With Covid having destroyed our tourism and related sector industries, and pushed some communities to the brink, a fiat currency, directly targeted at supporting those enterprises primarily effected, should be considered.

Abraham Lincoln, faced with the crippling cost of otherwise funding the American civil war, instituted a fiat currency and the notes his government issued, which came to be known as “Greenbacks,” were vital to Lincoln’s winning of the war.

We are at war with Covid and to fight it, a government-backed fiat currency, issued not as notes but in the form of a card, like the Gold Card the oldies flourish, would have many political and social advantages over current crude lump-sum payments and loans.

Like the Gold Card, which works well and may only be tendered for goods and services provided by registered suppliers, similarly, a “Covid Card” could only be redeemed by enterprises registered to accept them – the self-same people to whom the lumps sum payments and loans are going now.

In essence then, a Covid Card system would be just a more socially responsible and transparent way of doing what the government is already doing.

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But, unlike lump sum payments, a Covid Card, backed by the Government, would not only save money but, and most importantly, it would require registered recipient business enterprises to remain fully operational, to receive payment.

Critically, that would ensure that currently-at-risk communities survive this Covid war, with the added social advantage of directly involving “the team of Five million” in making it happen.

Backed by the government, a universal Covid Card would have Kiwis flocking to use the amenities, goods and services of endangered enterprises and those of dependent communities currently teetering on collapse.

Covid Card payments, once deposited into the registered enterprise’s bank account, would immediately convert to New Zealand dollars which would then be available for the normal payment of wages, and all things usual in running a business.

It would be business as usual.

Competition for customers in a Covid card bubble would still require good service standards be maintained, and the usual promotional activities; advertising, special deals etc, would still need to be deployed

While ensuring jobs and taxable incomes are maximised, a Covid Card would have the added bonus of allowing a much more diverse range of Kiwis to experience parts of the country they might otherwise be unable to even think of visiting. 

While a Covid Card might not generate the same revenues normally generated by international tourism, current assistant plans were never going to achieve that anyway, but the revenues generated by a fiat currency would at least be fairly distributed. 

Not only would a “Covid Card” save the government money, generate taxable incomes, be transparent, discourage feather-bedding and ensure whole communities benefitted, but also, and perhaps even more importantly, it would allow us to be “hands on” in helping each other through these troubled times. 

Before the word FIAT came to be associated with an Italian motorcar, it was Latin’ for; “Let it be done,” which is a phrase a socially responsible government might consider.  

We just have to come up with a better name for the damned thing!    




  1. We need to stop spending NZ taxes subsidising business owners and grandiose salaries of public servants (In 2019 taxpayers paid $62 million in salaries for the 140 public sector CEOs. The average is paid $443,000, and 53 earn more than the Prime Minister).https://www.taxpayers.org.nz/ceo_rich_list instead spend it where it is supposed to be going – health, social services, schools etc which are being privatised by stealth. https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018788479/woman-will-spend-savings-on-hip-surgery-after-dhb-declines

    Likewise if councils spent more council rates on the basics of rubbish, roading, parks etc rather than commercial property deals and America’s Cup, and own increased management salaries of yet more employees (Eighty-six staff are paid more than $250000 at Auckland Council), COO’s with grandiose ideas and lack of practicality. https://www.ratepayers.nz/rich_listWho knew that water care CEO on a salary of nearly $800,000 did not think there might be a water crisis with increased Auckland population and climate change. The average Aucklander could work it out!

  2. Has the wage subsides for business really been a good idea or just helping rich listers and subset industries?

    Wage subsidies for Covid.
    Coronavirus: US billionaire’s companies claim nearly $1.3m in wage subsidies to pay luxury resorts and winery staff



    A few examples of the wage subsidy –

    AMASIAN LIMITED 5 $32,318.40 16/04/2020
    EUROASIA LIMITED 11 $51,859.20 16/04/2020
    ASIAN KAI LIMITED 4 $22,459.20 16/04/2020
    ASIAN TAKEWAY LTD 3 $18,259.20 16/04/2020
    ACTIVE ASIA LIMITED 9 $60,436.80 16/04/2020

    SKM SUPERMARKET LIMITED 7 $49,207.20 16/04/2020
    METRO SUPERMARKET LIMITED 71 $482,124.00 16/04/2020
    Y & Z SUPERMARKET LIMITED 13 $88,555.20 16/04/2020
    ALPINE SUPERMARKET LIMITED 37 $245,947.20 16/04/2020
    PAIHIA SUPERMARKET LIMITED 13 $74,407.20 16/04/2020

    MIN & HWANG 3 $21,088.80 16/04/2020
    ZHENAI WANG 3 $21,088.80 16/04/2020
    WANG 1979 LTD 4 $28,118.40 16/04/2020
    K F & L C WANG 3 $18,259.20 16/04/2020
    MR ZHISHU WANG 6 $30,859.20 16/04/2020

