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The Wellbeing Economy
The goal of the Pirate Party is to build a better society for all. To reach that goal we must work with well-being, balance and prosperity rather than economic growth. The Climate Crisis and growing inequality call for radical changes in society. The future cannot revolve around wealth accumulation and growing consumption. It needs to revolve around a purpose and a fair and sustainable prosperity.
Pirates work towards a sustainable wellbeing economy in which the basic needs of all are met. We want to turn our thoughts to the future and guarantee equal opportunities in an automated society, where creative solutions are prevalent in an open and democratic society. Pirates will invest in people by encouraging innovation in all areas of society, increase the variety of the job market and offer future-centred and interesting studies.
Pirates will build a sustainable society that can deal with the coming automation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Pirates intend to achieve their goals of more opportunities for the coming generations and the sustainability of Iceland, by cooperating with job providers and by making Iceland into an international knowledge-center for the future society.
Pirates will prepare the education system for the societal changes that are coming. We will do that by increasing flexibility and freedom in the education system, putting the student first, supporting teachers and increasing emphasis on skills that are useful for an automated society in the age of information.
Safe Housing for All
Prosperity, freedom and people’s safety should be top priorities in the housing market. Pirates will ensure healthy and appropriate housing for all and build apartments to meet demands. We will strengthen the cause of renters, increase social housing opportunities and non profit housing companies and give people real choice about where they live.
Support for New Residents
Pirates will deal with discrimination towards immigrants on the job market with radical action. We will make regulatory bodies able to protect the rights of immigrants and deal harshly with job providers that violate their rights.
Remove Inhumane Reductions
Pirates will build a new wellbeing system that empowers individuals to live their lives on their own accord. We will remove reductions in wages and insure all decent living conditions, freedom and housing.
Shut Down the Directorate of Immigration (UTL)
Pirates will welcome refugees by shutting down UTL and delegate its tasks to other government bodies. That way we ensure faster, simpler and more user friendly applications for residence permits and citizenship. Pirates will protect the human rights of those that come here.
Pirates will support the public health system and rebuild it after years of decades of low funding and insure the access of all to a variety of good quality services where the rights of the user are prioritized.
Empowering Mental Healthcare
Pirates will provide resources for treatments for people with mental challenges that are based on empowerment, consent and cooperation instead of coercions and deprivations of liberty.
Harm reduction and Decriminalisation
Pirates will stop punishing drug users, decrease the isolation of marginalized groups, build a support system for people with problems and offer psychological support to overcome trauma. We will make an effort in the housing of homeless addicts to avoid the insecurity that characterizes their lives.
Pirates intend to activate anticorruption measures by empowering the agencies tasked with monitoring abuse, with better protections against conflicts of interest, and expansion on transparency requirements for government agencies. Pirates will increase funding to the district prosecutor’s office and reestablish the tax inspector’s office. Support for independent journalism, stronger whistleblower protections, and expanded Internet- and information freedoms are keys to the fight against corruption. Pirates will establish truly independent external monitoring of police activities and enact clear laws about whistleblowing from within the police.
ACTIVE ANTICORRUPTION MEASURE
Corruption should not be tolerated in the government or elsewhere in society. A small country like Iceland has increased risks of nepotism, conflicts of interests and favoritism, which can harm our economy. Corruption costs society large amounts of money each year and causes public resources to be diverted to wealthy elites. In recent years, the Icelandic government has repeatedly been made aware of various problems with the government system and the legal protections, and that not enough has been done to prevent corruption and increase trust in government. Pirates want to adopt active anticorruption measures to protect our society.
Protection against Conflicts of Interest
Pirates intend to review the ministerial code of conduct and the ethics rules for ministry staff, enact an independent review board and establish penalties for severe infractions. The rules about conflicts of interest must be unified to cover both civil servants and elected officials, in parliament and municipal governments alike, to stem the tide of special interest influence of decisionmaking. We will review the laws pertaining to conflicts of interest in the top echelons of government and plug the holes that the current government conveniently left behind.
