Basic Income NZ Statement
New Zealand is in complete lockdown. A Basic Income is a clear necessity now for everyone. “We have been watching developments knowing Basic Income is a very possible solution.” says Iain Middleton, spokesperson for Basic Income New Zealand (BINZ). “We support the Action Station petition: Coronavirus Universal Income for Everyone. We were delighted to hear Dr Siouxsie Wiles, Auckland University microbiologist and media science commentator express support for a Basic Income during a Radio NZ Morning Report interview on 16 March, and Bernard Hickey, a financial journalist talking on Afternoons with Jessie Mulligan on19 March support Basic Income payments until the growing financial crisis precipitated by Covid 19 ends.”
Dr Guy Standing a keynote speaker at the 2016 NZ Labour Party’s Future of Work Conference is among 500 academic and public figure signatories to an Open letter to governments of all continents requesting them to enact an emergency Basic Income. The Covid 19 virus is undermining the foundations of the global economy. As this global pandemic cannot be dealt with by normal public health measures, a global economic collapse requires more than traditional welfare policies. Basic Income is such a measure.
The world’s entire economic system relies on continual motion and right now, here in NZ, and in the whole world, the economy is grinding to a halt. Iain Middleton says “There must be drastic intervention now by the government to ensure that people have enough money to buy food and pay other essential costs. A Basic Income will achieve this.”
BINZ prefers to use the phrase “Basic Income”, rather than “Universal Basic Income”, as the word “universal” implies identical payments for all without exceptions. While a Basic Income is a modest regular and identical payment for all, with no means testing or behavioural tests, paid to every citizen and permanent resident of our country, a Basic Income does not prevent additional supplementary payments for those with special needs due to disability and illness. In this time of crisis, a Basic Income, can be delivered efficiently without the bureaucratic administrative costs of targeted assistance. We would also suggest a slightly smaller rate than New Zealand Superannuation combined with a 33% uniform tax. This will better target payments to those most in need and costs less overall.
There are other important reasons for Basic Income. As well as an effective means to combat poverty and inequality, Basic Income is a matter of social justice. Human rights must be manifested in the everyday lives of people at every level of society.
BINZ would like to see a Basic Income implemented as the present Welfare system is vastly inadequate at this time. The Welfare System, which began in the mid-1930’s, is no longer suitable. Low benefit rates, punitive sanctions, extortionate abatement rates, the interference of welfare conditions into personal relationships, all need a complete overhaul.
Basic Income brings security, self-determination and control over decision making. It allows individuals to make choices, big and small, about things that matter to them. It is having the control to shape the direction and conditions of our own lives.