepared to work with anyone willing to consider, test and implement universal basic income.
“We should adopt these four steps
recommended by BINZ to progress a UBI:
1. Replace the jobseekers benefit with an income neutral UBI;
2. index this UBI by inflation, growth, and increases in productivity;
3. introduce a kids' basic income;
4. expand on the Government's voluntary relocation scheme to make replacing the accommodation supplement more feasible in the future.”
This statement is currently up for consideration as part of Scoop’s HiveMind discussion on Universal Basic Income (UBI). You can participate in the conversation to vote on this and other crowdsourced statements now.
These steps are far from radical, they are pragmatic, achievable and most importantly would allow for careful consideration of associated issues. Such a staged approach to this major policy change is important if we are serious about ensuring that those most in need are not adversely affected by a sudden transition to a UBI. We hope that this proposal is given the thought and discussion it deserves from the media and major political parties.
Please read further explanation of these recommendations provided by Basic Income New Zealand (BINZ) below:
1. Turn WINZ into BINZ by introducing an income neutral basic income
- Abolish income support except for accommodation
supplements and temporary special payment for child care,
disability, and hardship.
- Introduce initial weekly basic income of roughly $200/adult and $100/child.
- Amend Tax rates on earned incomes to maintain income neutrality whatever our present earned income may be or become.
2. Index the initial basic income with inflation, growth, and (if we choose) increased productivity.
- The extra productivity provision
will involve a small annual income redistribution that will
need to be funded from taxation or other sources.
- For example, we could fund a 1.5% annual productivity increase to our basic income with a progressive flat tax on all earned personal income of about 0.6%/year. This indexation would double the real value of our basic income in 20 years without radical tax changes.
- A progressive indexation could be used purely for redistribution, or also for the eventual replacement of the Accommodation Supplement.
3. Introduce granting deposits and
mortgage guarantees scheme
The largest cost issue for introducing a UBI is incorporating what is covered by the Accommodation Supplement. To introduce a uniform UBI payment that covers the highest current levels of accommodation support (i.e. in cities like Auckland) would add significant cost to a UBI scheme. One way to bring down the cost is to reduce the number of people needing the Supplement who live in those areas.
This could be achieved by granting deposits and mortgage guarantees to families most in need to buy their own home in lower cost areas. The policy would be an extension of the present government voluntary housing relocation policy but makes it truly worthwhile for families to move.
One astounding advantage to the policy is that it is economically at least 1000% more efficient than the current supply-side solutions being promoted at the moment to address the housing crisis. Read more on this policy here.
4. Implement a basic income for children
- We could eliminate child
poverty in New Zealand (more than a quarter of children live
in relative poverty) by introducing a separate Kids’ Basic Income for all
children under the age of 18.
- It could be set at any level using various funding mechanism, but for example, we could fund $30/week for all children with a one-off progressive flat tax increase on all earned personal income of about 1.17%.
- If a Kids’ Basic Income of $60/week was introduced alongside the indexation of the UBI in step 2 we could eliminate child poverty in five years.
Joseph and the HiveMind