UBINZ - Universal Basic Income

Last updated 27 February 1998

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A growing number of people consider that there is a better way to address the needs of our society and the people in it than cutting services and support: a way that values and supports people and encourages them to do and be their best. UBI, Universal Basic Income, is the name we use in New Zealand for this 'better way'. It involves giving all citizens, a basic level of income, as of right, with no means test, and regardless of age, gender, marital or work status.

This approach is not a new one and is favoured by people across the political spectrum right around the world. People coming from different positions on the spectrum have different ideas about details and different labels for this proposal: universal grant, citizen's dividend, social wage, negative income tax etc. This page aims to give you a taste of the range of approaches. I hope you can find one which makes sense to you and get a feeling for the core idea which unites us.

If you would like to be on the UBINZ mailing list (snail) write to :

Ian Ritchie,UBINZ, C/- Private Bag 11.042 Palmerston North
Ph (06)350 6316, Fax (06)350 6319

National Council of Women - Remit

Through the initiatives taken by the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, UBI is the subject of a remit to the National Council of Women conference being held on September 19-22 and so has been under discussion by women's groups since early June.

If your organisation has a delegate to this conference you might like to talk to her about how she expects to vote on this remit and copy some of the material on this site for her or give her Ian Ritchie's address (See above).

Here is a copy of the text of the remit & a proposed amendment:

"That the NCWNZ requests the government to investigate the feasibility of introducing a universal basic income for all New Zealanders."

Background Information:
Many people are concerned about the difficulty of making ends meet for low wage earners and those on a benefit, the difficulty getting off a benefit once someone is on one, the pressure on many to work harder for no extra recompense, and the lack of recognition for voluntary and unpaid work. The present drive for increased targeting for the remaining forms of assistance and the cutbacks of publically funded services mean that this trend is likely to worsen.

An alternative approach is to give all citizens a basic level of income with no means test, regardless of age, gender, marital or work status, or income level.

It would replace all other forms of publically funded income assistance, be tax free and not affected by other income. The amount would be determined by age, with adults receiving more than children, and superannuitants receiving more than "work age" adults. Supplements would cover special disability and housing needs.

Part of the direct costs of such a universal income scheme are already being met through present income support programmes such as benefits and GRI. Some of the additional costs would be met by the reduced administration and monitoring costs of the new system. The remainder could be met by a variety of methods - some favouring changing to a new taxation system entirely, with taxes on energy, financial transactions, wealth, and/or land.

Social and other factors, rather than only financial ones, need to be added into the cost/benefit analysis, for example, cost associated with the present crime and youth suicide rate, and the rising level of stress and long term health problems developing as a result of present policies, and how these may be reduced with security of income.

Amendment:
"That NCWNZ request the government to **define a basic income that would ensure an income that would provide housing, healthcare, nutrition, etc of a standard acceptable to New Zealanders, and that the government, after consultation, introduce** a basic universal income for all New Zealanders"

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