Shedding light on affiliations
We want to ensure that registers of interests are catalogued correctly and contain reliable, extensive and accessible information. We intend to place sanctions on providing false or misleading information for such registers and we also intend to expand the definition of what constitutes as lobbyism. We plan to bring down the monetary value amount on exemptions of gift giving on a register of interests and further clarify regulations on any gift giving pertaining to any parliamentarians or senior cabinet staff.
Revising our contracting regulation
We intend to implement clear and coordinated regulations concerning tenders. Let’s place a cap on the consortium that our government can have any single entity without having undergone a call out for bids, this should prevent repeated dealings occurring just under the threshold line of calling for competitive tender.
Monitor and review
Our monitoring institutions are in dire need of funds, mandate and manpower if they are to be effective in combating corruption, be it in the private or public sector. We will strengthen and enable our monitoring institutions after long and continuous subversions by previous governments they have had to weather. Special emphasis will be placed on enabling institutions that investigate corruption, white-collar-crime, tax evasion, antitrust breaches, and laundering. We intend to increase funding to the district public prosecutor, the Icelandic Competition Authority, the National Audit Office, Directorate of Fisheries, the parliamentary ombudsman, the Data Protection Authority, the Tax Authorities, the Consumer Protection Office and we intend to reinstate the Construction Review Office as well the title of Independent Director of Tax Investigations. We will open inquiries on the central banks investment practices, corruption relating to fisheries on both domestic and international grounds as these investigations can tolerate no more waiting.
It is important to us that whistle-blowers who blow the cover on corruption and criminal activity have legal safeguards. The Pirates plan to strengthen informant protection laws by revising burdensome qualifiers within them. We also want to set up preventions on former monitoring agents going to work for companies or institutions they previous jurisdiction over.
Pirates want to bring forth comprehensive legislation to increase transparency in public administration that would include instating and appointing the office of transparency. All documentation not concerning individual personal matters is to be opened, made accessible, and free to all.
A disclosing and informative public office
We would like to bring an informative rather than secretive approach to public administration communications. Government should answer questions as in accordance with our information law, but sadly has not been keeping up to standard. That has to change. It is time to review and reconcile institutional procedures to keep them up to date in accordance with our laws.
We need to continue to increase accessibility to documents of public record. For instance, the business register and the shareholder register, should be accessible and fee-less information resources. As should the legal Gazettes of Iceland be made accessible and free to the public.
Parliament’s oversight responsibility
We need to place stricter regulation on ministerial duties to truth, establishing that any willful deception or information concealment towards the house of parliament be a sanctionable offence. We campaign that parliamentary committee meetings should be freely viewable and accessible to the public and advocate that permanent parliamentary delegations be authorized to summon for testimony. Parliament also needs to have greater control-measures on ministerial operations at their disposal. We intend to increase funding towards the office of Parliamentary Ombudsman for preliminary inquiries, amplify their supervisory duties and give the Parliamentary Ombudsman mandate to offer instructive direction to governmental bodies.
Separation of legislative and judicial power
While serving as ministers nobody ought not hold an active position as a parliamentarian in the meantime. Pirates will call for all ministerial correspondence, such as telecommunications and meetings be logged and that ministers meeting calendars be concurrently updated. We need to reverse the growing trend where parliament has increasingly taken on the role of little more than a rubber stamp for the cabinet. Parliament needs to reclaim its role as the independent barer of legislative power. We intend to have ministerial violations be subject to investigation by the prosecution and policing authorities.
It is important to prevent wealthy and powerful interests from corrupting the political process. Pirates want to bolster investigative bodies confronting corruption. Bribery legislation needs to be clearer when it comes to exchanges of favors between private entities and public officials. We want stricter transparency requirements on non-market companies that meet certain size criteria. Transparency over governmental contracts with private contractors via an independent review process.
Pirates want police funding to be sufficient and reliable. Added to that there needs to be funding channeled towards corruption countermeasures and staving off special interests within law enforcement. Political interference of law enforcement needs to stop and all position hiring has to be publicly announced and merit based. We want transparent re-employment protocols and restrictions on ex-law-enforcement agents taking work for entities likely to generate a conflict of interests.
