web analytics

What the Swiss voted on (UBI proposal)

Written By: - Date published: 11:47 am, June 7th, 2016 - 13 comments
Categories: benefits, democratic participation, referendum, welfare - Tags: ,

The wording of the proposal that was voted on,

The initiative proposes to insert the following article in the federal constitution:

1. The government will provide a basic income.

2. The basic income will allow the people to live in a dignified manner and participate in public life.

3. Legislation will determine the funding for the system and the actual amount of the basic income.

The Swiss use the term Unconditional rather than Universal, which reflects the fact that not everyone gets the full payment regardless of income. As with other UBI models, the payment is determined by existing income, and is designed to prevent and alleviate poverty.

How it might work 

Anyone who does not have a paid job would receive the unconditional basic income, and all paid work up to that amount would be replaced by this payment. To fund it, all earned income would be taxed to a maximum amount equal to the amount of the basic income.

In practical terms, assuming a monthly basic income of CHF2,500, a person who has an income of CHF1,500 would receive another CHF1,000. Someone with CHF2,500 would not receive more. Someone earning CHF6,500 would be taxed on a net income of CHF4,000.

The same mechanism would be applied in the case of benefit payments from social welfare. Payments up to CHF2,500 would be replaced by the basic income, while anything over this amount would continue to be paid as a separate social welfare payment.

These arrangements would cover 88% of the funding requirements for a basic income. For the remaining 12%, other sources of funding would have to be found.

The Swiss go through a rigorous pre-referendum political process that includes the Swiss parliament voting to accept, reject or counter-propose. In that time the left wing parties rejected the proposal,

This was not enough however to convince the Greens and other Socialists. “The Greens support the objectives of the Popular Initiative for an Unconditional Basic Income, but as it stands, it endangers our social system,” said Christian van Singer, spokesperson for the Greens. He argued that while one goal of the initiative is to simplify the social system, “it could level down the benefit system to the detriment of those who do not find work or cannot work.”

Similarly, the Socialist MP Jean-Christophe Schwaab said he opposed basic income because it could be a pretext to dismantle the welfare system and reduce wages.

Participation rate in the vote was 46.3% which is the mid range of turnout in Swiss referenda.

Only 2% of Swiss would stop working if the government paid them a basic income of CHF2,500 per month; a further 8% would consider quitting work depending on the circumstances. That’s according to an opinion poll carried out on behalf of the promoters of the initiative, using a sample of 1,076 people.

Source: Swiss News Agency

13 comments on “What the Swiss voted on (UBI proposal) ”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    Doesn’t sound like that good a policy, really.

  2. adam 2

    I’m glad they voted it down in that form.

    • AmaKiwi 2.1

      But the Swiss got a chance to vote. We wouldn’t. A Left government might start some form of Universal Basic Income and the next Right government would tear it to shreds.

      How about we have:

      1. a concrete, costed proposal.
      2. a lengthy country wide discussion (debate)
      3. a binding referendum which future governments cannot overturn without another clearly worded binding referendum.

      No, let’s just shout our way through the fog.

      • Lanthanide 2.1.1

        “the next Right government would tear it to shreds.”

        This is the sort of policy that is very difficult to touch once it is implemented, much as National has only made small adjustments to WFF and Interest Free SLs.

        Similarly, a properly implemented UBI would be significantly downsizing several government departments, which is another thing that makes it very hard to reverse.

        Really a UBI is good, because it boils a lot of the debate between the left and the right about how much money the weekly UBI should be, and because it effects everyone directly, it makes it much harder for rightwing governments to cut it – unlike their attacks on beneficiaries, both blatant and underhanded, which don’t impact on the majority of the public so they don’t care about it.

        • AmaKiwi 2.1.1.1

          “This is the sort of policy that is very difficult to touch once it is implemented.”

