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UBI. (Universal Basic Income).

Written By: - Date published: 11:58 am, September 5th, 2013 - 230 comments
Categories: benefits, capitalism, child welfare, class war, climate change, cost of living, economy, Economy, employment, equality, families, global warming, heritage, human rights, jobs, minimum wage, monetary policy, poverty, socialism, superannuation, sustainability, tax, uncategorized, welfare, workers' rights - Tags:

The concept of UBI has a long history in New Zealand.

Of course, we already have a UBI for those over 65.  Which has been extremely successful at eliminating poverty amongst the elderly, at a very moderate cost by international standards.

“In fact super has been so effective in removing poverty amongst the elderly it should be extended to everyone in the form of a guaranteed minimum income. There is no excuse for having people with inadequate food and housing in a country which is capable of supplying an excess of both internally”. http://kjt-kt.blogspot.co.nz/2011/06/on-retirement-pensions-and-age-of.html

It has been a policy plank of various minor political parties, such as Social Credit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_Democratic_Party_for_Social_Credit

Currently, the Greens have discussed a UBI as part of welfare and economic policy development.

Many organisations, and individuals both left and right wing, have discussed  the idea. Including the darling of the extreme right, Roger Douglas.

Recently Gareth Morgan has been an advocate. He puts the case rather well. http://www.bigkahuna.org.nz/universal-basic-income.aspx

Paying universal transfers acknowledges that every individual has the same unconditional right – to a basic income sufficient for them to live in dignity. The Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) provides this.

With this basic protection in place people are then free to add to that income through paid work if they choose. Equally, they can live on the UBI and pursue other activities – doing the unpaid work of caring for children or others in their community for example, or studying full time, or pursuing new business ventures. The UBI offers the prospect of ensuring everyone has the means to live while giving them the freedom to live their lives as they choose.”

However David Preston from the MSD exemplifies what seems to be the main concern and almost the only real objection to a UBI.  People may chose to go surfing instead of working. Horrors! http://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/journals-and-magazines/social-policy-journal/spj10/universal-basic-income-cure-or-disease.html

The vision, of 80 year old pensioners surfing, this engenders,  caused me a great deal of mirth.

In fact the only real experiment with a universal basic income.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mincome ,showed that the overwhelming majority, even with guaranteed income, chose to do something constructive.  Work, study or raising children. In the 70’s in New Zealand, with a much more generous unemployment benefit than we have now, almost everyone still chose to work.

The biggest advantage of a UBI, of course, is the almost total elimination of poverty, with all the savings in the accompanying economic and social costs. There is also the not inconsiderable savings in administration of welfare, simplified tax systems and the hit or miss nature of targeted welfare. Because it is universal, there is less incentive for the wealthy to try and destroy it, to cut taxes.

The main objection, apart from the horror of some people that recipients may simply go surfing, A horror they do not seem to extend to the inheritors of unearned extreme wealth, is cost!

It is not, however, a given, that the overall cost of a UBI would be more than that of a fair targeted welfare system.

Of course those same people  throw up their hands object to the cost of current welfare. They cannot understand why the poor are not made to live in cardboard boxes and starve quietly as they do in their ideal economies, just so those on high incomes can pay a few dollars less taxes.

Universal superannuation in New Zealand has been considerably cheaper and more effective than targeted schemes elsewhere.

Don’t see why a UBI should not pay for itself in the savings in administration, the decreased costs of poverty and the extra tax take from extra income within the economy. Flat taxes over the UBI rate, are possible, which should cheer up the right wing.

The removal of abatement rates for working and the removal of the penalty of extreme poverty for business failure, for those not already millionaires, can only help more people into work, study and entrepreneurship. For others, it frees them up for socially useful unpaid work, such as sport coaching, teaching and the myriads of other unpaid and unrecognized work which makes for a functional society.

Lastly. In an era where resources are running out, being able to survive without having to find ever more creative ways of using up resources, and ripping off your fellow citizens, is an essential step towards a steady state sustainable society.

230 comments on “UBI. (Universal Basic Income).”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    1. This article doesn’t display properly on the main page.
    2. There’s a large chunk of whitespace at the bottom.
    3. The font looks weird (smaller than it should be).
    4. It appears to have been tagged in every category under the sun, including heritage and global warming.

    • KJT 1.1

      1. Yes don’t know why. Havn’t done anything different from the last one that did display properly.
      2. ?
      3. Will enlarge it.
      $. Tagged the ones that are relevent. AGW is part of sustainability. The last para.

      Thanks.

      • lprent 1.1.1

        Ok – that took a while to figure out. Make sure you remove the

        <— more —>

        When copying across. That triggers the system to drop out of excerpt mode and to go into a paged mode.

  2. Greywarbler 2

    Jeez Lanthanide I have thought before that you are more interested in having the trains running on time than whether they pull in at the platform where the people are. Now again.

    Good one KJT Plenty to chew over, like the recipe and taste seems good.

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      Software engineer. Didn’t have much time, also the font was small which made it unpleasant to try and read.

  3. IrishBill 3

    I’ll sort it out. Just exit the editor, KJT.

  4. alwyn 5

    It is interesting that the best known proponents of this system in the United States were two of the people most bitterly attacked by left wing members of the body politic.
    The version they desired was in the form of a negative income tax, which is one of the means of implementing the scheme.
    The advocates were economist Milton Friedman and President Richard Nixon.

    • KJT 5.1

      They were not attacked for that reason. However it does show that UBI has broad appeal.

      Even though the right may like it to cover bread and water only, and the left, enough to participate in society.

    • burt 5.2

      It’s no surprise their ideas were rejected – they probably didn’t make special allowances for union members.

      Remember politics for half wits is about the colour of the flag – not the policies.

  5. TightyRighty 6

    So your saying it doesn’t discourage work at all?

    • Tracey 6.1

      Do you know if there is any evidence that having no, or insifficient welfare results in an increase in jobs in a community?

      • KJT 6.1.1

        Judging by the closed shops in Northland and Whangarei, during Ruthanasia, and again during the latest round of sneaky welfare cuts, decreasing welfare takes a lot of jobs from the community.

        • TightyRighty 6.1.1.1

          Actually, judging by the increased number of small businesses opening at home and in non-cdb locations, you could argue that the general global marketplace and it’s impact on prices and costs may have created the empty shops you speak of. Trying to argue that beneficiaries need more money because it doesn’t make ends meet, yet inexplicably they are now not consuming enough of their income to support local business really is delusional. do you know how an economy actually works? no other lefty on this site does, so i’m not holding out for a positive response to that question. and did you reference yourself like you are some sort of economic expert?

          • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1.1

            do you know how an economy actually works? no other lefty on this site does

            Yes, it’s actually the RWNJs, such as yourself, and the economists (although some of them are starting to wake up from the free-market delusion) that don’t have a clue.

          • KJT 6.1.1.1.2

            Global marketplace doesn’t explain all the empty shops during Ruthanasia. Only New Zealand had a recession during her reign, remember.

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1.3

            Pulling money (spending) out of towns and out of the private sector in general causes small businesses to fail and fail in large numbers, TR.

      • TightyRighty 6.1.2

        Are you trying to argue that somehow having “acceptable” levels of welfare, whatever that means, increases jobs?

        • Bill 6.1.2.1

          It certainly increases the potential scope for individual human activity. And all activity is work. Given that much work is socially valuable whereas many jobs are socially detrimental, I don’t see your point or concern.

          • TightyRighty 6.1.2.1.1

            all activity is work? well if that’s your definition of what is deserving of reward we may as well turn off the smart tap on this thread. It’s all stupidity from here on in. Please, do elaborate.

            • weka 6.1.2.1.1.1

              “all activity is work? well if that’s your definition of what is deserving of reward we may as well turn off the smart tap on this thread. It’s all stupidity from here on in. Please, do elaborate.”

              Is there anything useful in that comment? At all?

              You seem to be missing the basic point. The UBI is paid on the basis of all humans having inherent worth. It’s not paid as a reward for doing something. But the people that get all het up about bludgers seem to be largely unaware that most (as in nearly all) humans prefer to be engaged in meaningful activity anyway, so there isn’t really an issue around large numbers of people living off the UBI and society collapsing under the weight of them ‘doing nothing’ (whatever that means).

              • TightyRighty

                No, you missed the point. not unusual for you.

                Anyway, would you support a UBI if there was a corresponding flat tax rate?

                • weka

                  Childish much?

                  “Anyway, would you support a UBI if there was a corresponding flat tax rate?”

                  What, you mean as outlined in Red’s previous post on this that I linked to below?

                  thestandard.org.nz/universal-income-revisited/

                  Do try and keep up.

                  Did you even read the post from KJT today?

                  • TightyRighty

                    Yea, he referenced himself, height of conceit. I thought it was pretty much rubbish all round to be honest. The arguments proposed i’ve heard before, they made little sense then too.

                    • weka

                      Why don’t you fuck off then and let those of who are interested discuss it? All you are doing here is tr0lling. You’re not engaging with the issues and points that people raise, and you’re taking a scattergun approach to denigrating what people are saying but without any substance in your comments.

                      eg you asked me if I would support a UBI if there was a flat income tax as well, and I pointed you to Red’s previous post on this, yet you have completely ignored it.

                      You’re like a kid in the sandbox who is throwing sand in people’s faces because he doesn’t want to play the game the others are playing.

            • Bill 6.1.2.1.1.2

              I’ll make this simple. I might change a worn tap washer today. That’s work. But since I’m not charging myself out at $60 per hour or whatever the market rate for plumbing is, it’s not a job.

              If I pull some weeds, then it could be work, leisure or a job depending on the context.

              If I make a bed, it could be a part of a job or just basic house work.

              And so it goes on, through a whole host of activities.

              Meanwhile, I never said anything was ‘deserving’ of (you meant monetary?) reward. Speaking personally, I prefer to do things for rewards that are more satisfying, and less insultingly reductionist than money.

              • felix

                Well put Bill.

              • TightyRighty

                monetary, in kind, food and shelter, whatever really. you are a fine moral champion, take your pick. You made the statement all activity is work. I can list five or six quite easily that i’d view as pleasure. surfing for one. as long as you aren’t teaching it though, given how you love context.

                So having a UBI does not encourage indolence at all? not even a little bit?

                • weka

                  What’s wrong with indolence?

                • Bill

                  Doing nothing…and do I mean nothing at all…is utterly at odds with our nature. I don’t think we could handle that psychologically.

                  Anyway, ever sat down and just let your mind wander…or pondered things….or sat back in contemplation…maybe allowed yourself the time to have thoughts and to follow them through? To the casual observer, a person engaged in one of these activities may be appearing indolent/lazy.

                  Truth is, the above activities are anything but – and can be the genesis for all sorts of productive actions.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    +1

                    The fact of the matter is that the RWNJs think that everyone needs to be working for a Randian Superhero and thus making them richer rather than working to make society and themselves better.

                  • Macro

                    One of the most important and most difficult “tasks” for any human being is meditation. Obviously TR has never practiced this, I imagine they would find it very difficult to sit still for half an hour (let alone a day or more) without a thought passing through their mind, open to the possibility of what the buddist call mindfulness. I recommend this to every one, it has many healthful benefits it is calming, and refreshes the person. There are many meditative practices and each one is one where the person could be said to be doing nothing at all.
                    The new insights that may arise from regular meditation can never be achieved in the hurly burly of a modern lifestyle.

                    Furthermore, our current lifestyles are becoming devoid of art and culture as people struggle and work longer to make ends meet. Our theatres are closing and there is little in the way of new locally produced drama. We need to allow space for people to be able to work in the arts and music and dance and theatre without the pressures of having to earn to eat. What those creative souls produce is beneficial to us all, we are all enriched when our society has a flourishing artistic base.

        • KJT 6.1.2.2

          Taxing the rich, who spend money offshore and on speculation, for welfare, has been proven to increase the money in the community and hence demand and jobs.

          Redistributing income upwards, as we have done for the past 35 years, has resulted in decreasing jobs, lost money from the community and lack of productive investment.