Revolutionary changes to fishing policy
The Pirate Party holds to the tenet of Iceland’s fish harvesting rights as a national, collective resource and inalienable property of the country’s citizens. No person nor legal entity can claim ownership or indefinite holding over allocated fish harvesting rights, nor are authorized to sell or hypothecate any allocated quota. The citizenry ought to benefit from renting harvesting rights to it’s collective resource. The allocation of quota to the fish harvesting rights must be accessible on equal terms to all, and the level playing field safeguarded. Our policy would be to auction specific time-limit fish harvesting quota on an open market. This, in conjunction with the lifting of restrictions on handline fishing, is done not only to maintain fairness but also to ensure that the barrier to entry is held at a level that new recruitment in the industry is attainable. A clear line of distinction must be drawn in the governance structure over the enactment of sustainability research on one hand and the harvesting utilization decision process and supervision on the other. Our goal is to encourage diversification and innovation in the industry and reverse trends of resource concentration and stagnancy. Fishing has been the lifeblood of the Icelandic nation and is essential for dispersed settlement and communities to thrive. Our duty is to preserve the sustainability of our resources and to protect the biodiversity of our land and seas, therefore we must base the management of our resources on independent and scientific examination.
We press that the ownership of the fishing resources needs to be constitutionally cemented in a clear and decisive manner and should thus be the beneficiary to the fees that a fair market price would provide. This is in total accordance with the article of the new constitution in wait, which opens with: “Iceland’s natural resources, of which are not private property, are inalienable collective property of the citizenry. No one can place ownership or indefinite holding over these resources or any benefits connected to them, nor is authorized to sell or hypothecate them.”
All the catch to be sold on an open market
The Pirate Party pushes for all fish too be required to be sold through a domestic fishmarket. Fisheries that have subsidiary processing- and or sales-organization, be they domestic or foreign, or on board processing, wold have to meet the requirement of offering their catch on the domestic market. This would ensure a fairer price to be had for the catch. Fishermen would greatly benefit from this requirement as their share is tied to the selling price which gets easily distorted away from the market price when fisheries can be their own customers. This would also level the playing field for new entry into fish processing by granting equal access to raw material.
Sustainability, transparancy and inspection
The Pirate Party wants to secure sustainable fishing through an independent and scientific advisory procedures. It is important for political interference of research, counsel and inspection be prevented. This pertains to oceanic research, and scientific counseling which needs to be removed from the administration and oversight of the ministry of industry. To ensure the independence and transparency of the Marine Research Institute work regarding fishing methods and fishing equipment it is imperative that adequate funding is provided and dependable. We also want to take steps to promote independence of the Icelandic Coast Guard and the Directorate of Fisheries as inspection auditors. Furthermore it is our goal to increase authority and funding to the Icelandic Competition Authority in regards to the fishing sector. All data and research findings pertaining to the fishing industry is to be open access.
We plan to close the Pricing Authority for Catch Prices and repeal legislation pertaining it. The Pirate Party maintains the opinion that a fair fish price can only be determined by an open market and not by a governmental agency with opaque valuation procedures. Fishermen are likely those most negatively affected by the current state of affairs.
The 21st Century Economy
The Pirate Party supports a new approach to economics ─ one which combines society and nature and looks at more factors than just the price tag. GDP growth is a bad metric for the success of society. Pirates emphasize investment in people and creating economic flexibility for people to live and thrive in their own way, based on their own passions. Economic independence, empowerment, wellbeing and equality are the mainstays of Pirate economic policy ─ since these things contribute to healthy growth of the economy: sustainable growth, not parasitic growth.
Pirates will increase the personal tax discount immediately and pay out unused discount. Pirates emphasize taxing profits, exorbitant wages, resource extraction and extreme wealth, but lowering taxes on the people with the lowest income. We will actively reduce deductions and conditions for welfare support, slowly eliminating complexity in the various support systems, until all have been replaced with a single universal basic income.
ECONOMIC ACTION PLAN
The Pirate Party supports a new approach to economics ─ one which combines society and nature and looks at more factors than just the price tag. We advocate a sustainable wellbeing economy; a society where everybody can thrive in their own way, in harmony with their environment. We want to look to the future and guarantee equal opportunities while embracing automation ─ letting creativity drive an open, digital, and democratic community. The fight against corruption, oligopoly, monopolies and money laundering will play a large role in creating this future.
