Here Be Dragons

Navigating a Left Approach to Basic Income in Aotearoa New Zealand


  • Sue Bradford



Universal basic income, left UBI, Aotearoa New Zealand, progressive economics


This article is, in part, an extended report from a national workshop held at Kotare in May 2018 in which participants from around the country considered the question: ‘A progressive Basic Income (or UBI) in Aotearoa New Zealand?’ It includes primary research which provides the first known attempt to bring together a history of BI/UBI advocacy from a left and community-based perspective, with some interrogation of that history. I also include brief background context around nomenclature, history and definition; consider the defining characteristics of a ‘left’ BI and the question of how to pay for it; look at some of the main arguments for and against BI from left and union perspectives, and consider the opportunities and dangers for those of us on the left who may wish to engage in this work. I finish with a short conclusion which places our debates within the international context and offers some thoughts of my own on the path forward.



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