        • swan 6.1.2.3

          Tighty righty,

          The good thing about a UBI is you avoid very high effective marginal tax rates that come with a more traditional welfare system. So much easier for people to work, and optimise their lives in other ways (eg by sharing accomodation) without losing benefits.

      • TightyRighty 6.1.3

        So you are saying that welfare increases jobs? please explain your reasoning.

        • weka 6.1.3.1

          You appear to be replying to this

          ” 6.1 Do you know if there is any evidence that having no, or insifficient welfare results in an increase in jobs in a community?”

          Are you sure you meant to ask “So you are saying that welfare increases jobs? please explain your reasoning.”?

        • Certainly, although if you don’t mind, I’ll talk about the UBI after the second paragraph rather than welfare, because it’s actually much better than welfare from both a left-wing and right-wing perspective.

          People with less money spend a higher proportion of their income. Policies that lift the minimum income, therefore, are the most stimulative of the economy, and overall will make everyone richer by increasing the size of the pie, rather than struggling on how to divide it. This is of course a bit of a simplification but it gets the picture across nicely.

          This is very old-school, well-established demand-side economics, and nobody who actually studied the stuff would consider it up for debate.

          A UBI lifts anyone who is covered (ie. probably all citizens) out of poverty, and actually saves on a bunch of costs needed to determine eligibility for government benefits, calculate special tax rates, and investigate benefit fraud*, and it also allows you to integrate welfare into the tax department, creating better economies of scale in the public service. If you combine that with a relatively simple tax system, you can move a LOT of people into public sector jobs, by far the majority of the people who work for WINZ. If you like small government, you should be a big fan of UBI.

          Finally, a UBI provides a realistic economy for low-skill work when the basic income is set high enough, allowing the wages to supplement the UBI at a rate that is reasonable for both the worker and the boss. So McDonalds can pay the $5 or $10 an hour wages it wants to while still allowing people to earn a living wage if there are few jobs available and plenty of people want them, or it will end up paying something similar today when it can’t find enough people because the UBI provides the basics and McDonalds is, for most people, an unfulfilling place to work.

          *You’d still need to investigate tax fraud, but this should be much simpler if you eliminate all of the exemptions and special rules and just set the basic income high enough and have the tax curve modestly rather than being flat. And yes I said curve, but it needn’t be as much as today if we eliminate exemptions.

          • srylands 6.1.3.3.1

            “Finally, a UBI provides a realistic economy for low-skill work when the basic income is set high enough, allowing the wages to supplement the UBI at a rate that is reasonable for both the worker and the boss. ”

            Where does the money for the UBI come from?

          • KJT 6.1.3.3.2

            I think you still need a minimum wage with a UBI, otherwise some employers will bludge off tax payers. Just as they do now with WFF.

            I can see big low paying employers like McD’s using it as an excuse to cut wages, and hence the taxes paid from wages, to the extent that the system fails.

            • Matthew Whitehead 6.1.3.3.2.1

              Oh, I wasn’t saying you don’t need a minimum wage, you absolutely do. You can just afford to have it as low as we have it now, or maybe a little lower.

            • KatyBess 6.1.3.3.2.2

              More likely, wages and conditions will improve. UBI also includes children, at maybe a proportion of the adult level. The bread winner of a family will be able to refuse jobs that are boring, dirty, unsafe or overly stressful. McDs wouldn’t get enough workers, and they wouldn’t sell enough crap, because people would be at home cooking better food. Big corporates with toxic workplaces will have to adjust their culture – or they’ll never get any staff.

              Whether UBI increases jobs isn’t the question. Jobs aren’t going to increase, only decrease as machines and technology do more of our work. UBI is derived from ownership of the country, inheritance of its wealth and residency. It recognises the billions of dollars of unpaid work done every day – caring for children and the elderly, staffing community service groups, growing vegetables to share, writing brilliant replies on internet sites for the education of the ignorant and the delight of the converted…

              When everyone has enough to live on, the whole country wins. Government gets more tax, businesses sell more goods and services, children get properly fed and learn better, the crime rate goes down, the divorce rate goes down, and we start converting empty prisons into art centres and agricultural colleges. Roll on, UBI!

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.3.4

          So you are saying that welfare increases jobs? please explain your reasoning.

          Increased spending increases jobs. It’s fairly simple. One party’s spending becomes another party’s income.

      • alwyn 6.1.4

        Tracey
        I don’t know the full details of the current Singapore welfare situation but if it remains as it used to be it might be an example of insufficient welfare leading to more jobs. The unemployment rate in Singapore at the end of last year was 2%, and it had averaged 2.5% since 1986.
        Singapore has essentially no benefit system, for the general populace. There is effectively no unemployment benefit and no state supplied old age pensions. If you haven’t enough money saved when you retire it is a case of either keeping working or having your children support you.
        If you ever pass through Changi airport have a look at the age of the people who collect up the luggage trolleys. They certainly all appear to be at least 70.
        They also have, I believe, no minimum wage and the spread of incomes would be much larger than in New Zealand. A maid (living in) might earn as little as $5,000/ year while the Prime Minister in 2012 took a 36% cut down to a mere $1.7 Million per year. (A Singapore dollar is about the same value as a NZ dollar).
        I’m not recommending the Singapore approach but it gives some evidence of satisfying your question.

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.4.1

          Idiocy. Singapore’s welfare system or lack thereof is about 0.3% of the success recipe for the island state.

        • miravox 6.1.4.2

          That’s not quite correct. Singapore appears to operate on a compulsory insurance system – Central Provident Fund - to provide similar security to our tax system (i.e. health, education, pensions, disability and maternity benefits). State housing also features strongly as a worker benefit.

          As for unemployment – there is a massive non-resident workforce that can be modified to ensure Singapore’s core unemployment rate, and requirements to support the destitute stays low.

          Singaporeans are reluctant to take up low-skill jobs that pay low wages, so foreign-born workers often fill these positions. To guard against excessive permanent migration of those with less skills, however, government policy since the 1970s has ensured that unskilled and low-skilled migrants remain a transient workforce, subject to repatriation during periods of economic downturn.

          Low-skilled foreign-born workers are managed through a series of measures, including the work-permit system, the dependency ceiling (which regulates the proportion of foreign to local workers), and the foreign-worker levy. These measures are expected to be tightened between July 2012 and July 2013 (see Table 4). Workers are only allowed to work for the employer and in the occupation indicated in their work permit, though a sponsored transfer of employment is permissible and subject to work pass validity. The termination of employment of a foreign-born worker results in the immediate termination of the work permit, in which case the immigrant must leave Singapore within seven days.

          But yes, there is a greater expectation that families will provide. However it’s not really comparable with NZ when Singapore can simply shift low-skilled labour out of the country, with no benefits when it doesn’t need them or they get too old or sick to work.

    • KJT 6.2

      As we can produce all our needs and much of our wants without full employment that may not be a disadvantage in future.

      I can think of many people where it would be cheaper for us to pay them not to work. Speculators and derivative traders, for example.

      Of course, right wingers have difficulty understanding people who work without being handsomely rewarded, or work when they do not have to, though they are happy to take advantage of the work ethic of people such as Teachers.

      • TightyRighty 6.2.1

        would you even be able to promote your bullshit theory to so many people without a computer? provided by someone who speculated that there may be a demand for such things. what brand do you use? is it government provided? do you think it would work as well as it does if it was government produced as opposed to a speculator gambling that needs and wants of certain countries probably can’t be produced domestically in an efficient fashion?

        On the subject of teachers, if we could pay the really good ones handsomely, using some method of assessment, would you then acknowledge that appreciating the work ethic isn’t just a lefty thing? classic trying to promote taking advantage of work ethic while promoting a benefit. Such hypocrisy.

        So again, do you think there will be no disincentive to work under a UBI? pretty simple question. such pathetic answers to it.

        • weka 6.2.1.1

          “So again, do you think there will be no disincentive to work under a UBI? pretty simple question. such pathetic answers to it.”

          Yes, by and large, I think that a UBI will not disincentivise people from work. Question answered.

          I think you find the answers pathetic because you don’t yet understand what the UBI really is (you think it’s welfare).

          I suspect you also are somewhat of a misanthrope who projects their own shit onto the population in general ie your world view is that people are inherently lazy and won’t work if they aren’t forced to. That just says alot about you.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 6.2.1.2

          If more generous welfare provisions are a disincentive to employment, we’d have had higher unemployment in the 1970s. KJT already made this point. Have you any substantive response? Doubt it.

        • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1.4

          would you even be able to promote your bullshit theory to so many people without a computer? provided by someone who speculated that there may be a demand for such things.

          Actually, the computer came about due to massive government subsidies. In fact, that’s pretty much true of everything.

        • Murray Olsen 6.2.1.5

          Computers were first developed via government research and only later commercialised via the private sector, which never saw fit to repay the state for the research funding spent. The internet followed a similar route, as did aviation. You would not be promoting your bullshit theories without state investment in research programs. Say thank you.

      • srylands 6.2.2

        “Speculators and derivative traders, for example.”

        Derivative traders are awseome.

    • Greywarbler 6.3

      Going to work? And getting paid something so you can afford something you aspire to have – that mind process will still go on except more often and more easily with money for transport, retraining, ability to find part-time work for child-caring parents etc.

      I am sure that few people want to stay home throwing ideas and thoughts at a blog all day, for instance. Once UBI came in at a reasonable rate there would be so much positivity that there would be only half the issues and fewer really urgent ones, the environment and climate change and overpopulation and poor distribution methods will continue though.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.4.1

        Great article and hits the nail on the head.

      • Greywarbler 6.4.2

        Sounds a bit full of ennui. Going out socially and then not to like having someone talking to you and trying to find some common ground for conversation like – what do you do – is a bit precious isn’t it. A bit of banter would do just to get the conversation going, so you have a few things ready in your mind. And you can always deflect and say ‘what are your interests’ of course.

  6. Bill 7

    Seems to me to be no-brainer. If everyone was paid (for arguments sake say $500) and then taxed at a fairly substantial rate for any earned income, then, yes, it could be self funding. (I’m sure Morgan or others have looked at the funding and have well thought out scenarios – that was just off the top of my head)

    On the work front – anyone doing an empowering or enjoyable job will continue to turn up and do that job. And if lower skilled or undesirable jobs are able to be taken up on a short term basis by those wishing to compliment their income, then again, there are no obvious problems.

    But employers contemplating a complete reversal in the meaning of a flexible job market might be less than enthusiastic. And employers who get workers to provide them with a source of income through ‘providing’ utterly meaningless jobs…well, they’re history.

    Other objections I have seen voiced on ‘ts’ pertain to people who would need more than the basic income due to medical conditions etc. Fair point….if medical care is to remain on a user pays basis. Otherwise, the objection is moot.

    And in a world of peaking resources and AGW that will probably mean – how to say? – a running down of the market economy, then a cultural shift away from this idea that an earned income is the principle mark of ‘worth’ is absolutely essential.

    And the money grabbers ain’t going to like it one bit. Imagine families no longer feeling compelled to hand the care of their aging parents over to the private sector and the subsequent loss of revenue for that particular set of leeches? Similar examples (were our humanity reasserts itself over financial reductionism) would probably constitute a lengthy list. And what of the prospect of community being re-established as a viable space for interactions…even to the extent that it threatens the hegemony of ‘market’ interactions?

    Again…all good. Except for those who profit from this present rather sad a denuded state of affairs where we have reduced an account of ourselves and our lives to nothing much beyond so many columns of a financial ledger.

    • weka 7.1

      “If everyone was paid (for arguments sake say $500) and then taxed at a fairly substantial rate for any earned income, then, yes, it could be self funding. (I’m sure Morgan or others have looked at the funding and have well thought out scenarios – that was just off the top of my head)”

      Links from teh convo the other day. The first one has some actual figures (although it premises $200/wk*) and shows how the taxation fits in.

      http://thestandard.org.nz/universal-income-revisited/

      http://thestandard.org.nz/universal-income-the-minimum-wage/

      http://keithrankin.co.nz/krnknbyonpov.html

      http://thestandard.org.nz/gareth-morgans-big-kahuna/

      *this seems to be one of the real sticking points. How do you determine what the rate should be?