The First Steps
We will define a coordinated minimum subsistance, instead of having different amounts in different government agencies. That way it will be clear to everybody what it costs to live a decent life in Iceland. We will raise the tax discount immediately and make preparations to pay out unused tax discount. Children’s benefits will be changed so they are allocated to the child rather than the parent’s income history.
We will build a progressive tax system, where the burden increases with greater wealth. In that way, taxation on low income, disability benefits, retirement allowances and green startups will be lowered, but taxation of great wealth, dividends and capital gains, and on polluting industries will go up. We will deep dive into public spending and guarantee that public funds are being well spent. The goal is to create space for new spending without increasing total taxation or expanding the state incessantly.
We will strengthen the monitoring agencies that ensure fairness in the economy: The Tax Inspector’s office will be reestablished and we will take decisive measures against money laundering. The Competition Authority and the Fisheries Agency will be fully funded so they can do their jobs effectively, and the future of the Consumer Protection Agency will be guaranteed. The Ombudsman of Parliament will be guaranteed enough funding to be able to once again initiate inquiries.
We will look to the future with a new industrial policy, where we emphasize education, basic research, technology transfer, innovation and measures against long term unemployment. The first steps will be to guarantee enough availability of appropriate jobs, empowering people with innovation opportunities, and reducing deductions in the benefits system.
Increased equality is a key to economic action globally: neoliberalism is dead. An economic policy must be equitable for it to support an equitable economy based on sustainable growth.
During the coming term
We will increase the tax discount in steps and pay out the part of the tax discount that doesn’t get used ─ a negative income tax bracket. We will simplify the tax and public insurance systems to reduce deductions. The current systems are complicated, misanthropic, and full of poverty traps. We will guarantee transparency in the tax system and encourage efficiency with digital solutions that can be simpler and better.
We will introduce a new industrial policy during this term. In the policy we will focus on Iceland as a land of innovation, where opportunities for thriving can be found across the country. This requires powerful, sustainable, green infrastructure projects in all municipalities to address the needs of the future. We want to create as many opportunities as possible for future generations and support sustainability by driving innovation in the public sector, in cooperation with the private sector ─ making Iceland a knowledge center for the future.
We want to review the pension system. A mixed system of through-flow and collection fund will be adopted, because the current collection-only system cannot maintain solvency in an aging society. Automation drives a pressing need for lifelong learning, but this also means people need to have flexibility around retirement and a shorter workweek.
Pirates wish to reform the public housing system, since housing is one of the biggest issues for most people in Iceland, and a huge part of the overall economy. Instead of plugging the holes in the current system, we must take a holistic view and, in collaboration with the municipalities, construct a new public housing system that works for people. In that work, we must build upon the development of non-profit rental collectives.
Pirates will emphasize the wellbeing economy. To do that, we will adopt new metrics for the quality of society, based on OECD proposals, rather than have GDP be the only way to measure growth.
Greening the economy and constructing a circular economy must be foundational to the next government’s economic policy. The European Union is currently adopting new accounting rules and regulations for the private sector aimed at increasing sustainability. This will affect all economies in this part of the world, and Iceland must participate from day one in reforming the global economy ─ not play catch up later.
In the Future
In the future, we wish to change the government support structure to one of Unconditional Basic Income (UBI). The first step is in paying out unused tax discount and reducing deductions in benefits ─ from child benefits to pensions. The wealth created by our natural resources and taxing of profits, high wages and superwealth are the foundations of this system.
We want a more dynamic tax system: that taxes be automatically accounted in real time. In the future, we will tax more wealth and dividends and less of income and regular consumption. Pollution will be taxed in real time. Economic changes will affect most aspects of society. For that reason, we want to adopt more flexible policies around employment, education and healthcare. Both workplaces and changes to the economy, due to technical advances and automation, require increased lifelong learning.
All economic actions and all labor issues must be based on the overall sustainability of society. The climate crisis requires large public investments which will create opportunities for innovation and job development. The price we pay now will be earned many times over in the long term.
Environment and climate policy
The state of the climate calls for radical change, and Pirates will respond to that call. The economy must be changed so predation on natural resources and short-term profit motives don’t trump the interests of nature and of coming generations. We will declare a climate emergency and follow it up with aggressive, just, and progressive action.
