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Volume 19, Issue 2 – Barrett

SUSTAINABILITY, CITIES AND SUBNATIONAL TAXATION: AN ANALYSIS OF AUCKLAND AND BRISBANE

By Jonathan Barrett

Abstract

Treaties on environmental sustainability are concluded between nation states but, faced with the domestic political realities of taxing or otherwise acting against the short-term interests of voters, national governments often engage unwillingly with their international obligations. The Trump administration’s resiling from the Paris Agreement on climate change is an egregious example of flouting of national obligations but Australia and New Zealand have also been slow to give effect to their promises to reduce carbon omissions. Conversely, political subdivisions, including cities, can make their own distinct contributions to sustainability through various measures, including taxes. Megacities, such as London and Sydney, are sufficiently large to have the potential to engage with climate change in ways comparable to many countries. Smaller cities, including Auckland and Brisbane, can also make a contribution to sustainability. Focusing on the use of subnational taxes, this article considers whether, in practice, they do.

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VOLUME 19, ISSUE 1 – BARRETT

WHY THE AUSTRALASIAN TRADITION OF LABOUR DEFENCE IS A BARRIER TO A UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME

By Jonathan Barrett

The principle of work protection or labour defence has traditionally informed welfare policy in Australasia. By promoting full employment and ensuring employees earn a living wage, government could foster economic security for the unionised workingman and his family. Nordic-style social insurance schemes, which were designed to shelter citizens from market uncertainties, were, in the main, unnecessary. In this patriarchal set up, protected and adequately paid workers could support their families, but could also afford to pay income tax and thereby contribute to the support of superannuated workers. Despite the dominance of neoliberalism, vestiges of labour defence, which privileges the status of employment over a broader conception of inclusive citizenship, continue to inform welfare. Responses to global mega trends, including technologically induced job retrenchment, may require a change in cultural attitudes to work and welfare. This article, which has a specific jurisdictional focus on New Zealand but has wider relevance, argues the tradition of labour defence presents a barrier to inclusive, citizenship-based welfare. In particular, cultural attitudes may militate against a universal basic income, which many believe will become a necessity in the face of potential mass retrenchment caused by robotics.

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