      • Bill 7.1.1

        How to determine the rate? Well, somewhere along the line a formula was used to determine levels of current welfare entitlements. So, wouldn’t it be a simple case of agreeing what factors (or sub-formulas) should be a part of any formulaic calculation and rolling out the result?

        And if reality indicates it’s too high/low for whatever reason, then adjust $ levels accordingly or refine the formula and its inputs. Not rocket science.

        • weka 7.1.1.1

          “Well, somewhere along the line a formula was used to determine levels of current welfare entitlements.”

          Was it? All I know is that currently base benefits are intentionally set below the level which one can live on.

          It’s still unclear to me whether the UBI is a liveable income or sub-liveable. I hear two different proposals eg the $200/wk one is obviously not liveable for anyone with a mortage or paying city rent, the implication being that that income will be topped up somewhere either via wages or supplementary benefits. If it’s the latter, then that just takes us back to a WINZ style welfare system.

          And how can one rate be suitable for all people?

          It’s not rocket science, but it’s not that straight forward either.

          • KJT 7.1.1.1.1

            Depends. I would advocate a liveable income, per capita, A lessor rate for under 16’s living at home otherwise all adults the same. So that top ups and extra benefits are only required in rare circumstances. Administering different rates for different people removes one of the advantages, simplicity.

            Current individual super rates give a logical starting point..

            Gareth Morgan suggested a lessor rate, but I cannot see his reasoning anywhere in his blog. may be in the book which i haven’t read yet.

            • weka 7.1.1.1.1.1

              So two adults with two kids would get 2 x the UBI, but one adult with two kids would get 1 x the UBI?

              • KJT

                2 adults with two kids would get 2 adult rate UBI plus 2 child rate.

                1 Adult with 2 kids, one adult rate with 2 child rate.

                I don’t have the answer to eliminating all unfairness. I don’t think it is possible.

                Per family or household, like the current different super rates for couples or singles have their own unfairness.
                As does the opposite, For example my wife has to stay at home for a special needs child. We pay much more tax than two parents both working, although our total income is the same, or less..

                I am open to better ideas however.

            • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1.1.2

              Gareth Morgan suggested a lessor rate, but I cannot see his reasoning anywhere in his blog. may be in the book which i haven’t read yet.

              His reasoning, from the book, is tax rates – he doesn’t want them going over 30% or 35%. It’s a silly idea because the amount he suggests is around about the same as the present unemployment benefit, i.e, not enough to live on.

              I think the amount needs to be higher, high enough that people can actually be entrepreneurial especially if they get together in cooperatives. I’m figuring at least $400/week for an adult.

              • Greywarbler

                DTB
                Sounds reasonable amount, and I like that mention of entrepreneurial activity. There could be a lot of that going on, making a very vibrant, busy, enthusiastic, exciting and involved community.

              • Crunchtime

                I’m thinking it should be more than Morgan suggests, but not much more… I’d suggest less than $300.

                Ensure a minimum standard of health and wellbeing… but encourage people to get out and work…

                …keep the right-wingers happy too :P the higher it is, the more people will moan about how it encourages “indolence”

    • McFlock 7.2

      Other objections I have seen voiced on ‘ts’ pertain to people who would need more than the basic income due to medical conditions etc. Fair point….if medical care is to remain on a user pays basis. Otherwise, the objection is moot.

      So, do additional transport or housing costs (or other sundry increased expenses) come out of the welfare budget, or is that administrative function simply transferred from social warfare to the DHBs? Either way, no savings there from streamlined administration, at best the cost is just shunted from one line to another.

  7. Tracey 8

    But gosh, if people have the same starting point and everything how will we know who is better than everyone else?

    • burt 8.1

      Exactly – who will vote for extended welfare when welfare has been made less of a requirement. It’s no wonder left leaning parties only pretend to like this idea. It removes their ability to use a lolly scramble to win power at election time.

      • weka 8.1.1

        Burt, that doesn’t make any kind of sense. Care to try again?

        • felix 8.1.1.1

          It won’t help. He’s had years to explain himself but it comes out as gibberish every time.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 8.1.1.2

          Burt sees government spending as a “lolly scramble” – a very revealing insight into the right-wing mind: you have to be taller or more aggressive to get more lollies. Think Sky City or Mediaworks.

          • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.2.1

            +1

          • Greywarbler 8.1.1.2.2

            About the lolly scramble idea. I think that is called pluralism where people compete for things and finances from government. Like running around trying to grab as much of the lollies as possible for themselves.

            Classical pluralism is the view that politics and decision making are located mostly in the framework of government, but that many non-governmental groups use their resources to exert influence. The central question for classical pluralism is how power and influence is distributed in a political process.
            Groups of individuals try to maximize their interests. Lines of conflict are multiple and shifting as power is a continuous bargaining process between competing groups.

            There may be inequalities but they tend to be distributed and evened out by the various forms and distributions of resources throughout a population.
            Any change under this view will be slow and incremental, as groups have different interests and may act as “veto groups” to destroy legislation that they do not agree with.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pluralism_(political_theory)

      • UBI is as different from extended welfare as democracy is from “democracy” where only white land-owning men could vote.

        Also, I would really like to see you pay rent/mortgage and eat and pay bills and manage the rest of your costs on a benefit budget, especially while holding down any sort of job and not being miserable. After you’ve done that we can talk about lolly scrambles.

    • Bill 8.2

      Oh – I guess the best surgeons will still be better than other surgeons. But there could well be far more of them. The poverty that has meant until now that the talented kid from the poor family has had to fore-go their dreams in order to earn a crust ‘down the local factory’ will be naught but an object of historical curiosity.

      Imagine the human potentials that can be unleashed once (if) we free ourselves from the dead weight that’s wage slavery.

      • Chooky 8.2.1

        Bill +1

      • Colonial Viper 8.2.2

        Rugby/rugby league has figured this out.

        They will scout out players from teams from schools from poor neighbourhoods because they know they can find outstanding talent there.

    • s y d 8.3

      I suspect that, over time, we will be able to tell who is better, by the way they can effortlessly cut back into the most critical part of the wave, drop into a spitting pit and, after a 4 second barrel, casually ride out over the shoulder and slowly paddle back out for a bit more contemplation on the value of work….I don’t expect to see tighty righty in the line up.

  8. McFlock 9

    I would have fewer reservations if the actual costs were presented, rather than hoping that the increased direct expenditure would be matched by service efficiencies, healthcare savings and and maybe boosted economic activity. It sounds plausible, but the stumbling block for me is that $200/wk * 4mil people = $40Bil per year. Current social welfare expenditure is $25bil.

    We then have the tax rate adjusted to give a tax-free threshold of $10k (UBI level), and things begin to look quite daunting.

    • KJT 9.1

      And current expenditure in putting the poor in jail, treating third world diseases in children, dealing with the after effects of poverty such as poor uptake of education, social dysfunction and alienation, and the lack of money in the community. Is?

      • McFlock 9.1.1

        I’m not sure. I’m not the one advocating the UBI.
        Been doing a bit of googling lately, and the gist on healthcare seems to be 8% reduction in admissions. So that’s another back-of-the-envelope $1.3bil. Law and order?? Let’s say it gets eliminated completely: another $3.5bil.

        So 25+1.3+3.5 = $30bil current expenditure. Still short $10bil.

        If you can provide a rough $cost of lower education attainment, alienation and social dysfunction (surely those last two are a redundancy), that would be great.

        • KJT 9.1.1.1

          Estimates of the cost of child poverty to New Zealand are 6 to 8 billion a year. http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/budget-2013/8667633/Child-poverty-among-Budget-targets

          That is just child poverty.

          Can’t find any figures right away for adult poverty costs, no one seems to care, but they would have to be a least similar.

          • McFlock 9.1.1.1.1

            Sadly, those are costs to NZ, not the govt.

            • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1.1.1

              If you remove those costs to the country at large, you can tax back some of the resulting wealth into the government sector.

            • Matthew Whitehead 9.1.1.1.1.2

              You’re talking like preventing a cost to NZ is not either an indirect or direct benefit to the government. (Assuming that figure isn’t underestimating the benefits, which is common when estimating social costs, that’s just the cost from eliminating child poverty. I imagine a lot of the savings being punted here are also low-balling because we just don’t know what the benefits would be and how they’d flow on. We really need someone to try the system to see!)

              Also, we’re likely to need the UBI less as time goes on because, if run well, it should act as a flattening factor on the wealth curve, (which is how social support works so well in affluent communities) so if worst comes to worse, we can maintain the same tax rates while initially implementing it until many of its savings kick in. (a lot of them wouldn’t eventuate until at least a decade of running the system) Immediately switching to a low-rate linear tax system because you’ve got the basic income is a bit of a right-wing pipe dream I think, not that we couldn’t flatten the tax a bit as time goes on if it works as well as we hope. Our best bet is to account for UBI in the tax curve at first (after removing all the loopholes and most of the other allowances) and then switch to a flatter curve if necessary.

              We probably also won’t need to pay the same amount for adults and kids, as kids share many of the same costs as their parents for transport, housing, appliances, etc… If you pay $100 per week for kids 14 and under, that’s about 5% less cost overall, so that’s only a $13b shortfall under your initial assumptions, or $8b if we account for reduction in admissions and completely removing the law and order budget, lol. (I’d prefer to just say $11.5b myself) Again, I’d much rather just own this cost in figuring out the tax system initally, and then reduce the burden as savings eventuate, but I understand that makes the politics of the system a much harder sell.

              • Crunchtime

                “Immediately switching to a low-rate linear tax system because you’ve got the basic income is a bit of a right-wing pipe dream I think, not that we couldn’t flatten the tax a bit as time goes on if it works as well as we hope.”

                I don’t quite follow what you mean here. Are you saying that switching to a linear income tax system is a “pipe dream” or the “low rate” part is? I’m not sure what you mean by “low rate” either. 30% isn’t exactly low, lol. And I’d say 30-36% would be about right.

                IRD has this lovely income tax calculator here:

                http://www.ird.govt.nz/calculators/tool-name/tools-t/calculator-tax-rate.html

                I just bunged in $50,000 as an example. Result: $8020 paid p/a tax.

                Flat tax of 30%: $15,000. 36%: $18000 (wow, flat/linear tax is a lot easier to calculate).

                A basic income of $11k would mean you’d still be slightly better off. If you earn less, you get taxed less, and the UBI offers even more of a pay boost over current tax rates.

                In other words the UBI acts as a kind of progressive abatment to income tax.

                • With a sufficient intercept, 30% is quite low. A $200/wk UBI with a 30% rate is actually a very light tax system on lower incomes and even some middle income earners. We would take in a lot less overall tax on a 30% UBI from income tax. You can argue that this tax will be offset by the additional capital gains tax, but I think the largest hole in Gareth’s model is that he’s lowering rates for income tax rates for the very rich right off the bat on the back of the CGT, rather than leaving them as is and funding the UBI properly from the get-go, then making rates flatter as it introduces savings.

                  My real issue is that the rate should continue to increase as income increases. A completely flat tax system is a huge gain to right-wingers, even with the intercept. This tax year, someone on a $100,000 income would pay income tax of $23,920.00. Under Gareth Morgan’s UBI with a 30% tax take, they’d pay only $19,564.50. Now, WHEN we’re making the savings that we can afford to return four thousand dollars to the most well-off, sure, they can go on the list. But honestly, I’d rather both the UBI and the rate very high, or set the UBI modestly and curve the rate. (For instance, we could make the tax rate the lesser of 50% of your pre-UBI income or 4% of your pre-UBI income raised to the power of 1.2%. With the same $200/week UBI, this only overtakes the current tax code at about a $60,000 income, and only hits the 50% rate when you start getting into the multiple hundreds of thousands for your salary, making the effective top tax rate trend towards 50% but never quite reach it due to the UBI.

    • KJT 9.2

      What is a more functional society really worth?

      • McFlock 9.2.1

        Priceless.
        But it’s unattainable if we bankrupt ourselves trying to get there.

        • KJT 9.2.1.1

          Granted, but we make sure that progressive taxation covers it.

