News; News & Events

NEW ZEALAND: Labour Party considers Universal Basic Income

Andrew Little at WelTec. Credit to:


Following the lead of countries like Finland, Netherlands and Canada, New Zealand is now making its first steps towards a basic income. In a recent Stuff news article, Andrew Little, leader of the Labour Party, the second largest party in the New Zealand’s parliament, says Labour is considering a basic income. This interest is mainly motivated by the rise in structural unemployment, which guarantees profound changes in how New Zealanders work. Automation and precariousness of employment, self-employment and new business models are all affecting the way people work, and these structural changes occupy a central place in present day Labour Party concerns.


Indeed, the Party made these concerns – as well as the possibility of a basic income to address them – central to its Labour’s Future of Work Conference, which took place earlier this week, on the 23rd and 24th of March. The Future of Work Commission has released two background papers on universal basic income, one of which can be found here. This paper, by researchers Max Harries and Sebastiaan Bierema, analyses basic income in general and in the New Zealand context, also mentioning that a pilot programme could be an important first step into a future fully-fledged basic income implementation.


What Labour Party leaders in New Zealand will do, it’s hard to say. However, Keith Rankin, a New Zealander author who has written about basic income, highlights some possibilities in a recent article. These possibilities are similar to other basic income tax reform ideas presented, based on income tax redistribution. Keith proposes taxing income from both labour (work wages) and land (property) at a rate between 33 and 37%, and redistributing that money to all adult residents.


More information at:

Blake Caryton-Brown, “Labour leader Andrew Little promises debate on universal basic income”, Politics, March 14th 2016


Chris Weller, “New Zealand is debating a plan to give people unconditional free money”, Tech Insider, March 14th 2016


Keith Rankin, “Universal Basic Income and income tax reform”, Briefing Papers, March 22nd 2016


André Coelho, “Miguel Horta: “Negative Income Tax in Portugal [Negative Income Tax em Portugal]””, Basic Income News, June 3rd 2015


New Zealand Labour Party, “The Future of Work” website.


Max Harris and Sebastiaan Bierema, 2016, “A Universal Basic Income for New Zealand”, Proceedings of the Conference The Future of Work, New Zealand

About Andre Coelho

André Coelho has written 351 articles.

Activist. Engineer. Musician. For the more beautiful world our hearts know it's possible.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.

One comment

  • Tawrid

    I think if we would like to overcome deflation as well as a stable economic progresses, it will be a combination approach of all of the ideas of socialism, capitalism and with a little of autocracy in the policies. In supporting the ideas of UBI from socialism perspective government should define the basic national cost of living each year and tweak those basic payment accordingly. In this case, you might find more fellas will feel comfortable to live out of big towns individually or collectively as the benefits will be same for all. Thus it will reduce the risks of pressures on housing and earning affordability etc. That also means more kiwi lands are going to be used and cultivated. People’s lifestyles are expected to be changed with more small businesses created in the new suburbs. In terms of capitalism and taxes, it should be individual’s tax code when the tax going to be collected. On top of that businesses runners are taxed further 3-5% depends on the stakeholders’ income. Now when the word autocracy comes, the scheme would rather be an e-money (electronics money), which is supposed to be partially paid and restricted to the eligible commodities/products, which are produced or owned by New Zealand. The e-money has also restrictions of expiries if not spent up to a certain amount of time. This would eventually, help to flourish our own kiwi products prepared and ready to fly overseas in future. Additionally, government is going to get an inflation which will be updated at the next year’s UBI. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.