By Nikki Papatsoumas
Young people are being promised $200 a week by Gareth Morgan’s Opportunities Party if elected this September.
Earlier this month The Opportunities Party launched an unconditional basic income policy, which is targeted at all New Zealanders aged from 18 to 23.
The policy, set at a rate of $200 a week, is designed to give all young New Zealanders a safety net of income to allow them to pursue their dreams, the party says.
As part of the policy, young people will not be drug tested or examined to qualify.
The money will be theirs as a right, from the age of 18 till their 23rd birthday.
The policy has been welcomed by New Zealand Union of Student Associations President (NZUSA), Jonathan Gee.
He says the NZUSA has long called for a universal student allowance, noting the inefficiencies and unfairness of means-tested allowances in recent decades.
“In this important election year, politicians need to speak to the lived realities of young people, and allow for their issues to be brought up into the political system”, says Gee.
“Means-testing for student allowances has proven invasive, inefficient and unreflective of the financial independence of many young people.
“We welcome policies that look toward universality, and The Opportunities Party’s youth universal basic income policy is a step in the right direction.”
However, Gee does dismiss inaccurate comments about tertiary education participation after Morgan stated that only 30 per cent of young people are in tertiary education, and that supporting students in university is middle class welfare as most were well-off.
‘We know that tertiary education is a powerful social lever which takes many disadvantaged communities out of poverty and reduces inequality,” Gee says.
“We want education to be available for all those currently locked out of tertiary study, not to reject their dreams.”