          Unlike National that borrow for unaffordable tax cuts and then claim a surplus

          Though like Gareth Morgan, and Adam Smith I think we should start to get away from income taxes and towards wealth taxes, resource use taxes and FTT’s.

        • Colonial Viper 9.2.1.2

          Priceless.
          But it’s unattainable if we bankrupt ourselves trying to get there.

          Do you mean cashflow bankrupt or insolvent bankrupt?

          • McFlock 9.2.1.2.1

            I mean having an annual deficit and accrued debt so bad that either funding via taxation or printing cash/bonds will utterly fuck the people in the pocket (albeit in different ways). Not bothered whether that’s by having no money and no work, or simply needing a wheelbarrow to carry the cash needed to buy a loaf of bread.

    • KJT 9.3

      You can also look at super costs. Over 10 billion nominal cost, but the net cost is less than half when you allow for the economic expansion from super, including income tax and GST paid by superannuates and suppliers of downstream goods and services to pensioners.

    • weka 9.4

      “I would have fewer reservations if the actual costs were presented,”

      Again I have to emphasis the version I’ve presented is not complete. There is plenty of room to debate the numbers I’ve used for this example. With roughly 3m adults in this country the UBI at $10k pa adds up to $30b pa. With the average income at $45k over roughly 2 m wage and salary earners the 40% flat tax rate adds up to $38b… so the numbers do potentially add up. I would suggest the rest of govt expenditure could be funded from existing GST and Company Tax and a widened tax base…especially a Financial Transfer Tax (FTT) and a moderate CGT.

      http://thestandard.org.nz/universal-income-revisited/

      • McFlock 9.4.1

        A rough guesstimate with the assumption that the additional $50bil of government expenditure (non-welfare) would be funded by GST (currently $15bil), company tax (>$10bil) and two new taxes we haven’t tried in NZ and have no real idea of what they’d gather. Throw in $20bil in SOE income, and we’re still short $5bil/yr.

        It’s plausible, which is why I merely have reservations rather than calling it bunk. But only borderline plausible. Frankly I’d go with a graduated income tax, social welfare departments that aren’t social warfare departments, and free healthcare (incl dental) and education well before looking at a UBI.

        • KJT 9.4.1.1

          Don’t forget that a large part of that money is returned as extra tax payments.

        • KJT 9.4.1.2

          You may be right. I am positing ideas for discussion, not telling everyone what to do.

          We should look at the pro’s and con’s of any suggested solutions. Including accurate costings.

          However how is it that full and accurate costings are demanded of any ideas from the left while nationals half baked knee jerks do not get the same scrutiny.

          • McFlock 9.4.1.2.1

            lol true.

            I’ve never understood how national have the unmitigated gall to scream “tax&spend! How will you pay for it?!” when they routinely pissed away billions in borrowing every year they’ve been in govt for at least the last 30.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.5

      Your biggest problem (and it affects Morgan as well) is that you’re trying to fit the UBI into the present system and, from what I can make out, that just won’t work. We need to redesign the entire system.

      We need to get away from the idea that government is paid for by taxes. What we need is to have the government creating the money and spending it into the economy with one such spending being the UBI. The value of our money would then be maintained through taxes – essentially taxes would be the destruction of money.

      Here’s a flow chart.

      • Colonial Viper 9.5.1

        The value of our money would then be maintained through taxes – essentially taxes would be the destruction of money.

        Although it is not the “destruction of money” which lends money it’s value and credibility. It is the obligation imposed by the Government to pay the taxes it requires from you in its chosen unit of account (the NZD).

        • Draco T Bastard 9.5.1.1

          Although it is not the “destruction of money” which lends money it’s value and credibility.

          No, it’s the limited amount of it. One of the points here is that government creation of money an the taxes are used to prevent an over accumulation of money (which is actually encouraged and facilitated in the present system).

      • KatyBess 9.5.2

        OMG, Draco, you are a social crediter! Welcome to the family. Yes, yes, and yes – we need to reclaim the power to create and control our money supply for the public good. That way, we can have full social services, state owned utilities and a basic income for everyone.

        Money is a human construct that we should make work for us instead of all of us working for money. have a look at http://www.democrats.org.nz and see what we are talking about.

    • “Current social welfare expenditure is $25bil”

      Hi McFlock,

      I could only find a link to a table for the 2012 budget expenditure on social welfare (on Interest.co). From that table, it looks like $9.6 bn is on NZ Super. Presuming that stays as is, the UBI would be for 4 million minus about 575,000 (at this link), or 3.425 million.

      3.425 million times 200/wk (or $10,400/annum) = $35.6bn

      With NZ Super that would be about $45bn

      So, that sounds worse. But, if expressed as a percentage of GDP and then compared to other countries it does not look so undoable. Here’s a graph of 2009 social expenditure for OECD countries. New Zealand comes in at about 21%. Denmark has about 33% social expenditure. Now I haven’t looked at the make up of ‘social expenditure’, but if the aim – on the left at least – is to emulate countries like Denmark and Sweden in terms of social provision, then NZ has quite a bit of room to move.

      Current and historic GDP is shown here. Latest figure on that graphic is about $160bn GDP. 33% of that is about $53bn.

      As I said, room to move, perhaps. The idea that a left agenda should fit within current budget for social provision seems a bit perverse.

      • McFlock 9.6.1

        ah, thanks puddlegum – couldn’t find the pension stats yesterday. Mind blank.

        I’m not arguing that we shouldn’t increase social expenditure (probably includes health ans education, is my bet), my point is that there’s a significant increase in proposed expenditure and the the proponents seem to want to fund it by assuming a flat tax, an FTT and a CGT will make up the difference.

        My personal inclination is to have a UBI as a distant and negotiable objective. Start by adding more tax brackets for the higher incomes, and introducing modest FTT & CGT. See how much they generate. Spend the excess on health, housing, social welfare and education (cutting fees and increasing allowance/loan eligibility, lower loan interest rates). Then just phase up the tax-free bracket and gradually lower income tax rates, while gradually increasing the rates on FTT and CGT. That’ll give us data on how things might behave. Do it over 10 years.

        • Crunchtime 9.6.1.1

          I would be inclined towards something more dramatic than that.

          Introduce the UBI and flatten tax rates to pay for it.

          Eliminate abject poverty and give the economy a big shot in the arm at the same time.

          A favourite website of mine, wonderful graphics that give you a real idea of where the money goes in NZ right now: http://www.wheresmytaxes.co.nz/

          Superannuation takes close to half the MSD budget, followed by DPB, Student Loans, Invalid’s Benefit, Accomodation Assistance. Unemployment Benefit comes in at 6th largest expenditure for MSD budget. Less than 1% of total tax take.

          • McFlock 9.6.1.1.1

            Introduce the UBI and flatten tax rates to pay for it.

            Eliminate abject poverty and give the economy a big shot in the arm at the same time.

            Unless the UBI doesn’t actually work in practise, so we end up like Greece or the Weimar Republic.

            Even if it does work in the longer term, a seismic shift like that in the economy will squish people. Rogernomics also caused problems because the economy changed more quickly than some people could keep up with, so quite a few farmers (for example) ended up losing everything and topping themselves.

            • Crunchtime 9.6.1.1.1.1

              Please explain how flushing the lower end of the socioeconomic scale (“flushing” in relative terms, it won’t actually be huge amounts of dough) will “squish” anyone.

              It will be potentially quite tough for the IRD and WINZ as a lot of bureaucratic complexity will be eliminated.

              As for going bankrupt… that depends how well the numbers are run in the first place, and how well it’s implemented. Even then, it would take several years of abject failure before we reach Greek proportions of debt.

              • McFlock

                It’s an economic transition. We have no real idea where the dollar will go, for example – if it increases 20c, then a whole bunch of exporters will lose millions.

                Then there’s interest rates, and the basic geographic redistribution of cash. Someone well-leveraged at the moment has a faaaaarrr-left coalition come in in 2014 that does a revolutionary UBI/FTT/CGT/flat tax/wealth tax transition inside a year, all of a sudden they’re massively over-leveraged and the business is going under. A little bit more time would give them the opportunity to adapt their business to the changing climate, rather than shut up shop immediately. And that’s even if the new system is sustainable and equitable in the long term.

                • KJT

                  I tend to go with McFlock here.

                  Too rapid a transition can have very harmful effects, no matter how effective the final goal..

                  Changing anything without a full idea of the downstream affects should be approached with caution, using the best information, prototyping (Like the mincome experiment), obtaining consent from most of the community along the way, and a careful eye on results.

                  Unlike the way Rogernomics was forced on us in 1984. Because Milton Friedman and his cargo cultists thought it was a good idea.

                  Another argument for BCIR, so that a knee jerk set of politicians cannot reverse changes at whim after 3 years.

                  For example we could start with a tax free threshold, removing GST, a more progressive income tax and welfare rates which reflect costs.

                  Reversing the present approach of “trickle up”, setting welfare rates below costs to try and force people into employers shitty underpaid jobs, and destroying and selling off infrastructure.

                  The next Labour Green Government will be doing much of this anyway, if they are serious about reversing the wreckage of 35 years of crony capitalism and neo-liberalism.

    • Crunchtime 9.7

      Flat income tax – Gareth Morgan covered that pretty well.

      I don’t understand why you started talking a tax-free threshold of 10k. Don’t give any tax-free threshold. A UBI should already give more than 10k/yr in the hand after tax.

      If tax abatement is removed and everyone pays 30-36% income tax, they basically don’t miss it, there’s no “upper tax bracket”, and everyone under about 60k is still better off because the money they get from a UBI more than makes up for the extra tax they pay.

      As Gareth Morgan put it, it actually gives more incentive to earn MORE money because a 10% pay raise is 10% no matter how much you’re earning without any thresholds to worry about.

      Morgan also recommended a CGT, but his brand of CGT is where I disagree with him. He was saying something along the lines of taxing the first $30k/year or first 100k or something, I don’t care how much it was, it’s a regressive tax and I disagree with it. Labour’s CGT proposal is a better one.

      • Draco T Bastard 9.7.1

        A UBI should already give more than 10k/yr in the hand after tax.

        The UBI isn’t taxed and doing so would eliminate it’s ability to bring about progressive taxation with a flat tax.

        He was saying something along the lines of taxing the first $30k/year or first 100k or something, I don’t care how much it was, it’s a regressive tax and I disagree with it.

        I suggest you go back an re-read what he wrote because what you wrote there has no conjunction with what Morgan said.

        • Crunchtime 9.7.1.1

          Apologies, either I’m mixing it up in my head with something else or I completely misinterpreted Morgan’s proposed Capital Tax.

          It seems he wasn’t interested in a Capital Gains tax at all, more a direct Capital Tax. I’m still very apprehensive about it and not at all sure whether it is a better taxing model than Labour’s CGT. My feeling is that taxing gain or profit is a better idea than just taxing ownership of wealth and then offsetting that against expenses, as Morgan suggests.

          Either way I don’t have a strong opinion without having a lot more information at my disposal. The main point is that Capital-related taxes are one alternative way to finance a UBI.

  9. James 10

    [deleted]

    [lprent: Currently banned. added an extra week to the 25th and added to auto-spam.

    Another netiquette is that if banned then it is inadvisable to comment prior to the end of the ban. Normally I'd just double the ban on *every* comment. But treat this as your warning. Have you read the policy yet? ]

  10. emergency mike 11

    So… I would actually be able to do what I want with my life? Weird…

    • Chooky 11.1

      @ emergency mike.:…. “I would actually be able to do what I want with my life? Weird….”

      ….In my dream world : ….IMO a UBI would be fantastic …ie more time to make a garden and grow your own veges…..home cook/preserving/jam and pickle making…look after kids, friends , or others in the community/…time for sport and holidays …get involved in art …or winemaking …. cheesemaking ….learn a skill…time and financial security to embark on a new education/ career etc etc..