          Elected dictators can and do get away with almost anything. We protest but they do it anyhow. Vast new powers for SIS and GCSB. Sell power companies we voted in a referendum not to sell. TPPA. If PM Joyce, PM Collins, or PM Benett want castrate UBI, they will do it.

          Where have you been living the last 8 years?

          • Lanthanide 2.1.1.1.1

            Where have you?

            National railed against Working For Families as being “communism by stealth”, and interest free students loans were “middle-class welfare”. Both policies are still in effect and have only been marginally tweaked.

            The reason, is because policies that put money directly into the hands of the mainstream electorate are notoriously hard to repeal without upsetting people. UBI is obviously the most potent form of these policies that you can have, AND it requires a significant dismantling of the state that simply can’t be rolled back quickly and which many on the right would themselves rail against rebuilding as well.

            The mistake you’re making is that none of those other policies you’ve talked about directly impact the mainstream electorate on a personal basis from week to week, so they are much easier to get away with because most of the electorate either don’t understand or don’t care.

            • weka 2.1.1.1.1.1

              I tend to agree but I think it’s worth exploring the possibilities.

              What would stop the Nats reducing the amount? Or having various tax rates eg lessening the tax rate for higher earners?

              If the economic situation was serious enough, would people object if it was framed as incentivising people to work, or jump starting the recovery via austerity (or however they frame it).

      • OneTrack 2.1.2

        Good idea. Get the newly merged Labour and Green parties to start asap on step 1, a concrete, costed proposal, and we can go from there.

        • AmaKiwi 2.1.2.1

          OneTrack

          “Get the newly merged Labour and Green parties to start asap on step 1, a concrete, costed proposal, and we can go from there.”

          They’ll lose yet another election.

          Governments change when enough voters hate the incumbents and decide to throw them out.

          Watch Winston. He’s an attack dog. When he speaks he damns his opponents. He promises nothing.

    • weka 2.2

      how come adam?

  3. Andre 3

    The proposal looks like what gets called a “Guaranteed Minimum Income” here. Which means there’s no financial benefit from doing any work at all if your likely total income will be less than the guaranteed minimum.

    Whereas the Universal Basic Income as most people here understand it, there’s no conditions or deductions on the basic income. Then any income you earn adds to your UBI (less tax on the earned income). So you’re always going to get some extra money from going out and working.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    $122 p.w. income taxable UBI to each and every NZer over 18 please. On top of all other applicable government benefits and tax credits.

    Applies at a 1/3 rate under 18 years of age.

    Scaled up equal NZ Super at 65 years of age.

  5. Tory 5

    The Swiss are not stupid, I should know as I am married to one.
    I should also point out that the article in your blog links to ( via Basic Income Earth Network, BIEN, go figure…) the Swiss Newspaper Tages Anzeiger.

    The BIEN article states:

    ‘Ironically, while politicians were voting against basic income by a large majority, an online poll (Tagesanzeiger.ch) showed that 49% of the Swiss would vote in favour, while 43% are against it, and another 8% said it depends on the amount’.

    In fact only 3112 people took part in that poll, hardly a large majority even if 49% of the 3112 supported it (1524 voters). Add to that it only takes 5% of the electorate to initiate a referendum, most Swiss were clear that this was never a proposal that was going to get anything other than rejection big time.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Building back better
    It’s a three-week recess in Parliament – so, no bills are going through the House and no select committees are meeting. But the hard work of our ministers continues, and many of our MPs are back in their electorates, taking the opportunity to meet with local communities and businesses about ...
    2 days ago
  • Greens call for a Warrant of Fitness for rental homes
    The Green Party is launching a petition today calling on the Government’s Healthy Homes Standards to be backed up with a proper Warrant of Fitness (WoF) for rental homes. ...
    5 days ago
  • Securing our recovery: By the numbers
    Our plan to secure New Zealand’s recovery from COVID-19 is working, with the past three months seeing the second-highest number of people moved off a main benefit into work since records began. ...
    1 week ago
  • More Kiwis in work through recovery plan
    The latest statistics show the Government’s focus on jobs is working. The net number of people on a main benefit dropped by around 11,190 people during the past three months, with around 31,240 people moving off a benefit into work. ...
    1 week ago
  • Green Party appoints new Chief of Staff
    The Green Party has appointed a new Parliamentary Chief of Staff, Robin Campbell. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • We’re turning 105!
    It’s our birthday! Today, 105 years ago, the New Zealand Labour Party was founded. And we haven’t stopped moving since: fighting for workers’ rights, expanding protections to boost equality, and upholding democratic socialist ideals. We’re now the oldest political party in New Zealand and, as we celebrate our 105 years, ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Principles for guiding the Emissions Reduction Plan Speech
    Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. ...
    3 weeks ago

