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An open letter to Christopher Luxon, Leader of the Opposition, 14 December 2021

Dear Christopher Luxon

We are interested in hearing your thoughts on a Basic Income for everyone living in Aotearoa New Zealand.

In your first speech as Leader of the Opposition on 30 November you said “We will bring the tide back in and lift all boats.”

Later that evening, Bryan Bruce’s assessment of your comment was: “This, is a much-used phrase by neoliberals and is a version of “trickle-down” theory. What they mean is that if the already rich are allowed to make a tide of money, then somehow that will lift the living standards of everyone.” However, experience has shown that this does not happen. Money trickles-up, more than down, with the result that those with the least have little money for necessities and business suffers as many customers have little money to spend.

Te Utu Tika Hei I Oranga Aotearoa - Basic Income New Zealand, agrees with these comments. In order for business to survive, people need money to spend.

A Basic Income fits well with your party’s principles. Because a Basic Income is paid equally to all people living in the country it opens up equal opportunities for all. A Basic Income gives people choice, enabling those who exercise care and responsibility to do well. It supports strong families and caring communities, individual liberty, economic choice and free markets. Basic Income supports regional and sustainable development. A Basic Income simplifies the welfare system, reducing the need for government involvement in welfare, minimising the size of government and the need for government involvement. And, because a Basic Income puts money into the economy, the extra taxes generated will fund the Basic Income and generate popular support for governments that implement it.

Your phrase, “Bring the tide back in and lift all boats”, could be seen as supporting a Basic Income. A Basic Income is a regular payment to all citizens, a non-punitive payment requiring no conditions for eligibility. A Basic Income is primarily an issue of social justice.

Numerous international Basic Income trials, have demonstrated that when people are trusted with a Basic Income, they will take on self-responsibility and live life well. With a Basic Income, crime rates fall. In contrast, the present welfare system has become paternalistic and punitive and high abatement rates are a disincentive to work.

New Zealand Superannuation is an existing Basic Income scheme. During past economic downturns, New Zealand Super helped stabilise the economy, keeping small businesses afloat enabled a more rapid recovery from the downturn. Extending Basic Income to all members of the community will support business and regional economies while stabilising the economy.

Basic Income proposals are currently under discussion in South Korea, Wales and Scotland. Finland trialled a Basic Income where the final assessment showed a measurable increase in people moving into work. Wellness markers found an improvement in life satisfaction. This trial was a success.

Basic Income trials show conclusively that people will still work while receiving a Basic Income.

Aotearoa New Zealand has often been in the forefront of social change with Universal Suffrage in 1893 making New Zealand the oldest full democracy in the world. We could lead again with the introduction of a Basic Income for all those living in Aotearoa New Zealand. This could be a significant and defining point in Aotearoa New Zealand’s history.

Te Utu Tika Hei Oranga I Aotearoa - Basic Income New Zealand suggests that the National Party under your leadership, includes a Basic Income, in your policy portfolio for the 2023 election.

Looking forward to a Basic Income future.

Te Utu Tika Hei Oranga I Aotearoa - Basic Income New Zealand

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