Pirates will immediately amend Iceland’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70% and speed up the path to carbon neutrality to 2035. We will increase transparency into government decisions and increase regulatory oversight, so the public can hold the government to account. We will guarantee that all government activities and public spending are considered from a perspective of environmental awareness. We will adopt tax incentives for the private sector to go green, and we will strengthen green startups. We will make it easier for people to choose products that pollute less and put in place new rules for the financial sector to prevent support to polluting industries. We’re taking everything into account, so that all society can be involved in the fight against climate change.
The next few years are crucial in the fight against climate change, and that’s why we need political leaders who understand the problem and dare to act decisively.
Environment and climate thinking
Earth’s climate is one of the biggest issues today. Pirates are ready to take the steps needed to build up a green and sustainable future. We understand that the future holds unavoidable changes to our world. We foresee a society and a natural environment that thrive despite the gargantuan challenges we face.
A Clear Path to Carbon Neutrality
Climate change calls for systemic change. Iceland has everything it needs to be at the forefront of the countries fighting against these changes with just and progressive action. The solution is a sustainable society. Ahead are opportunities to do better, both in modern politics and for coming generations. We will establish an ambitious plan to tackle the current climate emergency, and put it into action.
Green Transformation ─ For Everybody
A greener society benefits everybody. It is crucial for coming generations. The responsibility to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions lies with governments and corporations. People should have clear information so they can choose environmentally friendly options. We need to collectively prepare for the challenges that stem from climate change and create new opportunities with reeducation. Green transformation is for everybody.
Governance and government
The inability of the current government to react appropriately to the climate crisis is a symptom of an unempowered civil service. Substantial decisions in the fight against climate change are being taken by others than those who are responsible for executing the decisions. Pirates want to reorganize the civil service and start cooperating with the private sector on just and effective measures. We want the Environment ministry to have a substantially stronger position within the cabinet; an office of climate affairs that crosses ministerial lines, a redoubled Meteorological office and a climate council that keeps the government on their toes. We will enact an ambitious, timed and fully funded action plan which will be regularlyl reviewed, and we’re going to rely on wellbeing metrics in the planning process.
A Green Renewal of the Workplace
In coming years, there will be a revolution in green innovation and development. By supporting green startups and funding environmental research we will not just protect a livable Earth for coming generations, but also make a sensible investment for the future. We need strong measures that reach all sectors of the economy, create business and tax incentives for the greening of the workplace, and support products that pollute less. We are going to put in place new rules for finance that prevent support for polluting industries. We will also create a new long term plan for environmentally friendly and carbon neutral food production, and reduce self-regulation of polluting industries.
Untouched nature needs a strong advocate at the helm. We want to protect the central highlands of Iceland for coming generations. We support the public right to roam and the freedom of people to travel across the land, as long as it doesn’t endanger sensitive ecosystems. The Electricity Framework will continue to be a yardstick for public interests in electricity generation but it must continue to develop in relation to stronger demands for environmental protection. Pirates wish to allocate the energy to a greater degree to support green innovation and infrastructure rather than benefiting polluting industries. We’ll support that environmental protection is a key aspect of all regional planning and we’ll emphasize protecting popular destinations. Ecosystems on land will be protected and reinvigorated, forestry expedited, and restoration and rewilding will take place both on unused agricultural lands and in the barrens. We will review the law on protection of wild animals, expanding it and adding the protection of sea mammals.
By building a circular economy we will turn away from an unsustainable economic model based on infinite growth. Pirates will enact a clear policy on the circular economy to reduce our environmental footprint and push back against excessive consumption and waste. Pollution fees will be levied under the Polluter-Pays-Principle. We will enshrine the Right to Repair in law and take measures to support a sharing economy. We intend to improve Iceland’s sewage system in cooperation with municipalities and reorganize sewage from scratch. We will invest in green transportation infrastructure around the country and experiment with options for future modes of transportation.
Empowering the public
The government must take responsibility in times of climate change. The public must have clear tools to hold the government to account. Public consultation must be performed at all stages of policymaking. We will protect the interests of coming generations by estimating the impact of all actions and public spending based on the wellbeing metrics, and their effect on the environment and climate. Pirates wish to hold a National Assembly on sustainability and climate issues at the beginning of each term; that way, we can find the solutions together.
