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Access: The Universal Basic Income and its implications for citizenship

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  • Hilary Stace,

    A quarter of the Swiss who voted thought it was a great idea. A very good start. Wonder how NZ would vote?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    A very disappointing result, I must say, but the Swiss tend to be conservative, so there is not such a great surprise about this there.

    I see the major issue with a UBI being that people would expect to have some commitment asked of all the people entitled to it, such as a citizen kind of responsibility and duty to do at least voluntary work. That could tilt the opinion to have more favour a UBI.

    And as usual, I fear it was not sufficiently explained, so most thought, it is a handout for no effort, which most will reject.

    I fear in New Zealand the vote would not be any different, perhaps even worse, given the poor standard of informedness our MSM offer us.

    Akl • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Marc C,

    Maybe they already have a good welfare system and healthy employment levels so people don't yet see the need there. But I still think it is a good result, considering people tend to be very conservative. People wouldn't even vote for a teeny little capital gains tax last election in NZ!

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    It's not surprising that the Swiss referendum failed. Every political party in the country refused to support the motion and far right parties played heavily on fears of unfettered imigration should the proposal be passed into law.

    However UBI supporters are cheered by the result with support doubling throughout the campaign. For them, getting the issue discussed seriously was always their main objective. Jim Pugh, co-founder of The Universal Income Project explains the importance of this referendum in fostering discussion worldwide. He points to a January poll (PDF, in German) showing 59% of people aged 18-35 believe basic income will become reality in Switzerland.

    Young people seem to overwhelmingly support a universal basic income–making it a political likelihood in the decades to come.

    Swiss proponents provide stats proving the debate has only just begun.

    * 69% of all voters believe they will be voting on another basic income referendum in the future.

    * 83% of YES-Voters believe there will be another referendum.

    * 63% of NO-Voters believe there will be another referendum.

    Here in New Zealand it's worth considering that a UBI would put paid to the government nonsense that's happening around Sue Moroney's Parental Leave and Employment Protection (6 Months' Paid Leave) Amendment Bill. Despite having the support of the majority of MPs, it's going to be vetoed by the Nats because, in their view, "the bill, amendment or motion would have more than a minor impact on the Government's fiscal aggregates if it became law".

    In other words, the country can't afford it. To put that in proportion, the estimated cost if the bill became law is around $100m -- a mere one thirtieth of the $3b John Key has been dangling in tax cuts for the rich next year.

    For this National government, wealth redistribution only works in one direction. Upwards.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1377 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I need to have another rant about Work and Income. My son has just had his Supported Living Benefit cut off (from next week) even though I have just provided yet another lot of information about his tiny income for the year ended June 2016. Apparently, I (as his agent) apparently haven't provided sufficient income information for the year Jan 2013 to Jan 2014. A far as I know I have provided everything they have ever asked for - every January since he went on the benefit I have completed the paperwork provided.

    I did have a letter about that 2013 year at the beginning of May but rang to ask them why they needed that when I had provided it back in 2014 and was told someone would ring me back. They didn't, but an income form for the year to June 2016 turned up instead, which I completed and sent back. Turns out these are two completely unrelated processes, although they go to the same address in Auckland! The man on the end of the phone was helpful enough but could only send a note to ...someone, whoever (God?) to ask for an extension to the cut off date!

    The lesson is always photocopy and date every piece of information you ever give Work and Income.

    Bring on the UBI and stop these inefficient, expensive and punitive processes.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    By the way they play nice New Zealand music while you wait for hours for a Work and Income person to answer the phone. Not sure that is a good idea. You need angry, grumpy music to match your mood.

    Just had another long talk to another W&I person who had different information including no official notification that I was my son's agent (which I have been for years). She explained that this is all happening because they are updating, standardising and centralising all their processes in one place (in Auckland) and when they find inevitable gaps - because who knows what bits of papers have got mislaid over the years? - they go back to the clients to ask for it. So it appears that they are asking a lot of impossible and often unrelated questions (eg pay slips from various odd years ago). But from their point of view they want to know that all is in order because - wait for it - they are finding underpayments and clients are owed money!

    We have an appointment next week with a real person and will take all our bits of paper and sort it all out once and for all. Meanwhile how many others have given up and dropped out of the system?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    We have an appointment next week with a real person

    You might need to check that they are, actually, a real live human being.

    Replacing petty bureaucrats (and their ilk) with robots is well on the cards....

    Hilary...rips one's undies, does it not, having to deal with these stuff ups despite one's every effort to avoid?

    Good luck sorting this out...seriously.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart,

    yes, good luck, in our experience the real person is usually okay, so long as she can enter the necessary data into the demanding and inflexible software.
    Which does make you wonder just how it is that information has been lost, since it is all entered into Goliath in order to approve the benefits already provided.
    And honestly, would you cut a person's benefit if you thought the system owed them money? Only on Planet Key.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Maybe it's a trendy idea going nowhere, but UBI is everywhere - here in the New Yorker.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

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