New Zealand’s Labour Party is considering the concept of a basic “citizen’s wage.” Andrew Little, leader of the Labour Party, confirmed this as the result of the potential for higher unemployment in in the coming months and years. “Citizen’s income” is also known as Universal Basic Income (UBI). The idea is that everyone gets a basic amount of money to live off of, like a wage, and benefit systems are gotten rid of.
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".
New Zealand is walking down a similar road other countries like Switzerland and Finland. The need for a basic income is more pressing than ever, say some advocates. The future of employment for many is freelance, telecommuting, short-lived employment positions.
"They're going to move rapidly in and out of multiple jobs over a period of time but there could be some weeks where they get little or no income.
"But they need a basis on which they can go through the down periods as well as enjoy the up periods."
One of the bonuses of a basic income system would be that if you went in and out of employment a few times in a year you would not have the same distressing amount of paperwork and red tape to wade through as you might have with unemployment benefits.