  • New station a platform for AirportLink to take off
    Every Aucklander with access to the rail network will now have a quick and convenient trip to the airport, Transport Minister Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said during the official opening of the new Puhinui Interchange today. The new interchange links the rail platform with a new bus ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • 10 days sick leave for employees delivered
    Legislation doubling employees’ minimum sick leave entitlement to 10 days comes into effect today, bringing benefits to both businesses and employees, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today. “Our Government is delivering on a key manifesto commitment to help Kiwis and workplaces stay healthy,” Michael Wood said. “COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates Fiame Naomi Mata’afa on Election Win
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tonight congratulated Prime Minister-elect Fiame Naomi Mata’afa on her victory in the Samoa’s general election. “New Zealand has a special relationship with Samoa, anchored in the Treaty of Friendship. We look forward to working with Samoa’s new government in the spirit of partnership that characterises this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Quarantine Free Travel with Australia suspended
    Quarantine Free Travel from all Australian states and territories to New Zealand is being suspended as the Covid situation there worsens, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. From 11.59pm today Australians will no longer be able to enter New Zealand quarantine-free. This will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Growing conservation efforts in Gisborne
    A big injection of Jobs for Nature funding will create much-needed jobs and financial security for families in TeTairāwhiti, and has exciting prospects for conservation in the region, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The projects target local communities most affected by the economic consequences of COVID 19 and are designed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Flood recovery given further assistance
    The Government is contributing a further $1 million to help the flood battered Buller community, Acting Emergency Management Minister Kris Faafoi announced today. “Buller is a small community which has found itself suddenly facing significant and ongoing welfare costs. While many emergency welfare costs are reimbursed by Government, this money ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Funding for five projects to reduce food waste
    The Government is funding five projects to help address the growing problem of food waste, Environment Minister David Parker announced today. “New Zealand households throw away nearly 300,000 tonnes of food every year, half of which could still be eaten. By supporting these initiatives, we’re taking steps to reduce this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Temporary Accommodation Service activated for West Coast flooding event
    The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) has been activated today - meaning residents on the West Coast of the South Island and in the Marlborough region hit by flooding over the weekend can now access help finding temporary accommodation, announced Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Poto Williams in Westport today. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pause to Quarantine Free Travel from South Australia to New Zealand
    Quarantine Free Travel from South Australia to New Zealand will be paused from 11.59am (NZT) tonight, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. However, people currently in the state who ordinarily live in New Zealand will be able to return on “managed return” flights starting with the next available flight, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand condemns malicious cyber activity by Chinese state-sponsored actors
    New Zealand has established links between Chinese state-sponsored actors known as Advanced Persistent Threat 40 (APT40) and malicious cyber activity in New Zealand. “The GCSB has worked through a robust technical attribution process in relation to this activity. New Zealand is today joining other countries in strongly condemning this malicious ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Remarks to Diplomatic Corps
    It is a pleasure to be with you all this evening. Some of you may have been surprised when you received an invitation from the Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control, and I would forgive you if you were. New Zealand is unique in having established a Ministerial portfolio ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Early Pfizer shipment boosts vaccine schedule
    The largest shipment of the Pfizer vaccine to date has arrived into New Zealand two days ahead of schedule, and doses are already being delivered to vaccination centres around the country, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. “The shipment of more than 370,000 doses reached New Zealand yesterday, following a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Backing for Bay of Islands predator free effort
    The Government is throwing its support behind an ambitious project to restore native biodiversity and build long-term conservation careers, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. Predator Free Bay of Islands aims to eradicate predators from the three main peninsulas in the region, and significantly reduce their impact throughout the wider 80,000-plus ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government commits $600,000 to flood recovery