Extensive international cooperation is necessary if we are going to keep global heating within the 1.5°C levels specified by the Paris Agreement. Many parties to the Paris Agreement will not be able to fulfil their commitments to the agreement without redoubling their efforts. Iceland should use its voice in international affairs to be a strong advocate of the environment, pushing back against irredeemable damage to the world’s ecosystems. Pirates will promote increased international cooperation to reach carbon neutrality and emphasize climate language in all international agreements that Iceland is party to. We will promote the creation of new international metrics that address the roots rather than the effects of the climate crisis. We will also support developing countries in their actions and thus take the responsibility that Iceland should take as one of the richest countries in the world.
Pirates understand that society must be prepared for unmitigable effects of climate change. The government must plan to guarantee continued wellbeing and safety of the public, animals and vegetation, that are rooted in all conceivable scenarios, such that we can react even if heating goes well beyond the Paris limits. These plans should also contain a risk estimate based on holistic and detailed expert analysis.
Such reactions imply an increase of Iceland’s food security, promotion of diverse and sustainable food production, the expansion of basic scientific research, the development of increased domestic production, greater levels of recycling, a circular economy and biotech research. We will also consider the changed scenarios in international freight and shipping, so that we can safeguard the wellbeing and security of the public.
Protecting the Oceans
Pirates will protect marine ecologies against overfishing, habitat destruction and pollution. To do this, we will promote the best available technologies in fisheries and fish processing, and adhere to international standards in protecting the sea around Iceland and its resources. We will create economic incentives to reduce spillage of non-biodegradable materials such as plastics and other “forever-chemicals” from urban areas and land operations. Activities that threaten the seas should be required to undergo environmental impact studies. Ships in Icelandic waters should be required to reduce their emissions and pollution. Ships that dock in Iceland should run off grid electricity, so they don’t burn oil while at port. We will increase the number of protected sea areas, in particular around spawning zones, to protect biodiversity. We will protect the ocean floor from construction and trawling that can cause irreparable damage. We will ban oil prospecting and drilling in Icelandic waters.
The New Constitution, of Course
Pirates intend to fulfil the promise of a new constitution for the people of Iceland. We need a constitution that eradicates uncertainties about the limits of power and the responsibilities of the powerful, enshrines modern human rights, guarantees public ownership of natural resources and strengthens democracy, the environment, and transparent governance.
The new constitution, which already exists, but has been collecting dust for almost a decade because the most powerful people in the country consider respecting the will of the people unnecessary. It is obvious that a 19th century hand-me-down constitution is insufficient for a modern society.
THE NEW CONSTITUTION
We want to adopt the new constitution, built on the proposals from the constitutional council, during the next term ─ as was decided in the referendum of 20. October 2012. Alþingi should respect the will of the people and fulfil the promise from since Independence, that the Icelandic people get their own constitution. The Pirate Party will only participate in the forming of a government that commits to voting on the new constitution during the term.
Let’s finish the constitution
We want the Parliament to adopt the new constitution and hold a referendum to confirm it, alongside the next parliamentary elections. The proposals from the constitutional council will be foundational to this work, as well as subsequent proposals ─ as can be seen in the bills that Pirate MP’s have repeatedly proposed in the last several years. This new constitution has already received the support of the public; it was written in normal human language by a diverse group of people working in a democratic and transparent process. The new constitution eliminates a lot of the lack of clarity about the limits of power and the responsibilities of those who wield it. It enshrines modern human rights, guarantees public ownership of natural resources, and strengthens democracy, environmental protection, and transparent governance ─ and all without unraveling our system of government.
Disciplined approach, with strong public consultation
All discussion of potential change to the proposals from the constitutional council should happen in an open and inclusive dialogue with the public, and should in some cases include coordination with former constitutional council members. Proposals from the constitutional council should be the starting point, and any changes should remain in the same spirit. Alþingi should debate the new constitution or specific aspects of it in each session of the next term, in order to clarify individual items of conflict and guarantee a chance for elected representatives to express their opinions.