TOP’s cash car­rot for stu­dents


‘‘We are sup­posed to be get­ting more af­flu­ent ev­ery year, but these stats just keep get­ting worse,’’

Gareth Mor­gan’s The Op­por­tu­ni­ties Party is propos­ing a youth Un­con­di­tional Ba­sic In­come which pays every­one aged 18 to 23 years old $200 a week.

The $200 pay­ment - which would be af­ter tax - worked out to about $10,000 a year, and would go to every­one re­gard­less of in­come or whether or not they were study­ing.

Un­like other ben­e­fits it would not drop off if a young per­son moved into em­ploy­ment.

It would re­place the stu­dent al­lowance, which cur­rently is tied to parental in­come and maxes out at $177.03 af­ter tax for sin­gle peo­ple un­der 24.

Mor­gan ar­gued the fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity this would pro­vide would bring down rates of youth sui­cide and fi­nan­cial stress.

‘‘We are sup­posed to be get­ting more af­flu­ent ev­ery year, but these stats just keep get­ting worse,’’ Mor­gan said.

The pol­icy would cost $3.39 bil­lion per year but TOP say they could find this money by can­celling Na­tional’s tax cuts, sav­ings on stu­dent al­lowances, and with money from the Bud­get sur­plus.

‘‘As soon as [Joyce] said he was go­ing to give him­self and my­self a tax cut I thought ‘Ha, I’ve found some money!’’’, Mor­gan said.

It was the party’s third Uni­ver­sal Ba­sic In­come (UBI) pol­icy launch, fol­low­ing one for ba­bies and the el­derly.

Mor­gan ar­gued that tar­geted wel­fare pay­ments were need­lessly com­plex, re­sult­ing in greater costs and many not claim­ing the ben­e­fits they were en­ti­tled to.

‘‘This is the co­hort that has been pretty badly ne­glected by the po­lit­i­cal regime for a num­ber of decades,’’ Mor­gan said.

‘‘Stu­dents are very loud, but they are ac­tu­ally only 30 per cent of the co­hort. 70 per cent of the co­hort do not go through ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion.’’

‘‘It is about en­abling peo­ple to make more choices, to find their own paths and to cope with the rapid flux of a work­place that must be re­spon­sive to tech­no­log­i­cal dis­rup­tion,’’ the party said in a re­lease.’’

‘‘There is just no way bu­reau­crats can de­sign com­plex sys­tems (big data or not) that can cope with all sit­u­a­tions in a cost-ef­fec­tive man­ner. Tar­geted witch-hunt wel­fare is dead, long live the UBI rev­o­lu­tion.’’

TOP said there were around 20,000 peo­ple in the age bracket who were not in em­ploy­ment, ed­u­ca­tion. train­ing, or re­ceiv­ing any kind of ben­e­fit.

The Op­por­tu­ni­ties Party wants to even­tu­ally roll out a Uni­ver­sal Ba­sic In­come for every­one.


One econ­o­mist is wel­com­ing Gareth Mor­gan’s lat­est pro­posal.

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