Drug testing ‘distraction’ – Labour
Tue, 28 Aug 2012 6:04p.m.
Beneficiaries who recreationally use drugs face having their benefit cut if they don't clean up and find work.
The Government has announced the details around its plans to drug-test beneficiaries, but the timing of the announcement - which coincides with a damning child poverty report - is being labelled cynical by the opposition.
If job-seeking beneficiaries tell their case workers they've been using drugs, it's enough to get them out of applying for jobs in industries like forestry where drug testing is mandatory.
“It's unacceptable that people use recreational drug use as an excuse for not going for some jobs,” says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.
So from July next year beneficiaries will be tested for nearly half of all jobs listed by WINZ. Fail the first test and they will be warned, they will then have 30 days to complete a clean second test or their benefit will be cut in half.
If they fail a third test within another 30 days their benefit will be cut completely.
Over a one-year period, the Government is expecting up to 5800 beneficiaries to fail the first test, 1900 to fail the second and 1100 to fail the third.
“Families who are out of work need support and they need jobs, they don't need this kind of persecution in a policy like this,” says Greens co-leader Metiria Turei.
The policy has been flagged twice in the past but today was about the details, and it also coincides with a critical report about child poverty.
“Unfortunately the minister has decided to create a distraction so she doesn't have to talk about that issue,” says Labour MP Jacinda Arden.
Ms Bennett insists there's nothing sinister about the timing - just that it's been so busy.
But this policy plays well to National's core voters, and Bennett's promising more welfare changes in the coming weeks.
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15/10/2012 12:03:11 p.m.
thats good drug test,benifit gets cut,who loses,oh thats right the kids again
1/09/2012 2:48:30 p.m.
oh dam here they go again....whats really the problem is who cares you on the dole cause of no income stastics so whats the problem longest they do whats expected of them and what...so whats all the fuss....this is the real world people bugger the politics who needs them.....
30/08/2012 2:15:54 a.m.
"This is just punishing people for being poor, which is one of our main points," he said. "We're not testing the population at-large that receives government money; we're not testing people on scholarships, or state contractors. So why these people? It's obvious-- because they're poor." - Derek Newton, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida after the a similar law was made in Florida and 2% of all beneficiaries tested positive.
30/08/2012 12:04:24 a.m.
kelly yeates wrote:
clever way to fight the n.z police war on cannabis,but i think it only fair that all work places should have mandatory drug testing also.nobody in this country should be exempt,after all its illegal
29/08/2012 5:38:54 p.m.
How can any sane person have an issue with drug testing? Labour waffling again and the 'me too' brigade. Pathetic.
29/08/2012 12:53:10 p.m.
LOL...NICE IDEA BUT IT WILL FAIL!One drop janola bleach into the test make it null void, meaning the test is N/A - so you can keep you dole. lol
29/08/2012 9:37:04 a.m.
Iron side, I agree there may be some sort of 'probable' backlash to children but it's a backlash that children are already dealing with now, (pertaining to drugs/alcohol within the home). This is a problem that, IMO, in certain homes will get worse before it gets better. Depression and all the other contributing factors do play a big part in a persons ability to be a positive part of society and with that knowledge, it's up to the govt to provide avenues for people to 'heal'. The next question is: What efforts is National going to put in place to generate jobs for 'clean' beneficiaries? National has to step up and provide 'real' jobs for beneficiaries. If it Nat's intention to reduce beneficiary numbers then they have to provide jobs/training immediately.
29/08/2012 9:34:43 a.m.
Drug testing is a war zone between the drug addicts and the person like Ms Bennet by refusing the rights to their benefits that may raised more criminal acts in our community by commiting robbery, bloodshed, death or injuries to the innocents..
Bennet is not a policeman that she should be focusing on finding jobs for the unemployment's and to avoid the bloodshed from spreading..
29/08/2012 9:25:42 a.m.
If the parents aren't spending the money on drugs, surely that's better for their kids?
29/08/2012 8:44:40 a.m.
iron side wrote:
This diversion is working very well. Nearly all the comments here refer to the drug testing issue and spurious moral panic myths of wide spread drug use amoung the unemployed. The greater issues of rapidly growing child poverty and its devastating consequences have been ignored. Let us get back on track with what will NZ do for its children.
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