    The Government is contributing $600,000 to help residents affected by the weekend’s violent weather with recovery efforts. Acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor have been in the Buller district this afternoon to assess flood damage and support the local response effort. They have announced ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government assisting local responses to heavy rainfall and high wind
    Acting Minister of Emergency Management Kris Faafoi says Central Government is monitoring the severe weather across the country, and is ready to provide further support to those affected if necessary. “My thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this latest event, particularly communities on the West Coast and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM Ardern chairs APEC Leaders’ meeting on COVID-19
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has chaired a meeting of Leaders representing the 21 APEC economies overnight. “For the first time in APEC’s history Leaders have come together for an extraordinary meeting focused exclusively on COVID-19, and how our region can navigate out of the worst health and economic ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Health Minister welcomes progress on nurses’ pay
    The New Zealand Nurses Organisation’s decision to take the Government’s improved pay offer to members and to lift strike notices is a positive move towards settling district health board nurses’ pay claims, Health Minister Andrew Little said. “It’s encouraging that the discussions between NZNO and DHBs over the nurses’ employment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Boost for Pacific regional business
    Pacific businesses will get a much-needed financial boost as they recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to the new Pacific Aotearoa Regional Enterprise Fund, said Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio.  The new $2 million fund will co-invest in Pacific business projects and initiatives to create ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM Ardern call with President Biden
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke with US President Biden this morning, ahead of the APEC Informal Leaders’ Retreat on COVID-19. “President Biden and I discussed the forthcoming APEC leaders meeting and the critical importance of working together as a region to navigate out of the COVID-19 pandemic”, Jacinda Ardern said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Renewed partnership creates jobs for New Zealand youth
    The Government has signed a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, strengthening the partnership to get more young people into work.  The Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ) is a nationwide network of all Mayors in New Zealand, who are committed to making sure all young ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • South Island areas prioritised in tourism fund
    Five South Island areas are prioritised in the latest round of decisions from a tourism fund that is supporting infrastructure projects from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island and the Chathams. Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has announced details of 57 nationwide projects to receive support from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund (TIF). ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New code sets clear expectations for learner safety and wellbeing in tertiary education
    A new code of practice for the pastoral care of domestic tertiary and international students will be in place from January next year, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today The code, which makes clear that creating an environment that supports learning and wellbeing is a shared responsibility between tertiary providers, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • First TAB New Zealand Board appointments announced
    The members of the first TAB NZ Board come with experience in racing and sport administration, business and governance, the betting industry, broadcasting and gambling harm minimisation. “This Board will progress from the excellent work done by the interim board, put in place in August 2020,” Grant Robertson said. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Northland Maori Pathways initiative introduced
    The Government has today launched Māori Pathways at Northland Region Corrections Facility, a ground-breaking series of initiatives designed in partnership with Māori to reduce re-offending and improve outcomes for whānau. A key part of the Hōkai Rangi strategy, Māori Pathways looks to achieve long-term change and involves a number of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Extended Essential Skills visas being rolled out
    Two year Essential Skills visa to provide certainty to at least 18,000 visa holders Streamlined application process to benefit at least 57,000 visa holders The Government is increasing the duration of some Essential Skills visas and streamlining the application process to provide more certainty to employers and visa holders while ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pause to Quarantine Free Travel from Victoria to New Zealand
    Quarantine Free Travel from Victoria to New Zealand will be paused from 1.59am (NZT) Friday, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. The decision follows updated public health advice from New Zealand officials and a growing number of cases and locations of interest. The pause will run for at least ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Hydrogen arrangement signed with Singapore
    The signing of an Arrangement of Cooperation on low-carbon hydrogen with Singapore heralds the start of greater collaboration between it and New Zealand as both countries transition towards low carbon economies, says Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods. The cooperation arrangement between New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Hydrogen agreement signed with Singapore
