New Zealand looks set to follow in Canada’s footsteps in providing unconditional money to all of its citizens.
The country have announced plans to scrap benefits and to introduce basic citizens’ income, also known as Universal Basic Income (UBI).
Leader of the opposition Labour party, Andrew Little, said his party were considering proposals to provide a basic, unconditional, fixed payment made to every single person in the country in order to combat the “possibility of higher structural unemployment”.
Mr Little confirmed his party would debate the idea at its conference on employment at the end of March.
He said significant changes to way people worked were “unavoidable” and “we expect that in the future world of work there will be at least a portion of the workforce that will rapidly move in and out of work”.
He told New Zealand news website Stuff: “The question is whether you have an income support system that means every time you stop work you have to go through the palaver of stand-down periods, more bureaucracy, more form filling at the same time as you’re trying to get into your next job.
“We are keen to have that debate about whether the time has arrived for us to have a system that is seamless, easy to pass through, [with a] guaranteed basic income and [where] you can move in and out of work on a regular basis.”
The debate does not mean the policy will be included in the party’s manifesto at the next general election – which is likely to take place next year – or that the ruling National party will consider the proposals.
Other countries such as Finland and the Netherlands are due to launch similar programmes this year and Canada also recently debated the issue.
Switzerland is due to hold a referendum on introducing the measure later this year.
It comes after delegates at the SNP spring conference in Glasgow backed a motion to consider the proposal when designing the welfare system of an independent Scotland.
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