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.