How a UBI Would Help Those That Are Being Left Behind

How a UBI Would Help Those That Are Being Left Behind

One advantage of an Unconditional Basic Income is that everyone gets it, no questions asked, so nobody falls through the cracks. That seems to be what is happening to a large group of Aotearoa New Zealand’s young people right now.


Not in Employment, Education and Training

Around one in six young people are not in employment, education or training. In some parts of the country (Northland and Gisborne) it is much higher at almost one in three. These figures are shocking enough – a clear sign that our economy is not working for young people. This is a critical time– when they are working out what to do with their lives – and they need support to do that. That is exactly what our Youth UBI is designed to do.

Of the 18-23 age group that we are focused on here, that amounts to around 52,000 young people. What is even more worrying is the fact that many of that 52,000 are not receiving any benefits.


Let’s look at the benefit numbers, or at least as best we can for the data we have. We estimate that people aged 18-23 receive the following benefits:

  • Jobseeker Support (aka the dole or unemployment benefit) 17,000
  • Sole Parent Support 8,000
  • Supported Living (disability benefit) 5,000

Remember that under our Youth UBI policy none of these people are worse off. In fact Jobseekers are better off – our Youth UBI is higher than that benefit and the Student Allowance. The benefit of the UBI is also that you don’t lose it if you work.  

Anyway, that is a total of 30,000 people currently receiving benefits – around one in 11 people of that age. See the problem? That leaves 22,000 people that are not in employment, education or training and aren’t receiving a benefit. That is one in every 15 young people falling through the cracks.


We don’t know why these people have fallen through the cracks.

Perhaps they have rich parents and don’t need to worry, but that is unlikely to be the case for all 22,000. More likely it is our complex, stigmatizing and punitive benefit system that is the problem. Maybe they don’t know or don’t think they are eligible for a benefit. Perhaps they are homeless, and don’t have an address to get a benefit. Perhaps they are pursuing a creative career, or trying to set up a business so they aren’t eligible for a benefit. Perhaps they are worried they will be made to do something they don’t want to do. Perhaps they smoked some weed within the last month, and are worried that drug tests will show it in their system.

Regardless, this level of young people falling through the cracks is unacceptable. Our Youth UBI would resolve that problem and ensure all young people have the best possible start in life.


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