      ….more like simpler olden times…..less need for fast convenience foods and instant stress relievers…give caregivers financial dignity ….give artists time and financial relief to pursue their art…enable time to enable a more caring society

      …probably reduce costs for prison population and mental health costs from stress etc

      Everyone could be a winner and richer in the best possible way…would create a more egalitarian society …one of the best things Gareth Morgan has advocated for

  11. Sable 12

    I doubt anyone would willingly want to stay on a UBI. Its little more than a bare basics proposition that would help people who for whatever reason could not find work or were unable to work. An enhanced benefit of sorts.

    Its always been a good idea for a variety of reasons, personal dignity, reduces crimes of desperation, social poverty and mental illness that is often its by product.

    Of course, crap bags like National abhor the idea as they then have no one to blame for their gross incompetence and usury.

  12. beatie 13

    I think a UBI would be far better then the present system. For me it means I would be able to work (relief teaching) when I am well and not have the stress of trying to work when I have a ‘flare-up’ (rheumatoid arthritis) At the moment when I earn over the allowable threshold I stop because it’s not worth the hassle with Winz. The present system seems to assume that people are either fully employed or have no work. It is poorly designed for those who have part-time or casual work. Hopefully it would also remove the stigma and the judgmental attitudes of those who don’t have a clue about how chronic disease affect people.

  13. srylands 14

    I think a UBI is a good idea. … but I have not seen costings. A basic level, just to keep people a step up from absolute poverty is the way to go. Couple with a flat tax, and other policy settings designed to promote asset (including share) ownership and high levels of growth. Make New Zealand wealthy.

    A UBI is a good alternative to the current welfare system but it needs to incentivise effort and be coupled with the full range of policies to go for growth. Low tax, low regulation, widespread asset ownership.

    On older people – NZ super is barely enough to live on – but what helps a lot of old folk is they have high levels of home ownership. End up at 70 as a renter with no savings and NZ super does not look so flash.

    • KJT 14.1

      We have had 35 years now of low tax and low regulation.

      While countries with higher taxes, Government intervention and regulation have forged ahead of us by all measures.

      Where is the growth?

      “widespread asset ownership” I take it, from that statement, you have now changed your mind about selling assets owned by 100% of us to less than 2%.

      • srylands 14.1.1

        ““widespread asset ownership” I take it, from that statement, you have now changed your mind about selling assets owned by 100% of us to less than 2%.”

        No I am talking about ownership like Australia -when you retire you are getting dividends in the mail, and your super assets are share based.

        You don’t own SOEs. The Crown owns them.

        “While countries with higher taxes, Government intervention and regulation have forged ahead of us by all measures.”

        Regulation is only growth enhancing of it is high quality regulation. Getting it right is very difficult.

        Are you really sure that overall tax levels (or siize of the public sector) is positively correlated to economic performance in the OECD over the last 20 years? What is your evidence? And please don’t say “Australia” – Australia’s public sector is smaller than NZ’s, even including all levels of government in Australia.

        I thought the evidence was that there was not a strong correlation between the size of the public sector and growth. What is important is the design of the tax system, and the quality of regulation. Apart from France (a terrible performer) there are no OECD countries moving in the direction of higher marginal tax rates. Also, all OECD countries (again except France) are making a concerted effort to lift the quality of regulation.

        • Colonial Viper 14.1.1.1

          No I am talking about ownership like Australia -when you retire you are getting dividends in the mail, and your super assets are share based.

          its ridiculous to have your retirement assets in shares.

          Shares can crash and go bye-bye, sometimes within months, sometimes over weeks, very occasionally within a few days.

        • KJT 14.1.1.2

          Actually if you compare by the per capita size of the public sector those whose public sector spends the most per capita have the highest growth.

          Some cases like Switzerland and Australia and Norway the higher public sector spend has been extremely successful in growing the economy to the point where the private sector has become a greater percentage of the economy.

          Conversely, Every country which has gone for austerity in State spending has gone down the tubes rapidly. Which is why the IMF are now telling them to stop cutting.

          It always amuses me when Singapore is touted as a triumph of the “free market”. The whole place is run as a giant SOE. Very few places are as controlled by Government, as Singapore.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 14.2

      While it’s good to see some common ground, I think the best way to settle the differences between you is an evidence based approach.

      KJT has cited unnamed countries (I can hazard several guesses at which ones), but can Srylands?

      As Warren Buffett has recently pointed out, high taxes never deterred investment nor growth – cf: US history, and low regulation is a faceless bureaucratic serial killer, cf: Earth.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.3

      Couple with a flat tax, and other policy settings designed to promote asset (including share) ownership and high levels of growth. Make New Zealand wealthy.

      No, that would continue to make the majority poor while a few get very, very rich.

      • srylands 14.3.1

        No – the new wealth would trickle down to the poor. Everyone will be betetr off. We need to go for growth. Redistributing wealth in a stagnant state dominated slug fest will make us a laughing stock at APEC meetings. Imagine when the Finance Minister turns up to give his annual policy report at APEC and says “We increased marginal tax rates and we are “intervening” more”. He would miss out on the goofy shirt.

        • Draco T Bastard 14.3.1.1

          No – the new wealth would trickle down to the poor.

          Trickle Down has always resulted more in Trickle Up with the resulting increase in poverty to go with it.

          Redistributing wealth in a stagnant state dominated

          Actually, it’s the state that pushes innovation.

          And to be honest, I really couldn’t careless what APEC thinks. Why would I when they’re still following the delusional free-market BS that’s just been proven to be wrong?

          • srylands 14.3.1.1.1

            What APEC thinks will highly motivate the Finance Minister in the incoming Labour-Green Government.

            I would rather deal in reality than make believe.

            • Draco T Bastard 14.3.1.1.1.1

              They’re the ones dealing in make-believe along with most economists and political leaders. This is the problem that’s getting in the way of the needed changes.

              • srylands

                “This is the problem that’s getting in the way of the needed changes.”

                I am simply saying that the role of regional and international economic institutions like APEC and OECD will remain predominant under teh incoming Labour-Green Government. You will not have a Labour Finance Minister going along to APEC meetings telling his counterparts their policies are fundamentally wrong. NZ is not going to walk away from those forums. You are wasting your time if you are assuming othwerwise.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  I wasn’t assuming otherwise, I was pointing out that we should walk away from those institutions.

                  • srylands

                    “I was pointing out that we should walk away from those institutions.” Walk away from the OECD? You are a joke.

                    Can you please persuade the Greens to adopt this as policy?

                • KJT

                  We probably will not need to walk away.

                  Even the IMF are now admitting they were wrong about policies such as “austerity”.

                  Unlike Srylands, there are people in those organisations intelligent enough to know the neo-liberal paradigm is not working.

        • KJT 14.3.1.2

          I didn’t think anyone still believed in the “trickle down effect” after 35 years of waiting for it to work. I think it is time we laid that idea to rest.

          Cutting taxes for the rich has not resulted in more productive investment.

          Investment in New Zealand industry has been dropping rapidly since 1984.

          The USA had their period of highest prosperity when the top tax rate was 91%. FFS.

          We gave the rich more money and they used it for Hawaii holidays and speculation in existing assets. Notably, in New Zealand, pushing up land prices so we cannot afford houses or farms.

          That rushing sound with trickle down is simply the rich pissing on the poor.

          • Colonial Viper 14.3.1.2.1

            I didn’t think anyone still believed in the “trickle down effect” after 35 years of waiting for it to work. I think it is time we laid that idea to rest.

            We have to recognise the natural flow of money and financial assets in a capitalist economy. It is from the poorest, upwards to those who control and own the capital and the assets in an economy.

            The role of Government is not to help and accelerate this process (fuck you National), but to act to redirect and transfer that momentum and build a strong inclusive society despite of it.

      • srylands 14.3.2

        New Zealand has about 10 people who are very very rich.

        • McFlock 14.3.2.1

          And how many are living in abject poverty on $200,000 per year, by your estimate?

          • alwyn 14.3.2.1.1

            I would think they all were.
            After all how is one going to keep the Gulfstream jet going, or even be able to replace the Bugatti Veyron when the ashtray was full? God it must be hell to be as poor as that.
            ****Just joking****.
            He’s actually got a ridiculously high figure in mind when he gives a figure of 10 people though.
            That, according to the NBR rich list, means over $800 million which would provide you with an income of at least $100,000 per day.

          • srylands 14.3.2.1.2

            $200,000 per year is comfortable but hardly “very very rich”

            If you live in Auckland in a decent suburb and have a couple of kids I think $200,000 is the minimum income you could have and lead a decent lifestyle – i.e a decent house, a car, putting aside some money for returement and a holiday with the kids every year.

            $200,000 would not allow you extras like a luxury car, a decent boat, and overseas holidays. For that you would need an income of $350,000 +

            • srylands 14.3.2.1.2.1

              I would add that after the first couple of years of the wage inflation we will get from a mandated “living wage”, $200,000 per year will not go very far at all.

              • McFlock

                you’re a joke.

                • srylands

                  More rudeness.

                • alwyn

                  Did you ever see that Australian film “The Castle”
                  The best response to srylands is probably the line out of that movie.
                  “Tell him he’s dreaming”

                  • Greywarbler

                    alwyn
                    No srylands likes coming here because people take him seriously and make him feel like an important and real person. He is a bloggo-masochist. Possibly some political student could, to earn some extra money, run a phone political-talk service for people who want to be insulted. I Think Therefore I Am is the background to this need, in spades, when it comes to such people.

                  • McFlock

                    I just love how he’s completely out of touch with literally 80-90% of people in NZ. Absolutely no idea of how people live. I mean, I’m no expert, but this guy takes “no idea” to beyond Aaron Gilmour levels.

                    • Wayne

                      An interesting issue; what is the level that most people in NZ think of as being rich?

                      I always think that it is the Lotto top level prize. For most people $10 million will free them from daily cares, can give them a comfortable lifestyle and will make work an option. So lets say out of the $10 million, $5million is spent on a house, cars etc and for family (adult siblings, parents, adult children), leaving $5million invested. That gives an annual income of $250,000.

                      That is why $10 million is the top level prize. The US clearly has a different perspective since their top prizes tend to be over $50 million.

                      Of course $10 million is not rich in the sense of private jets, large yachts etc, but not many NZer’s have those kinds of aspirations.

                      It also signifies where a high tax rate ought to cut in.

                      On one of my posts, I postulated two higher tax rates that a real left wing govt would implement.

                      The first is the standard higher rate that Labour likes, which is 39%. If you took the Helen Clark level and adjusted it for inflation, it would cut in around $100,000.

                      But if you want to also get to actual high income earners, there is a case for a higher rate of say 45% at $250,000. This is going to get corporate execs, big city lawyers, finance people etc. In short all the people that Labour thinks of as being rich (well, to be fair in the view of many NZer’s).

                      Going above 50% is risky, since there is a deep antagonism if people think they pay more than half their income to the Govt. Contemporary France being a case in point.

                    • felix

                      “Most people”?

                      Jeez, most people in this country live on less than 50k per year, many far less.

                      srylands is a fucking idiot and doesn’t know jack about anything – he doesn’t even know what the gst rate is ffs- but Wayne, you were a cabinet minister.

                      You know what most people live on. You have no excuse for spouting this bullshit.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Going above 50% is risky, since there is a deep antagonism if people think they pay more than half their income to the Govt. Contemporary France being a case in point.

                      Wayne, as you well know, a 50% top tax rate would only be applied to the additional marginal dollar earned. Say over $250K pa.

                      The effective income tax rate for these people will still sit between 30% and 40% for all but the most massive earners (say those earning well over $1M pa).

                    • KJT

                      Note that there were the same objections to the original introduction, and every extension since, of social security, the unemployment benefit, sickness beneift, ACC and the DPB.

                      1. “We cannot afford it”
                      2. “People would stop working”
                      3. “It will bankrupt the country”.

                      Over time these have all proven to be wrong.
                      http://werewolf.co.nz/2011/02/ten-myths-about-welfare/

                      We could afford it . In fact ACC is so affordable it is accumulating money, instead of paying claims, for some reason, probably to do with National’s mates getting their greedy hands on the surplus in future.

                      State social security and welfare have proven to be much cheaper than private provision.

                      Christchurch has shown how unreliable and inefficient private provision of insurance often is. social welfare is a mutual insurance, if you like.

                      A UBI should involve replacing all current welfare payments, including ACC and super at a liveable rate.

                      And, as mentioned above, a lessor rate for under 16’s living at home.

                    • Wayne

                      Felix,

                      I know average wages are around $50,000. Of course per capita incomes are lower, since they cover citizens, children, those on NS and those on benefits.

                      My point is the level of capital and income that most NZer’s would regard as rich.

                      And Colonial Viper, I do know the meaning of marginal tax rates, so of course I was only talking about income above $250,000. But I stand by my point that once you go to a 50% rate, you get a level of political reaction that you would not get at 45%. And it influences people who are not on $250,000, but imagine they could be.

                    • felix

                      No, you said the amount that would make work optional.

                      Stop shifting the goalposts, Wayne.

                    • Greywarbler

                      I agree with that point that Wayne makes. Taxing at 50% or over so that government is making as much or more from each marginal dollar earned is not a good system based on fair treatment for everbody. And I actually think that everyone should be paying some tax say at 5%, once over age 18 or something, to protect pocket money, students and young ones trying to get established. You pay tax as is reasonable and fair, and you are helping to support the economy that supports you, and is run to give you opportunities to do well, should be the basic reasoning.

                      Wealthy people should be contributing through GST, through taxes on house profits, through stamp duty, and some estate and gift duty, Tobin tax on financial transactions – a smorgasbord of possibilities.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      But I stand by my point that once you go to a 50% rate, you get a level of political reaction that you would not get at 45%.

                      Can you point to this type of reaction from when we had a top tax rate of 66%?

                      The only people who whinge about taxes are the rich and it really doesn’t seem to matter what the rate is – they’ll always say that it’s too much.

              • Crunchtime

                What inflation from a living wage? Cite your sources.

  14. Wayne 15

    The UBI seems to me to be something of a crazy idea.

    We have NS because people over 65 are not expected to work.

    But people between 18 and 65, to a greater or lesser extent, are expected to work.

    Reasons not to work are child raising duties, sickness, disability, and unemployment. Of course in a capitalist society there are some people with enough income generating assets that they might not need to work.

    So a system of UBI that fundamentally cuts across this expectation of work seems not sensible. There is too big a risk that there will be enough people, if they had a guarantee of an income at say NS levels, who would choose not to work, even though they could. In essence they would choose to live off their fellow taxpayers without any obligation to them. But if enough people make this choice, there is a huge risk there will not be enough taxes to provide this option.

    Not to speak of the problem of undermining the social contract that currently underpins the welfare system.

    I am hardly surprised that Greens are interested in this, it seems eccentric enough for them.

    But if Labour entertains it, well all I can say is enjoy a few more years in opposition.

    • srylands 15.1

      “The UBI seems to me to be something of a crazy idea. “\

      I am not sure. If you set it at a bare subsistence level and get rid of WINZ it should be OK. I have said $15,000 but nmaybe $10,000 is the better option. If someone wants to live on $10,000 good luck with that.

      I would not set it at NZ Super levels. I think raising NZ super is the way to go but introduce it at 70. We should all be able to work till 70.

      • lprent 15.1.1

        We should all be able to work till 70.

        Ah no. What kind of fantasy world do you live in?

        My parents turned 70 3 years ago – born in 1939. By the time that they’d turned 70 they’d had three knees replaced, two ankles, a set of rubbing shoulder tendons teflonized, and some nerves zapped in a heart in a beta test to get rid of debilitating arrhythmia that had consigned my mother to her bed for a year. Neither spent much of their life as manual workers and had spent most of their working lives as various types of managers.

        My various relatives who do manual work have their bodies wear out even faster.

        Now I may be able to keep programming until I’m 70 and I’m determined to give it a damn good try – unlike Mike Smith I hate golf. But like r0b I’ve already had several close encounters with various types of OOS – our common occupational disease. My eyes have been changing relatively rapidly and I’m wandering around with several sets of glasses to get 20:20 at different ranges. I’ve had a nice myocardial infarction and a stent – probably mostly due to a sedentary lifestyle that is likely to cause problems over the next 17 years… The real question is if I get one of those nice interesting diseases that makes my vague short-term memory but deep long-term memory imbalance any worse…

        In other words you’re full of crap. It is a stretch for many people to get to 70 while working. Push it to 70 and most people my age will start asking what in the hell we’ve been paying for all of these years. My mandatory superannuation contribution since 1976 has been in the order of half a million dollars *before* you count the time value of money into it.

        So far it has gone to paying for other people. This was in fact a daft policy foisted on me by a National party using short-sighted demographics back in the 70’s. The mere fact that we’ve had idiots like yourself consistently voting to spend that money on tax cuts for the affluent is completely irrelevant.

        Trying to push the super level up next time will just result in a government being voted in who will raise taxes on the National supporters who grew wealthy and accumulated non-liquid assets. Time they payed our funds back.. As this government hasn’t been accumulating the funds to cope with the age bulge – I suspect that is what is going to happen anyway.

        • karol 15.1.1.1

          yes, I think many people are worn out and/or burnt out by their mid-60s.

          I like the idea of working part time til I’m 70. I’m on my 2nd career having given up the energy-intensive teaching carer. This week, somehow, many of the things I’ve been doing in my 2nd career have seemed to gain traction, with people commending some of the things I do well in that job and offering me extra work in that area – opening up some possibilities for some freelance work.

          So I’ve been running around doing some extra work, with no time to spend on my planned personal, non-paid research projects…. and I’m a bit tired. This is not what I had in mind for my 2nd career. It seems hard to work only part time doing something interesting and useful.

          The whole work system needs restructuring so people don’t necessarily burn out early, can work less than a 40 hour week throughout their work lives, and so there is enough work for all those that want it. UBI could help with that re-visioning.

          • srylands 15.1.1.1.1

            “UBI could help with that re-visioning.”

            Has any country in the world successfully introduced a UBI?

            • felix 15.1.1.1.1.1

              Has any country in the world attained success without one?

              (Yes, I’m asking you to define “success”. Without this definition your question is meaningless.)

            • Colonial Viper 15.1.1.1.1.2

              Has any country in the world successfully introduced a UBI?

              We did, for those 60 and over.

        • Greywarbler 15.1.1.2

          I’ll just mention Lynn that I read that a dietitian found that the need for Vitamin A rose with increased neon light levels and screen watching. It may be that a bit of extra would be good through food rich in Vit A or careful doses of VitA and D in suitable proportions and not too high Vit A as its retained and accumulates in th body.

        • Macro 15.1.1.3

          And if your Maori and male – well forget it!

    • weka 15.2

      “So a system of UBI that fundamentally cuts across this expectation of work seems not sensible. There is too big a risk that there will be enough people, if they had a guarantee of an income at say NS levels, who would choose not to work, even though they could. In essence they would choose to live off their fellow taxpayers without any obligation to them. But if enough people make this choice, there is a huge risk there will not be enough taxes to provide this option.”

      Wayne, what evidence do you have that a UBI would mean lots of people would choose not to work?

      • karol 15.2.1

        Well it’s more likely there’d be little incentive to do low paid work for employers that exploit their workers and don’t produce anything of great value to a large section of the community..

        It’d mean that employers would need to provide work that contribute to the community and/or provides an incentive for people to work for them.

      • Draco T Bastard 15.2.2

        what evidence do you have that a UBI would mean lots of people would choose not to work?

        None as the Mincome experiment showed – people kept working. Wayne’s real problem with a UBI is that it will drive wages up and arsehole bosses won’t be able to employ anybody at all as people will actually have a choice. IMO, a UBI will increase the amount of cooperatives as people look to work with people they like.

        • srylands 15.2.2.1

          “it will drive wages up”

          bullshit

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 15.2.2.2

          Not quite:

          from Wikipedia:

          …only new mothers and teenagers worked substantially less. Mothers with newborns stopped working because they wanted to stay at home longer with their babies, and teenagers worked less because they weren’t under as much pressure to support their families, which resulted in more teenagers graduating. In addition, those who continued to work were given more opportunities to choose what type of work they did. Forget found that in the period that Mincome was administered, hospital visits dropped 8.5 per cent, with fewer incidences of work-related injuries, and fewer emergency room visits from car accidents and domestic abuse. Additionally, the period saw a reduction in rates of psychiatric hospitalization, and in the number of mental illness-related consultations with health professionals.

          • Roy 15.2.2.2.1

            Looking after a newborn IS work, especially if you are recovering from a delivery and lactating. Studying in school IS work, especially if you are also coping with rapid physical growth.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 15.2.3

        Wayne, please answer Weka’s question: where’s your evidence? Have you looked for evidence that would contradict your opinion like an intelligent person would?

        If you have, you might have come across the Mincome experiment.

        Sure, there is a drop in employment among new mothers and young people, and a corresponding lift in graduation rates, and fall in hospital admissions.

        Can you see an advantage to having more kids completing their education? Or are you going to stick with your ideology?

    • Puddleglum 15.3

      So a system of UBI that fundamentally cuts across this expectation of work seems not sensible.

      I think your analysis is a bit too simplistic, Wayne.

      For example, have you heard of the ‘hedonic treadmill’? There’s debate over it and the basic idea has been modified but, nevertheless, as a rough rule of thumb it appears to be broadly true.

      That is, people habituate (come to take for granted) improvements in material circumstances and other conditions. That leads them to seek further experiences (including increased living standards) to provide an improved sense of wellbeing.

      It is often used to explain why people and populations continue to produce and consume more material goods while not rating their wellbeing any higher, over time.

      Applied to the proposition of a UBI, it suggests that the motivation to work (and certainly to be active and creative/productive) would not be undercut because that motivation (to be active and productive) does not come solely from avoiding destitution: It comes from the never-ending pursuit of wellbeing.

      Beyond that concept, there’s also the fact that human motivation has evolved to be highly attuned to social expectations. Given a stable social world (which, admittedly, tends to be undercut by the logic of capitalist imperatives) humans are sensitive to being judged/evaluated negatively. So, in such stable arrangements, the strategy of ‘social loafing’ is difficult as others will be well aware of who is and isn’t pulling their weight.

      Further, as intelligent cognitive and social animals humans naturally seek out novel and interesting experiences and, given the opportunity, engage in highly creative play behaviour.

      A UBI may well provide just the right conditions for that inherent human tendency to be expressed in all sorts of innovative ways since it provides a setting of safety and security that encourages this creative, playful approach to the world. That approach is also known to allow for the development of skills and social capacities and is, therefore, absolutely central to being human.

      In fact, when I think about what is now known about the nature of human nature, it could only be in an environment that utterly distorts that nature – e.g., by exhausting human beings with tedious, repetitive ‘work’ that provided no expression for that creative, inquisitive and playful nature and then proceeded to dull the pain of that ‘work’ with passive, predictable media experiences all lived out in a socially fractured world of transient relationships – that a UBI could possibly cut “across this expectation of work” …

      Oh, I see what you mean.

      That’s what you’re afraid of – that people would take the chance to avoid just such an environment that is so out of tune with human nature? Got ya.

      Then again, maybe out of the ashes of that unfortunate environment something more amenable to human nature might emerge?

  15. Crunchtime 16

    ” Has any country in the world successfully introduced a UBI?”

    Yes.

    • alwyn 16.1

      Which countries do have this system? And this is a serious question. I am interested in looking at them to see what way the went..

      • KJT 16.1.1

        Several resource rich countries have UBI.

        Not really helpful to our discussion though, as they are rather different.

        Because of their wealth their UBI are at a level which really does make working unnecessary. And continuation of the economy after the resources run out, difficult. Like Nauru.

        Being the first to try it is not necessarily an argument against.

        New Zealand, in the past was the first with many social initiatives. Most have been rather successful.

        I have talked to many people who regard our ACC system as an ideal model, for one, and regret that politics and vested interest prevent a similar system in their own countries.

        As a bit of a thought experiment: Consider how much faster the USA may have recovered from the GFC, if they had used the “printed money” that bailed out the banks for a UBI, instead of giving it to the finance sector to continue to play silly games with.

    • KJT 16.2

      We have for over 65’s.

