Dr Ben Nutty, Fis Nua

Dr Ben Nutty, Fis Nua
Constituency: Waterford

Personal Details

  • Address:Newtown, Waterford
  • Year of Birth: 1971
  • Email address: bennutty@hotmail.com
  • Phone Number: 086-8738280
  • Website: www.bennutty.com
  • Occupation: Teacher
  • Previous Occupation: Computer Shop Manager
  • Financial interests: The regular various mix in the teacher's pension fund
  • Income (aside from income derived from political office): c.€49,000
  • Approximate net worth of capital assets (aside from family residence): c.€15,000

Political Details

  • Are you an outgoing politician? Not a politician
  • Information on political career to date: Formerly a member of The Green Party / Comhaontas Glas(1995-2010). Played a key role in getting Trevor Sargent re-elected in 1997 as Secretary of Fingal Greens. GP / CG European Candidate for Munster in 1999. National Coordinating Committee member and represented Waterford at Green National Council until leaving for Fís Nua in September 2010.
  • How much money do you expect to spend in the election campaign? c.€5,500
  • What will be the sources of this finance? It's exclusively personally financed

Record and Manifesto

    Personal election manifesto:

    • A New Steady State Economy
    • Debt-easing for citizens
    • Creating employment
    • Reform The Monetary System
    • New Measures of Progress
    • Limiting Inequality
    • Rethinking Business
    • Health and Education Investment
    • New Approach To Drugs
    • New Global Cooperation Political Reform

    For more detail please see www.fisnua.com/Candidates/Dr Ben Nutty

    What in your record distinguishes you above the other candidates in your constituency? I've a comprehesive knowledge of different economic systems including both conventional economics and steady state / ecological economics. I've a 1st Class Honours result in The Economics of The European Union part of my MA in European Studies.

    What do you consider to be the main election issues in your constituency, and where do you stand on these issues? The economy - we need immediate stabilisation measures and a transition to a steady state economy. Employment -we need to create it by investing in renewable energy systems, other sustainability technologies and other public works, and by apprenticeships and more flexible work times (which would also give the overworked more free time) We need new measures of progress so that we're aiming at the goal and not at the sideline. These include our happy life years, our income equality and our ecological footprint. We need to move away from unfulfilling consumerism and promote love, conectedness, friendship, spirituality and creativity for a lasting prosperity and happiness. Investing in Health and Education. The former should be assited by the proposed move away from consumerism and the latter should pay for itself many times over in the long run. Limiting Inequality. This is done to reduce the associated costs of inequality which entail a variety of health and social problems including decreased trust, increased mental illness and higher crime rates. Democratising the places where people work, maximum pay differentials, a citizen's income to reform our welfare system, progressive and fair taxation and fair social programmes help to address these problems. Political Reform. I agree with the subsidiarity principle - i.e. that decisions should be taken at the lowest effective level and I feel that there should be more opportunities for the participation of citizens in the decisions which affect their lives. I also feel that TDs should be national legislators and that local issues should be dealt with by councillors. The salaries of public representatives should be reviewed. In Waterford we also need to see university status for WIT and to ensure that agriculture rises to the demands of less fossil fuel available for food production.

    What do you believe are the national priorities, and what do you propose in this regard? Same as above. Plus, as a nation we should also help to improve global justice by democratising international organisations, technology transfers to developing countries, international aid, tariffs and capital controls where necessary. Ultimately, because of resource depletion and climate change it is in our interests as well as being an overwhelming matter of the utmost importance and basic fairness.

    Specific Policy Questions

    Do you support political reform, and why? What measures would you introduce to reform local and national politics? Yes, for decision-making effectiveness and to increase trust in the system. In addition to what's been mentioned already, we could also consider a list system to get more specialists into government.

    Should Church involvement in provision of education and teacher training continue? If no, what measures do you propose? Yes, but there should be more educational choice for both parents and children through more supports for alternatives - e.g. educate together schools. Religious training should be optional rather than a requirement.

