Punitive welfare legislation shows up need for Citizens Dividend or Basic Income

The new legislation against relationship fraud shows we are overdue to move to a Citizens Dividend, handed out unconditionally to individuals, according to the New Economics Party.

Spokesperson Deirdre Kent said the Bill, supported by both National and Labour, just highlights the need for a payment to all citizens where there is no asset testing, no means testing and no prying into the bedrooms of the citizens.

The legislation that would make both parties in a relationship responsible for welfare fraud will only result in tears. “Blaming and punishing doesn’t work and costs heaps in administration.”

“Everyone in our society has probably known someone that has defrauded the Social Welfare Department. The whole benefit set-up just invites beneficiaries to deceive WINZ because a couple gets more income if they live separately. We need a system where there is no financial benefit for those pretending to live apart. Our current targeted welfare system is no way to build a society which claims to value intimacy, honesty and strong families”, she said.

She said the New Economics Party wanted an unconditional Citizens Dividend for all individuals that was not means tested, asset tested or work tested. She said they believe that the benefits of the commons – land and the natural resources should be shared equally and this is a way of introducing an unconditional citizens income, small at first but growing.

She said New Zealand had three precedents for unconditional payouts. In 1948 every household was given a dividend because we had a particularly good wool cheque that year. The second was the Universal Family Benefit that existed from 1946 to 1991 when family support became targeted. The third was in 1977 when the unconditional National superannuation was paid to all over 65 without asset or income testing.

“British Columbia imposes a carbon tax and redistributed the revenue to all citizens and this is a popular policy.”

Inflation or Growth Ridiculous Options

We have just sent out the following media statement (but have left out my phone number for this version)

Media Statement

13 March 14

Inflation or Growth Ridiculous Options – New Economics Party

The unproductive arguments raging among economists and central banks about when and how much to raise interest rates to curb inflation illustrates the complete failure of conventional economic theory, according to Deirdre Kent, spokesperson for the New Economics Party.

“Here we have the Reserve Bank putting up the official cash rate to keep inflation below 2 percent and the manufacturers saying that will slow productivity and put people out of work. Economists argue themselves round and round.

"It seems then that under the orthodox economic theory, you can’t both avoid inflation and have a thriving economy. A small child can see how stupid this is. Surely, the child will say, intelligent adults can invent an economic system where there is no inflation yet there are jobs at the same time?

"The problem is that governments and central banks are relatively helpless when they allow banks issue 98% of the country’s overall money supply as they do in New Zealand. They have few tools at their disposal to curb inflation. We end up with this inane cycle of inflation one minute and unemployment the next.

"During the Depression, Wörgl, a small town in Austria, created its own money and charged a circulation fee. Every month the holder of a Work Certificate had to buy a stamp and place it on the back of the note to keep it valid. So the money circulated fast. At one stage there was inflation, so some notes were withdrawn from circulation. Over 15 months, unemployment in Wörgl dropped 25 per cent, when in the rest of Austria it had risen 10 per cent during the same time period."

The New Economics Party supports a return to state seignorage, where the country's legal tender is issued by the Treasury and not by commercial banks.