  16. Crunchtime 17

    there are already references in the original article to working examples of a UBI. Unfortunately no country has been brave enough to do so on an adequate scale, but there are exmples of it here.

    en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income

  17. Chooky 18

    @ Iprent re arrhythmia and your Mum…arrhythmia can be caused by mercury fillings…i know of two people ( one was a lawyer with a pacemaker ) who have had their mercury fillings removed and been chelated for mercury poisoning and their heart irregular beat problems have disappeared. It is possible to be tested for mercury overload

    @ karol “many people are worn out and/or burnt out by their mid-60s”………Agree with you ….it shows the real need for a UBI….so people can choose a more healthful balance in their lives….and not drop almost dead by the time their retirement comes around…a UBI could save on hospital and other medical care

    • lprent 18.1

      Not in this case. Just had a couple of pacemaker nerves firing out of phase in a ventricle. They did some endoscopic surgery into the heart and fried the off-beat ones. Worked spectacularly well.

  18. Crunchtime 19

    Overlooked in all this is that the current regime includes a DISincentive to work. It’s called the Unemployment Benefit.

    If you don’t work and register as a “job seeker”, you get money. If you’re on the Unemployment Benefit, it gets taken away from you when you start earning more than an utter pittance: $80.

    The incentive is to either get an under-the-table job and commit “benefit fraud”, or simply feel utterly demoralised and don’t work at all. An indolent and utterly unfulfilling life.

    A UBI removes the disincentive to work. It doesn’t change anything for people already on the unemployment benefit now: except YOU DON’T GET PENALISED FOR WORKING.

    I’m surprised nobody has mentioned this yet…

    • srylands 19.1

      “I’m surprised nobody has mentioned this yet…”

      That is the main reason it is a good idea. But I don’t buy the line that everyone can have a UBI and live like flower children. In NZ it would be a Basic income – designed to replace the welfare system. But at the end of the day a UBI is welfare. We are saying yep you can stay on welfare forever if you are happy with that. No work test no hassle no abatement no means test no nothing. But it is still welfare. It is just set and forget welfare. So we can get rid of the WINZ machine.

      • Crunchtime 19.1.1

        Of course it would be a basic income. That’s why it’s called a Universal Basic Income.

        Welfare: as in faring well. That’s what we want everyone to do, right? People falling through the cracks is why our streets are filling with beggars. I counted 6 beggars on Willis St the other day. There were zero in pretty much the whole city 6 years ago. This is unconscionable. Something has to change.

        I would definitely be keen on a UBI set closer to the current dole payment than say the super payment… so that it’s (verifiably) enough to survive on, but if you want to live well, want to take advantage of the wonders of a modern capitalist society, then there’s your incentive to work.

        This should also keep nasty right-winger bene bashers at least somewhat mollified that nobody’s getting too much of a “free ride”.

      • Chooky 19.1.2

        @sryland….with a UBI….you might feel less pressured to earn the BIG BUCK….and feel relaxed enough to take some time off work ….and get on your bike …grow some veges….do some meditation…..come to the wisdom that we don’t need BIG Motorways for more rushing around…..you might live to be into your 90s like a flower child…or 103 like the Queen Mother with her gins and homeopathics and corgis….

        ….you are on the way….little baby steps….. you should commended for wanting to get rid of the WINZ machine!

      • Roy 19.1.3

        It differs from welfare in that it assumes that everyone has a basic worth just for existing. Some of us love that concept, but the righties generally hate it because they prefer the idea that being poor is some kind of divine punishment.

        • Crunchtime 19.1.3.1

          I don’t think you can even pigeonhole that belief as right-wing.

          It’s a myth perpetuated by the right for sure, but it seems to be really pervasive in NZ. Perhaps because of the puritan backgrounds of our ancestors.

          The argument seems to go that if you’re poor that means you aren’t working hard enough. And of course by extension, all people with high incomes are assumed to be working hard.

          Unfortunately this is built on a very flawed assumption: that hard work is always well paid – or paid at all.

          As part of that assumption is this concept that any work that isn’t paid actually isn’t worth anything.

          It’s all a big fat fairytale, someone needs to wake up these dreamers.

          • Roy 19.1.3.1.1

            Oddly, the higher my salary has risen as I have moved from job opportunity to job opportunity, from $80K to $125K, the lower my workload has been. I can only assume a CEO does nothing at all.

    • Macro 19.2

      “A UBI removes the disincentive to work. It doesn’t change anything for people already on the unemployment benefit now: except YOU DON’T GET PENALISED FOR WORKING.”

      Yes that’s a very important point. A point those like Wayne fail to see, because they think that everyone will suddenly want to stop working when in fact nothing could be further from the truth. And those who maybe do stop working in a “job” would be adding to society in much more creative ways.

  19. Tiger Mountain 20

    Work is what most of us do everyday, paid, unpaid, underpaid (often). UBI is a classic solution to the stigma of ‘welfare’ plus Pulla Benefat would be on it too! No more need for her punishment system or her job. The core point for me is the abatement angle.

    Something has to be done there are more beggars in my neighborhood too as Chrunchtime notes upthread.

    • KJT 20.1

      Exactly.

      That we have people who are inadequately fed and housed, in a country with more than enough resources and wealth to feed and house all of our people, is a disgrace.

  20. aerobubble 21

    Artwork, once the artist dies, racks in millions… …the rich argue because they rack in millions they shouldn’t be paying as much tax… …obviously there’s a huge story here. That the value of money isn’t based on how hard one works, how competent one is, how unique, rather our current cultural practice is that once you have huge wealth you have a right to hold on to it indefinitely, creating a dynasty. The more bland the argument, the more stupidly rich, the more valuable your input, your worth to society is.

    A universal income is essential for a fair society, but without a progressive tax system to strip the wealthiest (since the free market fails to) it just won’t work.

    • Crunchtime 21.1

      The thing is, a UBI is a kind of progressive tax system already. Changing to a UBI + 30-36% flat income tax means everyone earning less than $50k-$60k will be better off than they are now.

      It also minimises the possibility of avoiding income tax if everything is taxed at the same rate, you can’t use dodgy bookkeeping to duck into a lower tax bracket (a common technique) because there isn’t one.

      I know the Nats use this line all the time when it comes to removing top tiers of income tax but I think they have a point. People with lots of money have so much opportunity and resource at their disposal – and incentive – to do crappy dodgy things like this.

      • Draco T Bastard 21.1.1

        It also minimises the possibility of avoiding income tax if everything is taxed at the same rate, you can’t use dodgy bookkeeping to duck into a lower tax bracket (a common technique) because there isn’t one.

        There’s an easy solution to that – no deductions. Make it so that people can’t skip paying the tax that they owe.

        • aerobubble 21.1.1.1

          We at one time had taxes well over 50%, there’s nothing wrong taxing massive, in fact its necessary to over tax the richest as much as its necessary to under tax the poorest. I don’t see how a UBI should mean the richest get to freeload, since this is essential what they do. Once we, by our shear weight of numbers, created multiplier effects that lower the cost of water, food, energy, goods and services, etc, there is now need to have massively wealthy people who some how have a claim on the rents of all that collective effort. In fact its bad capitalism, since we want the new creators of wealth to have the ability to rack in rewards for their own toil. Just take the vulture investment industry which essentially transfers innovation into the hands of those with wealth – unless its something highly obvious which should never have gotten a patent (take dna of organisms, its hardly requires any intrinsic effort). Real innovation occurs when nobody is watching i.e. those who have cornered the market with their own highly leverage products and services. The very people who donate to the neo-liberals are those dead set on either keeping their existing rents, stopping new upstarts, or worse buying how those who may upend them and either bury the innovation or in the rare event milk the new for all its worth as they brought it for a song. Capitalism, like anything, has parasites and its government job to regulate the parasites, I DO NOT SEE HOW A FLAT TAX IS EVER A GOOD IDEA.

          Progressive taxes for the top was the compromise, on the basis that they were sufficient to cull the parasitism of a small elite. Flat taxes means the poorest and the richest are the same, they are not, wealth is power. A UBI with a flat tax is worse than our current mix as it locks out progressive taxes, didn’t you see the wealth gap program, essentially the few have now cornered the rental takings of the poor, the middle classes and even the rich, the introduction of a flat tax and a UBI would only ENTRENCH that system.

          Yes a UBI, but without progressive (even excessive onerous taxation of the most wealthy) is economic capitalist suicide since it sucks out any chance of anyone ever competing witht eh few 1% a the top. Only those born to massive wealth will.

          • Colonial Viper 21.1.1.1.1

            Are you familiar with the math of how a high flat tax rate with tax free threshold works? It is actually very progressive.

            Assuming a flat tax rate of 40% and an income tax free threshold of $15,000…people on $15,000 pa pay no income tax.

            Those on $30,000 pa have an effective income tax rate of 20%.

            Those on $250,000 pa have an effective income tax rate of 37.6%.

            Those on $2M pa have an effective income tax rate of 39.7%.

            • KJT 21.1.1.1.1.1

              Then if you can GST and add wealth, inheritance, FTT and CGT. (CGT really just being income tax).

              • Colonial Viper

                I presume you mean ‘remove’ GST. And maybe have ACC levies kick in only above $15,000 pa. But yes, exactly.

                • KJT

                  Yes. though a suggestion is replacing ACC with the UBI also and adding the levies to general taxation.

                  And fining the negligent. Enough to encourage a genuine interest in workplace safety.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Although there are political and PR advantages and to having the ACC levy as separate and identifiable. It helps insulate it from the meddling of any specific government.

                    Getting rid of the ugly, regressive GST is a real major, however.

                    • KatyBess

                      Colonel, I agree. Replace GST, which is essentially a poor tax, with the Robin Hood Tax or FTT. Set the rate so low that low and middle incomes and small business scarcely notice it going out, and make sure that every gambling speculator and money marketeer also pays it, all the commercial banks pay it and the watch the cash roll it.

                      The only unknown is how much of a brake it will be on speculative activity. Still, investment money will be redirected into the real economy of goods and services, so we win anyway. Start with replacing GST, and then if it works well (so cheap to collect, so unavoidable) it can extend to cover various other forms of tax step by step, adjusting the rate as it goes along.

                      Don’t just take GST off fresh food – take it off everything.

            • aerobubble 21.1.1.1.1.2

              You missed the point. Massive wealth at the top isn’t being snuffed out. Sure moderately rich are by ponsi schemes, and the old are wiped out by the old bad accountant. The massively wealth avoid paying themselves the income. So there will always be a need for a upper tax to contain the super wealthy.

              And therein lies the problem with the debate, the UBI does not need a flat tax, a flat tax is an addition of some proponents of the tax change. And notice how we all now started talking about the burden on the wealthy (or not) rather than the whole point of the UBI which is to alleviate the poorest. Talk about spinning the issue into the hands of a envy tax scenario.

              • Crunchtime

                “Massively wealthy avoid paying themselves the income. So there will always be a need for an upper tax to contain the super wealthy” doesn’t make any sense. If the super-wealthy avoid paying themselves income, they avoid paying income tax, so a top tax rate wont contain them at all.

                As I’ve been saying ad nauseam, the UBI has the effect of a progressive tax already.

                Ideally yes, we should be replacing income tax (and GST) with a Financial Transactions Tax. But that’s a really dramatic change… I believe we should get the UBI in place to help those most in need first.

                • aerobubble

                  First, a UBI is about a policy around alleviating poverty from the poorest and so by add a flat tax to the debate makes it about rich prick interests. Second, a flat tax would cap the amount of tax at 40% for everyone, this historical is at best arbitrary and at worse counter to the very high progressive taxes that have in the past be laid on the richest (often I might add when government was building the empire that now underpins so much of our wealth). So get off you neo-liberalist I know the answer its a flat tax, and actually discuss something other than a capped 40% income tax for the richest pigging-backing on… what was it… …something about poverty and poor people.

                  • Crunchtime

                    I don’t understand what you mean by “capped”.

                    I don’t understand what your point is about “rich prick interests” either.

                    It’s not about the rich… Leave pandering to the rich to National, who with any luck will be booted out of Government next year for doing so.

