“Our benefit system is having to be tweaked and augmented to get us through this crisis, but once we have landed in the new normal we will still be living in unequal communities.”
That from the President of the National Council of Women New Zealand, Lisa Lawrence who believes that we need to tip the table and start afresh.
The idea of a Universal Basic Income has been discussed for decades and is right now being considered as a necessary safety net for citizens of our virus affected present. Finance Minister Grant Robertson told Morning Report a universal basic income was one of the options being considered to help people who lose their jobs or face uncertainty. More people than ever are in that situation.
The government is offering wage subsidies and support to businesses as well as bracing for the highest numbers applying for unemployment benefits since the Great Depression.
NCWNZ has released a position paper and notes that many of us are anxious about our livelihoods, and the livelihoods of those around us. The physical isolation in conjunction with varying work arrangements has meant that we are in a state of flux. A Universal Basic Income could also meet the needs of future New Zealanders seeking a more equal and secure life whilst Aotearoa is coming to terms with climate change, increasing automation and other changes to how we arrange our lives, our families and our economy.
There are a plethora of reasons that this option makes sense and a range of economists are arguing that a Universal Basic Income or the like, makes more sense now than ever. It deserves a careful and nuanced debate. We have put together our position paper to support discussions for everyone.
Our opportunity to have a democratically applied safety net for all New Zealanders to prosper is here now, are we brave enough to take it? Even if we’re not tipping the table, Universal Basic Income should be on it.
NCWNZ encourages people to consider the security and assurance a UBI will bring for all New Zealanders.
ENDS NCWNZ President Lisa Lawrence: ph 0220431374 [email protected]
More information about National Council of Women New Zealand
NCWNZ was founded in 1896 by Kate Sheppard and prominent leaders of NZ’s suffrage movement.
NCWNZ’s total membership is 450,000, drawn from 200 organisations who are members alongside 14 branches around the country.
Gender Equal NZ is led by the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ). People can join the Gender Equal NZ movement at www.genderequal