    KWON THAI 6 $36,518.40 16/04/2020
    ITHAI LIMITED 34 $205,051.20 16/04/2020
    THAI LAGOON LTD 14 $72,948.00 16/04/2020
    SO THAI LIMITED 3 $21,088.80 16/04/2020
    JAITHAI LIMITED 9 $57,607.20 16/04/2020

    ZINDIA LIMITED 7 $49,207.20 16/04/2020
    INDIA GATE LIMITED 4 $25,288.80 16/04/2020
    INDIAN SOUL LIMITED 11 $71,666.40 16/04/2020
    INDIA TODAY LIMITED 12 $64,548.00 16/04/2020
    CURRY INDIA LIMITED 4 $19,629.60 16/04/2020

    TOURISMHQ LIMITED 3 $21,088.80 16/04/2020
    GM TOURISM LIMITED 5 $26,659.20 16/04/2020
    HY TOURISM LIMITED 7 $49,207.20 16/04/2020
    GP TOURISM LIMITED 4 $25,288.80 16/04/2020
    AIS TOURISM LIMITED 8 $56,236.80 16/04/2020

    KOREANA RESTAURANT 6 $30,859.20 16/04/2020
    KOREANA CO. LIMITED 6 $42,177.60 16/04/2020
    CALVARY KOREAN CHURCH 3 $18,259.20 16/04/2020
    HANSANG KOREAN BBQ LIMITED 3 $21,088.80 16/04/2020
    KOREAN NOODLE SHOP LIMITED 4 $25,288.80 16/04/2020

    Nice to see the next generation NZ taxpayers being bankrupted by mostly low wage sunset industries….

  3. NZ needs to stop spending money on business and start spending money on saving the planet. I would also argue that climate change is a very limited view on what needs to be done for the environment, aka environmental destruction is far greater than just climate change and solutions involves decreasing pollution of air, sea, land and fresh water, increasing forests and natural places and increasing biodiversity outcomes in addition to climate change.

    “There are very clearly a lot of things that can be done about climate change, and those who claim that nothing can be done are completely untrue. To list some idea’s, you can look at the website drawdown.org, which lists one hundred climate solutions, all argued to be very feasible. In Robert Pollin and Noam Chomsky’s recent book, Pollin puts forth a Green New Deal plan that would meet IPCC recommendation targets, and cost a maximum of 2.5% of gdp from each government per year, until 2050. Paying for it according to Pollins plan really doesn’t look like it require’s changes that were as substational as the original New Deal policies that were adopted by countries in the 1930’s, and it would bring a lot of economic benefits outside of climate change.”


  4. Bossy, bossy.
    Better to institute an untaxed universal basic income for every citizen and permanent resident, and let them decide for themselves what to spend it on and where.

  5. @M.E.
    “With Covid having destroyed our tourism and related sector industries, and pushed some communities to the brink, a fiat currency, directly targeted at supporting those enterprises primarily effected, should be considered.”
    Where the fuck were you when our farmers were being destroyed by banksters, money lenders in the form of ‘mercantile firms’ and sundry greedy bastards hoping for a cheap steak, a pure wool singlet and a pint of milk?
    Two things.
    Fuck the foreign owned banks to Hell and beyond by nailing their rorting interest rates down with undodgeable taxes and target rural towns and agrarian infrastructure with the creation of tax-shelter-communities and support anyone brave enough to venture further than even the worst nightclub to go into the Great Green Beyond.
    And you know why we should do that? It’s because it’s all we’ve got. Tourism is a feeble straw to clutch at ME.
    Any dollar-package sent our way by ourselves via our politicians is simply a double-bubble, billion dollar blow job for the banksters unless we change direction in a graphic and daringly bold way.

  6. The Government does not need to ‘institute’ a fiat currency. All countries that have and use their own currency are using a fiat currency at all times. Some countries use foreign currencies (the eurozone countries are the prime examples); others peg their currency to a foreign currency – these ways are definitely to be avoided, because they hobble/destroy fiscal capacity. So New Zealand can generate as much of its own currency as it needs, and can easily use the money in non-inflationary ways.

    We have a pathetically timid, so called ‘Labour’, Government – probably being controlled by dinosaur Treasury economists, instead of us controlling them, and taking direction from the ideas of newer economic thinking. We should be using our fiscal capacity to solve the housing crisis (build lots of social housing for heaven’s sakes), and poverty (increase the minimum wage, and improve all benefits). Of course we should also be supporting small/medium businesses through hard times and encouraging them at all times (financial incentives for innovation, and such like).

    Chris Trotter suggested contracting the Chinese to help us build more houses quickly. Such novel ideas are worth pursuing.

    But, are St. Jacinda and co. clever enough and bold enough to be bold and innovative? Don’t hold your breath. They are neoliberal to the core, and uselessly timid. Class politics will never get a look in; instead we will all have to suffer an excess of identity politics. Will we make sufficient efforts to stem climate change? Again, don’t hold your breath.

    Happy days!

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