                    It IS about the UBI and its affordability.

                    Giving everyone $220-300 ish (could be debated endlessly how much exactly) after tax UBI then taxing all income earned at somewhere between 30%-40% means that everybody earning $50k-60k will be better off. And the less you earn, the more better off you will be than under the current regime. This is progressive taxation. It also makes the UBI affordable. It also removes a few tax loopholes.

                    Ultimately, I agree with replacing GST and Income Tax with a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) would be better in the long run. Removing even more loopholes. It seems to me that this will be harder to acheive than starting with the UBI, which will have the most positive impact on poverty.

                    • aerobubble

                      Historically incomes taxs have been much higher than 40%, the policy of a flat tax caps the income tax at 40%.

                      Wealth is very useful in making more wealth, this is why we have a debate about progressive taxation, but you would not understand what the debate is about because you want to make a debate about poverty into about taxes on the rich.

                      Answer the question, a UBI does not mean a flat tax. In fact a UBI isn’t affordable with a flat tax since wealth would accumulate once we took away progressive taxes, why do you think the wealth gap is growing, its because we done away with taxes on the richest.

                      A flat tax with a UBI would mean either not being effective or the UBI having to be raised and raised until a progressive tax is introduced.

                    • Crunchtime

                      “wealth would accumulate once we took away progressive taxes” – no it wouldn’t, not any faster than it is now. UBI (if it’s enough) in combination Income tax of higher than 33% is MORE progressive than our current tax system, where the top tax rate is currently 33%.

                      So by your definition, income tax is currently “capped” at 33%.

                      You’re still not making any sense.

  21. Crunchtime 22

    no deductions isn’t the same as “making it so that people can’t skip paying”. There are a loooooooooot of loopholes. income tax brackets is just one of them.

  22. Crunchtime 23

    Just out of interest, Democrats for Social Credit started a discussion about UBI on LinkedIn recently – which immediately leads onto monetary reform: going as far as “remove all taxation and enable the reserve bank to create money as interest free loans”. Pretty radical, but not as much as you’d think… Private banks already create money – but add interest on top of that, which they keep as (MASSIVE, MASSIVE) profit. The discussion is here:

    http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Good-be-in-contact-my-5165218.S.271892688?view=&gid=5165218&type=member&item=271892688#commentID_null

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    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Bartlett case means Govt must act on equal pay
    The Court of Appeal victory for Lower Hutt caregiver, Kristine Bartlett demonstrates that both the Government and employers have been ignoring and not fully implementing equal pay law, the Green Party said today.The Court of Appeal today upheld earlier rulings...
    Greens | 27-10
  • Rotorua shift for Maori TV a bizarre move
    The bizarre idea to move Maori TV to Rotorua is either poor planning or possible political interference that adds to the perception of a service in crisis, says Labour MP for Tamaki Makaurau Peeni Henare. “Moving Maori TV to Rotorua...
    Labour | 27-10
  • Second rate deal a no go – Goff
    A second rate deal on dairy in the TPP would totally contradict the agreed purpose of the Pacific trade agreement, Labour’s Trade spokesperson, Phil Goff says. “Both the origin of the trade negotiations and leaders’ statements on its objectives emphasise...
    Labour | 27-10
  • Legal victory a boost for all working women
    Today’s legal victory for equal pay is a much-needed boost for working women at a time when the Government is pushing through reforms which will make it harder for them to get pay rises, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney...
    Labour | 27-10
  • National’s failed commodities export strategy exposed
    National's strategy to rely on commodities such as milk powder and logs has been exposed in the September trade figures released today, the Green Party said."National's strategy to hang all economic hope on exporting ever-increasing volumes of milk powder and...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Caution needed on calls to arm police
    There is no justification for routinely arming our police and doing so would change forever the way officers interact with their communities, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “As one of the few organisations distinguished by its unarmed status,...
    Labour | 23-10
  • Govt strains to get tea break law through
    The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.“National desperately...
    Labour | 23-10
  • How low can you go? Mining the depths
    The company says there will be economic benefits, which the EEZ Act says the EPA must consider, but even these benefits are in doubt. The royalties while not set will be tiny, the profits will flow offshore, and whatever phosphate...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Fed Farmers defend GE Agriculture
    Federated Farmers, which represents a minority of farmers, appears to be captured by a pro-GE clique hell bent on increasing unsustainable technologies for the benefit of the herbicide and patent controlling seed companies. That there are better more sustainable farming...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Government loses the affordable housing race
    Nick Smith is dreaming if he thinks he can deliver affordable housing to Cantabrians on his current figures, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Minister’s announcement that the Government will build 237 new homes, most of which will...
    Labour | 23-10
  • Labour’s thoughts with Canadians
    Labour has offered its sympathies to the family and friends of the Canadian soldier who died in what appears to be a premeditated and unprovoked attack while standing at guard at the Ottawa National War Memorial. “Our thoughts are also...
    Labour | 23-10
  • What next for TVNZ? Outsourcing the news?
    Television New Zealand’s decision to outsource Māori and Pacific programming is a real blow to the notion that our state broadcaster is a public broadcaster, says Labour. “CEO Kevin Kenrick has said today that TVNZ has ‘a very long and...
    Labour | 22-10
  • Green Party expresses sympathy for Canadian shooting victims
    The Green Party expressed its solidarity with Canadians and the Canadian Parliament today, offering its sympathy for family and friends of the soldier killed in the attack. "Our thoughts are with all those caught up in the shooting in Canada...
    Greens | 22-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 5AA Australia – NZ on UN Security Council + Dirty Politics Lingers On
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin Across The Ditch. General round up of over night talkback issues: Thongs, Jandals and flip-flops… ISSUE 1: New Zealand has been successful in its campaign to become a non...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • When I mean me, I mean my office & when I call whaleoil I mean not as m...
    This. Is. Ludicrous. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman put the first of what are likely to be many questions about Mr Key’s relationship with Slater, asking him how many times he had phoned or texted the blogger since 2008. “None...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • A brief word on describing the Government as ‘boring and bland’
    The narrative being sown is that this Government will be a boring and bland third term. Boring and bland. Since the election, Key has announced he is privatising 30% of state houses without reinvesting any of that money back into housing society’s most...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • More Latté Than Lager: Reflections on Grant Robertson’s Campaign Launch.
    BIKERS? SERIOUSLY! Had Grant Robertson’s campaign launch been organised by Phil Goff? Was this a pitch for the votes of what few Waitakere Men remain in the Labour Party? Was I even at the right place? Well, yes, I was....
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • About Curwen Ares Rolinson
    Curwen Ares Rolinson – Curwen Ares Rolinson is a firebrand young nationalist presently engaged in acts of political resistance deep behind enemy lines amidst the leafy boughs of Epsom. He is affiliated with the New Zealand First Party; although his...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kelly Ellis
    Kelly Ellis.Kelly Ellis – As a child, Kelly Ellis didn’t so much fall into the cracks, but willfully wriggled her way into them. Ejected from Onslow College – a big job in the 70s – Kelly worked in car factories,...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kate Davis
    Kate Davis.Kate Davis – Having completed her BA in English and Politics, Kate is now starting her MA. Kate works as a volunteer advocate at Auckland Action Against Poverty and previously worked for the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective. Kate writes...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Parker does a Shearer – oh for a Labour Leader who can challenge msm fals...
    Sigh. It seems David Parker has done a Shearer… Like a cult and too red – Parker on LabourLabour leadership contender David Parker says Labour borders on feeling like “a cult” and must look at its branding – including its...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • A brief word on the hundreds of millions NZ is spending on the secret intel...
    The enormity of the mass surveillance state NZ Government’s have built carries a huge price tag… Kiwis pay $103m ‘membership fee’ for spyingThe $103 million taxpayer funding of New Zealand’s intelligence agencies is effectively a membership fee for joining the...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Invercargill
    The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Invercargill on Friday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting Meetings being held nationwide as...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Public now needs to have its say over new tolls
    “I welcome the likes of new tolls and fuel taxes going out for public consultation after these matters have been talked about for 20 years. However the timing is not ideal as it comes on top of the likes of...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis to fight back against TPPA ‘corporate trap’
    New Zealanders in at least sixteen different locations around the country are organising for an International Day of Action against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on 8 November, co-ordinated by It's Our Future NZ. This is part of an international...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Taxpayers’ Union Welcomes NZ First MP’s Resignation
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming NZ First MP, Clayton Mitchell’s resignation from the Tauranga City Council, despite Party Leader Winston Peters' public comments in July that Mr Mitchell would do both jobs if elected to Parliament. The Union's...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Stopping unnecessary roading projects solution to transport
    Today Auckland Council released the Funding Auckland’s Transport Future report which claims Aucklanders need to choose higher rates, petrol taxes or tolls to pay for future transport projects, when the real issue is the prioritisation of unnecessary...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Fixing Auckland’s transport
    Today marks a critical step in the most important funding debate Auckland has ever had: whether or not Aucklanders are willing to pay for the transport system this city desperately needs to keep it moving, says Mayor Len Brown....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • The New Zealand Gazette Moves into the Digital Age
    On Monday 20 October, the New Zealand Gazette was published completely online bringing to a close 173 years as a purely printed publication. First published in 1841 as the official government newspaper, the Gazette website gazette.govt.nz , replaces...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • International report shows NZ struggling with child poverty
    A report by UNICEF International shows that child poverty rates in New Zealand have scarcely changed since 2008 – this stands in contrast to a number of other countries that managed to significantly reduce child poverty in this time, including...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Dunedin
    The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Dunedin on Thursday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting Meetings being held nationwide as...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF Report a Waste of Paper
    In response to the hysteria coming from the far left, Josh Forman of slightlyleftofcentre.co.nz writes the following:...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Press Council opens doors to digital media
    The New Zealand Press Council, the body which handles complaints against newspapers and magazines and their websites, is offering associate membership status to news and commentary-oriented digital media including bloggers....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Tolls Should Be for New Roads, Not Old Ones
    The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming Auckland Council for wanting to introduce a motorist tax under the guise of ‘tolls’. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Media freedom in West Papua: Protest at Indonesian embassy
    Today, Wednesday 29 October, there will be a peaceful protest at the Indonesian Embassy in Wellington to call on new Indonesian President Joko Widodo to honour his election promise to ensure greater media freedom in West Papua....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Lack of leadership blamed for decline in Gender Equity
    BPW NZ challenges NZ’s lack of leadership with the decline in Gender Equity Ranking...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Richard Falk visit to NZ
    Professor Richard Falk, who recently completed a six-year term as United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, will deliver a public lecture in Dunedin on Monday 10 November....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Apprehension for meat workers as employment law bill passes
    The passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill today will send a wave of apprehension through the workers in the NZ meat industry says the Meat Workers Union....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • “Yes to Children, No to Poverty” Says Commissioner
    Children’s Commissioner, Dr Russell Wills will describe impacts of poverty on children, with a focus on local solutions at the Tū Kaha biennial conference for Māori health for the central region DHBs at the Hawke’s Bay Racing Centre in Hastings...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF report card highlights need for action
    Unicef’s child poverty report released today shows that New Zealand needs to be more proactive in pursuing policies to protect our most vulnerable members of society....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Children of the Recession: NZ’s shame
    Children of the Recession : NZ’s shame Media release Wednesday 29 October 2014 “It is to New Zealand’s deepest shame that the latest Unicef report on children living in poverty ranks us 16th out of 41 developed countries. “Every day...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF cautions NZ child poverty rates are “stagnating”
    An international report by UNICEF has found that child poverty rates in New Zealand have barely changed since 2008, despite similar sized countries significantly reducing child poverty during the recent recession....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • TPP Too Important for Compromised Finish
    The New Zealand dairy industry is urging Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) partners not to compromise on the quality of the deal to get it done quickly....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Nelson
    Labour leadership candidates in Nelson The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Nelson on Tuesday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • History is made. Equal pay not just legal but possible!
    The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) congratulates Kristine Bartlett and the Service and Food Workers Union: Ngā Ringa Tota on their historic win. Today the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from Kristine’s employer; opening the way for...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
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