    Do you support Freedom of Information reform, and why? What measures do you support in this regard? Yes because information access is very important for a fair society to function. I'd advocate the removal of the restrictions introduced by the last government.

    What do you believe the smart economy to be, and what measures do you propose to foster this? Making more money for the country by a very-well educated workforce and the productivity yielded through high-value jobs. Increased educational investment fosters this - however if it's as part of a "growth" economy rather than a steady state economy it's not that "smart" because of both resource constraints and the production of wastes including CO2 emissions. You can't have infinite growth on a finite planet.

    What steps do you propose to create sustainable and integrated communities in urban and rural Ireland? Investment in renewable energy, better planning so that people live near where they work, investment in public transport systems and in other sustainability technologies and making sure that schools, parks and other community facilities are part of development projects. Also, some of the Nama properties could be used as part of this.

    What infrastructural projects do you believe are urgently required? How would you support their development? Renewable energy systems and public transport systems. These need to be prioritised for investment for a sustainable society. We also need to update information systems as efficiently and sustainably as possible.

    Do you believe there is a need for pension reform? What measures do you propose to safeguard a dignified and secure old age for Ireland's citizens? Yes. I propose that we move towards asset-backed pensions which involves investing in local systems of sustainability rather than in casino capitalism.

    Where do you stand on the EU/IMF bailout? We shouldn't be paying for the banks' debts . If we separate these from the sovereign debt, the bond price for ordinary borrowing will come down to fund the country.

    Would you support holding a referendum decide the question of making any further payments from the citizens to bank creditors? Yes

    Do you support the Fine Gael policy for Health Reform? It's an interesting initiative. I'd like a single tier health service based on need rather than on ability to pay. My proposed move away from consumerism should facilitate this and I support curbing tax evasion and corruption to facilitate funding. Taxes should be raised if necessary, beginning with the highest earners in society who can afford to pay the most.

    What job creation initiatives do you propose? Investing in renewable energy systems, other sustainability technologies and other public works, investing in apprenticeships and introducing more flexible work times which would also improve the quality of life of the overworked by giving them more free time.

    What measures do you propose to provide adequate housing and security of tenure to every Irish citizen? Making sure that there are enough social housing units and that they are properly maintained. My proposed measures for limiting inequality should help with the latter by alleviating social problems. The law should also be reformed in favour of the tenant with respect to leasing / tenancy agreements. Up until now it has heavily favoured landlords. Some Nama properties could also be used for social housing.

    Questions from Politico Readers

    How would you ensure greater transparency and communication to the public when in government? (Martin Byrne) More press statements detailing plans and explaining decisions as they are taken to increase understanding and trust. It should be based on holistic and sustainability thinking if we're to have any confidence in it as well.

    Will you ensure that natural resources remain under state ownership? (Chris Maher) Yes

    If in Government what would be the first change you would seek in the Constitution and why? (Kevin Cooney) I'd ensure that it's reworded throughout with more respect for the views of atheists and agnostics. Although I'm a Christian myself, it needs to reflect the views of all Irish citizens and thus to be a constitution for all the people.

    Would you support capping TD & Minister salaries at twice the average industrial wage, with €10,000 per annum expenses? (John Murphy) Yes

    What proposals do you have on debt reform? (Tara O'Grady) Debt-easing for Eurozone citizens and for member states' governments via the ECB until the crisis is over or, in the event of the collapse of the euro, via the central banks of each state. This would be stabilising by increasing the monetary supply (similar to the effect of quantitative easing).

    Will you support root and branch reform of all levels of the public service? Starting with the top earners, including politicians. (Terri O'Brien) Yes. Each part should be reviewed to ensure value for money. Those services that are genuinely providing a service to the state should be retained and any genuine waste should be eliminated.

    What experts would you try and get into the Dáil through the Seanad to help in the recovery? (Grainne Fallon) We urgently require experts who understand that a whole systems approach is necessary in order to create a more equitable and sustainable society. In particular we need people who understand how to transition to a steady state economy. We could also do with more specialists in the fields of health and education. A move to a new electoral system - e.g. a list system, could facilitate this.