10,000 signatures reached
To: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Finance Minister Grant Robertson
Coronavirus: Emergency universal basic income for everyone
In light of COVID-19 the Government should trial paying everyone a Universal Basic Income (UBI) at the same level as Superannuation.
A regular cash payment made to everyone, with no strings attached, will help support all of us through this crisis.
A UBI could also be rolled out in a phased approach that recognises some people are more vulnerable to the virus as well as those who are the backbone of our communities providing care for children, whānau, and elderly people.
Why is this important?
Right now, people and governments everywhere are rising to the huge challenge that coronavirus poses to our communities. What this virus has shown is that no matter who we are or where we come from, we are all in this together.
It has also shown that, globally, governments can act quickly, in smart, assured and reasonable ways to manoeuvre the systems put in place to govern our lives so they support collective wellbeing.
Around the world, governments have rapidly built new hospitals and put a freeze on rent and mortgage payments to help people survive and thrive in these trying times. In Hong Kong they’ve given every citizen $10,000 and in the US Trump is planning to give every person cash as soon as possible.
The UBI, a regular no-strings payment to every person, is an idea made for these times. We already have this style of support for our eldery, with one of the lowest rates of elder poverty in the world, so what are we waiting for?
A UBI would help give everyone in Aotearoa financial stability and ensure people don’t miss out, as they often do, in more targeted approaches. It would reduce administration costs, time and stigma for those reaching out for income support. It could increase entrepreneurship and enable people to do the work of caring for our communities through these difficult times. The trial would also provide valuable insight as to whether New Zealand should move toward a UBI permanently.
There is a lot more that needs to be done to mitigate the impact of coronavirus - from helping people get support when they are sick, to making sure renters don’t face eviction, and people with mortgages or no home can keep a roof over their heads. But ensuring everyone across the country has enough money to get by will save lives.
If you agree everyone should be guaranteed enough money to pay for basic essentials at a time like this, will you add your name to the petition now?
HOW WOULD THE GOVERNMENT PAY FOR A UBI?
There are several ways the government could pay for a UBI. They could sell bonds directly to the Reserve Bank. They could set up a public bank, chartered for this purpose, that would act on behalf of the Government. They could implement the recommendations made by the Victoria University of Wellington Tax Working Group: A Tax System for New Zealand’s Future.
In 1935, the Reserve Bank printed money and lent it to the government to build lots of state houses. We have done this before and we can do it again.
WHAT PROOF IS THERE THAT A UBI WORKS?
Between 1974 and 1979, Canada ran a randomised controlled trial in the province of Manitoba, choosing one farming town, Dauphin, where every family was eligible to participate in a basic income experiment. The basic income benefited residents’ physical and mental health — there was a decline in doctor visits and an 8.5 percent reduction in the rate of hospitalisation — and high school graduation rates improved, too. Unfortunately, the trial was cancelled when a more conservative government came into power.
The largest and longest UBI experiment in the world is in Kenya where the charity GiveDirectly is making payments to more than 20,000 people spread out across 245 rural villages. As part of this randomized controlled trial, which started in 2016, recipients receive roughly 75 cents per adult per day, delivered monthly for 12 years. Cash transfers have stimulated the economy and benefited not only the recipients themselves but also people in nearby villages.
You can read more about all of the UBI trials here: https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/2/19/21112570/universal-basic-income-ubi-map
REFERENCES AND FURTHER INFORMATION:
How China Built Two Coronavirus Hospitals in Just Over a Week:
Coronavirus: France imposes lockdown as EU calls for 30-day travel ban:
Steven Mnuchin: “We are looking at sending checks to Americans immediately”:
Hong Kong’s cash handout could boost the economy by 1%, says financial secretary:
Poverty and older people in New Zealand:
Call for UBI in NZ to ride out global depression:
It's time to move mountains to protect people – we need universal basic income:
And finally, a great TEDx talk on why we should give everyone a basic income: