New Zealand could become one of the first developed countries to scrap benefits and introduce a basic citizens’ income.

Leader of the opposition Andrew Little said his Labour party was considering the idea as part of proposals to combat the “possibility of higher structural unemployment”.

Citizens’ income, also known as Universal Basic Income (UBI), involves a basic, unconditional, fixed payment made to every person in the country by the state in lieu of benefits.

Mr Little confirmed his party would debate the idea at its conference on employment at the end of March.

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