Universal income won't push youth to get jobs - Salvation Army

By Talisa Kupenga

The Salvation Army says The Opportunities Party's universal basic income won't solve unemployment for young people and the annual $2.4billion would be better spent elsewhere. 

Salvation Army Social Policy Analyst Alan Johnson says $200 a week won't fix youth unemployment.

"Just giving people money doesn't give them the skills they need to get jobs."

He says the money would be better spent in schools, investing in youth from as young as 12 years old to help guide them on a career path.

"Many young people are leaving school without the skills that can find them a job in the job market, as well as that we probably think there is discrimination against those young people in the job market and a UBI won't resolve those things."

The Opportunities Party is promising the payment to all 18 to 23 year olds. Leader Gareth Morgan says 35% of those who will benefit are Māori.

"You'd do away with disincentive problems, people would receive it, but they'll do the same things that they otherwise would have done anyway so I don't think it would encourage them to participate but I don't think it would discourage them either."

Johnson says school leavers should be aiming for employment or training opportunities not aspiring to sit on the dole.