National’s only idea this term has just been shot down by the public. Meanwhile Labour has been thinking about the future and the issues that confront NZ. Part of this process has been the recently completed Future of Work conference. From this process has emerged Ten Big Ideas (“A snapshot of work to date”) that will “help shape Labour’s policy development”.
A key passage from the introduction to the discussion document reads:
There is no doubt that we are experiencing rapid change and disruption in our working lives as a result of technological change, automation and globalisation. An NZIER report released last year tells us 46% of New Zealand jobs are at risk of automation in the next two decades. Those entering the workforce today are likely to have several different careers and many different jobs. Businesses increasingly need new models of organisation, processes and different skills from their workers in an increasingly globalised environment.
The ideas are:
1. Building digital equality – through ensuring Kiwis can access technology regardless of where they live or how wealthy they are.
2. Accelerating technology in business – through developing new models of capital raising and investing in research and development.
3. Developing Business Clusters – by creating regional partnerships of business, councils, research organisations and iwi to get the best out of local and emerging industries.
4. Building wealth from the ground up – by encouraging new models of business, including entrepreneurship and cooperatives to create a more sustainable economy.
5. Establishing a just transition – through creating a social partnership model and strong and flexible social and re-training programmes.
6. Ensuring greater income security – through investigation of new models of income security for New Zealand, including considering a limited trial of a universal basic income-type system in a town or region.
7. Reforming the transition between education, training and work – through comprehensive reform of career guidance and creating a school leavers’ toolkit to prepare them for the practical requirements of work.
8. Labour’s Working Futures Plan – in which all New Zealanders receive three free years of post-school education, phased in from 2019.
9. Partnering with Maori in a post-Treaty settlement era – through the Government facilitating strategic partnerships between iwi, business, and third parties to develop the Maori economy.
10. Establishing a Pasifika working futures plan – by working with the community to focus on the transition between education and work and identifying and eliminating the barriers to entrepreneurship.
Item 6 on the UBI has generated the most discussion by far. Other coverage includes:
Labour not shying away from big ideas
Labour launches ’10 big ideas’ about future of work
Labour propose ‘basic income’
Ex-Clinton minister backs Labour’s basic income for all idea
Labour wants computer coding part of school curriculum.
As Ross Henderson puts it in the first of those pieces:
Labour not shying away from big ideas
…I’m thrilled that Labour isn’t shying away from the bold discussions, the new ideas. Politically, this really is the sort of discussion Labour should be having.
It shows an understanding of the future challenges and that they are making sure we start talking about them before it’s too late. These ideas are all about transformation, economic opportunities, and equality. These are the things that Labour does best.
Not surprising to hear John Key dismiss the idea of even talking about what such an initiative could mean in the long term. Of course he has never had a mature or considered response to any of Labour’s ideas, even the ones that the Clark government implemented that he now relies on to stop the country completely turning to custard. It’s handy to remember that John Key once called Working for Families “communism by stealth.”
Even though the current government won’t take the economic challenges and opportunities of the future seriously, the next Labour-led government will. First they need to get elected, and bold discussions about big ideas is exactly how to do that. A good week for them, and well deserved.