Our two islands of Aotearoa New Zealand are far away in the South Pacific. With a flight time of 26 hours, not counting stopovers, to reach Europe, we think carefully and with excitement about travel plans. Visitors from afar are warmly welcomed as travelling ourselves is not always possible and news of Guy’s August visit was welcomed and greatly anticipated.
Guy’s flight to NZ was not without incident as he was delayed in Hong Kong by Typhoon Hato, and then fortunately his flight from NZ was before the jet fuel supply line crisis at Auckland, brought delays for travellers.
Guy’s first public lecture 30 August was at Waikato University, Hamilton, where he is involved with a research project ‘Precarious Maori households in austere times’ and his visit was hosted by the Māori & Psychology Research Unit. After the lecture there was a launch of a new publication, to which Guy has contributed a Forward -Precarity, uncertain, insecure, and unequal lives, in Aotearoa NZ. This book deals with the many facets of the Precariat in NZ including the demographic composition of the NZ Precariat, which currently includes 1 in 6 NZers'.
The Poverty Trap keeping families stuck in a state of immobility is defined and how those affected can lift themselves out of it. Media representations of inequality and the framing of Precarity are explored as the media can act as a powerful platform for influencing public opinion- for connecting us to one another or pitting us against each other. The criminalisation of families in need is described as there has been a shift in welfare from a universal system based on human rights to one that is unnecessarily cruel and punitive. Food insecurity is experienced by many families and solutions suggested to address this basic need are woefully ignorant of the living circumstances of those affected. The response of state structures to the blight of domestic violence shows a lack of understanding which actually amplifies rather than ameliorating the precarity of women and children. Finally, attention is drawn to the scapegoating of the elderly as the cause of contemporary youth hardship with the suggestion that taking care of all members of our communities is the best way to address social issues.
The videos of this evening are at:
The next day it was back up to Auckland where Guy had generously offered his time to give a public lecture co-hosted by Basic Income NZ (BINZ) and the NZ Fabian Society. This event included a debate by the Auckland University Debating Society where they debated targeted benefits vs a basic income.
This occasion was an opportunity to launch our new BINZ logo which Tom Killen a BINZ committee member and design graduate had been developing for us. In the video on youtube, this logo features in the background behind Guy.
The videos can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKIQx2jqyi09RVwPBCGjAIQ/videos
We imbued this event with the Maori culture of our land as Te Rangikaheke, a committee member, began our evening with Karakia,a formal greeting, and Waiata, a song. Guy gave us a passionate lecture on Basic Income beginning with a discussion on the Charter of the Forest which was written and promulgated 800 years ago on November 6 1217. From the many insights that Guy so eloquently expressed about Basic income, we tweeted one :"Why romanticise long term stable jobs? We all say 'Thank God it's Friday"
This high energy evening was followed by supper with Guy and we watched a recording of the same evening’s TV 1 Leaders Election debate between Bill English, the present NZ Prime Minister and Jacinda Ardern the new Leader of the NZ Labour Party. It was unfortunate that 31 August, scheduled by Guy in June, was also the date scheduled by TV 1.
It is occasions such as these with Guy at Waikato and Auckland that embolden supporters of Basic Income in NZ to continue their efforts to bring Basic Income to the attention of our politicians -to negate our previous Prime Minister, John Key’s assertion that Basic Income is ‘barking mad!’