    The signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation on low-carbon hydrogen with Singapore signals the start of greater collaboration between the two countries as they transition towards low carbon economies, says Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods. The cooperation agreement between New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to LGNZ Conference
    Kia ora koutou katoa and thank-you for the invitation to speak to you all today. I would like to acknowledge Local Government New Zealand President Stuart Crosby, and Chief Executive, Susan Freeman-Greene, Te Maruata Chair, Bonita Bigham, and our host, Mayor John Leggett. I also acknowledge all the elected members ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to provide support for water reforms, jobs and growth
    The Government today announced a $2.5 billion package to support local government transition through the reforms to New Zealand’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services. The package will also stimulate local economies while creating jobs and unlocking infrastructure for housing. “New Zealand’s water systems are facing a significant crisis and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government Initiatives Contribute to Fall in Benefit Numbers
    Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the release of the June quarter Benefit Statistics which show a continuing fall in the number of people receiving a Main Benefit. “This Government’s plan to increase work focused support for Jobseekers is paying off,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “All up Benefit numbers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tourism support package continues rollout
    Mental wellbeing support is being rolled out to five South Island communities most affected by the absence of international tourists. Tourism Minister Stuart Nash today announced details of how tourism operators and communities can access the help announced in May as part of the government’s $200 million Tourism Communities: Support, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ-PNG Sign Statement of Partnership
    New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape signed the first ever New Zealand - Papua New Guinea Statement of Partnership today. “This new Statement of Partnership reflects the importance we place on the close economic, cultural and people-to-people links our two countries have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Further advice being sought on new cases in Victoria
    Further advice is being sought from public health officials following seven new positive cases of COVID-19 in Victoria today, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. “There are also a growing number of locations of interest that are of concern, including a sports stadium on Saturday and several pubs,” Chris Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Christchurch Learning Community Hubs supporting ethnic families
    As part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to working with the victims and those affected by the March 15 terror attacks, today Associate Minister of Education Hon Jan Tinetti released the report ‘Voices from the Ōtautahi’ on the Christchurch Learning Community Hubs. “It’s so important we continue to support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Hundreds more hands funded to work for nature
    Supporting biodiversity protection through community-led projects and on private property will create at least 500 more jobs under the Mahi mō te Taiao/Jobs for Nature programme, Minister of Conservation Kiritapu Allan announced today. “The work we are funding includes everything from pest control and restoration planting to plant propagation, skill ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Saliva testing expansion for frontline border workers
    All frontline border workers who are required to be regularly tested for COVID-19 will soon be able to choose regular saliva testing as a full replacement for nasopharyngeal testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. Saliva testing will be expanded as an option for all those on a regular ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government consults on freshwater farm plan
    The Government is inviting farmers and growers to provide their practical ideas to help develop high-quality and workable freshwater farm plans, in line with its freshwater goals said Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Environment Minister David Parker. The ministers today released the consultation documents for freshwater farm plans and stock exclusion low slope maps. Comment is being sought on a new, more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Increased support for midwives
    New measures to help bolster the midwifery workforce as they care for the next generation of New Zealanders, have been announced today by Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall. “New Zealand’s midwives are committed to the wellbeing of women and whānau, but they’re facing significant challenges. The DHB midwifery ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister's Speech to NZIIA Annual Conference
    Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, ata mārie, tēnā koutou katoa. It’s a great pleasure to attend an event on such an important topic as New Zealand’s future in the Indo-Pacific region. Thank you to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs for bringing this hui together. I am encouraged to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago