HOT TOPICS:  Top 10   |   Housing affordability  |  LVRs                                                       KEY RESOURCES:    Economic calendar   | Farms for sale

The comment stream

Recent comments

Reader poll

What is the single most important topic for you going into this year's election?

Choices

Join the Interest community to be a registered commenter so you can:
- Edit your comments
- Avoid the CAPTCHA
- Vote on comments
Register Here

Already registered? log back in here ..

Forgotten your password? No problem! Click here

Beneficiaries who fail drug test for job application to be given 30 days to get clean, or benefit cut in half, Bennett says

Posted in News Updated
See video

Beneficiaries who fail a drug test required for a job application, or who refuse to apply for a drug-tested job, will be given 30 days to come clean or their benefit will be cut in half, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says.

A second failure could lead to someone's benefit being cancelled altogether.

These further details of the government's Election 2011 welfare policy follow comments from Finance Minister Bill English in June, when he raised the question of whether beneficiaries should be drug-tested before being allowed to receive a benefit. 

English said that, from his experience, many of the unemployed youth in his Clutha/Southland electorate could get jobs at the freezing works or in forestry if only they could pass a drugs test, "which makes you wonder whether we should have a drugs test for putting people on [the] benefit."

The next day, Prime Minister John Key said that while English raised a good point about youth not entering employment because they would not pass a drug test, the government was not looking at drug tests as part of a benefit application.

The new rules

On Tuesday morning Bennett said around 40% of the jobs listed at Work and Income required drug tests

"Those on benefits with full or part-time work obligations will be sanctioned if they refuse job opportunities which require a drug test or if they fail a test," Bennett said in a media release.

"Work and Income will reimburse employers for test failures and those who fail a test will have to pay back the cost out of their benefit," Bennett said.

People would be given a warning and reasonable period of time to stop using drugs before having to take another drug test.

"But further failures will result in benefit reduction and possible cancellation," Bennett said.

"Where people fail a drug test or refuse to apply for a drug tested job, they must agree to stop using drugs or their benefit will be cut by 50%. They will be given 30 days to allow any drugs they have taken to leave their system," she said.

"Where they fail a test or refuse a second time, they will have their benefit suspended until they agree that they will provide a 'clean' drug test within 30 days. If they do not do this their benefit will be cancelled."

People with addictions would be supported to get help with their dependency, while those on some prescribed medications would be exempt, Bennett said. Experts would carry out "robust clinical assessments" to determine whether people were recreational users or had a drug dependency, she said.

The new requirements would come into effect in July 2013.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment in the box on the right or click on the "'Register" link at the bottom of the comments.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current Comment policy is here.

56 Comments

People with addictions would

People with addictions would be supported to get help with their dependency, while those on some prescribed medications would be exempt, Bennett said. Experts would carry out "robust clinical assessments" to determine whether people were recreational users or had a drug dependency, she said.
Reading between the lines, this is a move to get them off the unemployment benefit and onto the sickness benefit while they are "treated" for their dependency, thus helping the official figures in an attempt to make the government look good. This is all just cheap rhetoric and a diversion, look elsewhere for the news because this isn't it.

 

Agreed Scarfie, until they

Agreed Scarfie, until they address the sickness benefit rort these types of actions are completely meaningless. The unemployment benefit only makes up a small percentage of total welfare expenditure.

 Experts would carry out

 Experts would carry out "robust clinical assessments"
WTF does that mean...Bennett...? are they gonna probe em , digitag em, at my expense.......?
 
Will there be an army of experts because you gonna need one.
 
 Will drug testing become a new enterprise as an SOE to be put up for sale , as it's got the potential if your talking blanket testing.
Here's what it takes...http://www.enotes.com/drug-testing-methods-clinical-interpretations-test-reference/drug-testing-methods-clinical-interpretations-test
 Which begs the Question of compensation for wrongful dissmissal, right back at the taxpayer, and they'll get free legal aid to boot.
 You know it might be a whole lot smarter to give us some idea where these jobs are they need be fit for. 

On Tuesday morning Bennett

On Tuesday morning Bennett said around 40% of the jobs listed at Work and Income required drug tests.
 
Wow - that's a high percentage - has drug testing become the standard for say, jobs in the hospitality sector?
 
I'm wondering whether there is some discriminatory recruitment treatment going on with respect to those candidates being referred by WINZ - as 40% just seems a very high number to me.
 
 
 
 

Dave

Andrewj - thanks for link -

Andrewj - thanks for link - hilarious.

your closer to it than you

your closer to it than you think Kate.

All WINZ jobs listed here:

How about we drug test all

How about we drug test all beneficiaries; including all those of the South Canterbury Finance bailouts, all Telecom shareholders and employess who are being bailed out of their lack of re-investment in their business via the govts boadband rollout, the farming community that benefits from a lack of cost recovery of environmental degradation (postponing Carbon tax initiative), Doctors for whom the major player is govt subsidies, drivers who benefit from subsidised roading projects...etc etc. 

The Govt guarantee for the banks etc during the early days of the financial turmoil surely must make banks beneficiaries? Therefore all their employess!

Government has so many dependants these days; the best game in town is to circle the Beehive (lobbyists )and contrive to get favours (legislation) to favour your sector. 

Yes indeed lets line up the beneficiaries in this economy and get some drug testing under way. Your turn Ms Bennet. Midstream please! 

Ouch!

Ouch!

Well let's stop the hypocracy

Well let's stop the hypocracy here and test them for traces of alcohol, by far and away the root cause of misery that purvees the lower socioeconomic demographic.... by far and away the most common cause of absenteeism , tardy arrival, poor presentation, indifference to work ethic..etc indeed in all classes of N.Z. Society.....f#%king hypocracy.
Yet again the proof that know nothing grad students becoming politicians, gives rise to naive policy aimed at winning the affectionate vote of similarly small minded individuals.
what do you say on the damage alcohol has done to Society Minister, and further that it's abuse is far more wide spread and commonplace.
 I know a number of Sth Auckland detectives, just ask them which they think is the far greater evil in terms of the repercussions to society , the destroyer of security and self worth for the victims of it's high.........I have asked , it's a no contest.
 Fit for work.......? have yourself tested Minister, you may pass a drug test, I doubt youd score F on an IQ test.
Here's a little something I hope some of you take the time to watch....objectively ,  it's not new  but it's becoming news, now start scaling it down and listen for the bells ringing.
http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestoryus2012/2012/08/2012823103039675592.html

Wonder what Lance Armstrong

Wonder what Lance Armstrong would think about this drug testing proposal?

He'd say ....well if you

He'd say ....well if you can't beat em..........or ............gees if I was still on the roids I'd have the energy to fight this...!, but I've just got this good woman now and she don't like the cold water condition.

I forgot to mention Ms

I forgot to mention Ms Bennett, as a Minister of the Crown there should be a certain responsibility to arrive in a( fit) and presentable condition, you may want to .. steer clear of lunching with Gerry as it's starting to show....excess protien has a direct effect on cognition as Gerry's performance in Christchurch would demonstrate thus far.

Christov and Sore-L - I can

Christov and Sore-L - I can pass on your advice or perhaps place it on a placard when I'm in Wellington being, Nigel-no-friends on Parliaments front lawn.
 
Flying FAT pigs with talons sunk into the unemployed - graphics can describe this better than my words.

I like the cut of your gib

I like the cut of your gib there notaneconomist,  give our regards to Broad-way.
 P.S. I found that leaked email from the Minister to wasshername....
                                             I have PMS and GPS
                                               Which Means
                                                I am a bitch
                                             And I WILL find You

Are there any examples of

Are there any examples of this type of approach working successfully anywhere in the world?

Nope.  But there are plenty

Nope.  But there are plenty of examples of it being an expensive failure.  Has been tried in several US states where there's easy access to drugs like cocaine that most NZers can only dream of, but turned out that the steretype of welfare=druggie has no basis in reality.  Cost a fortune + 2% hit rate.  Whoops.  Nice return on election bribes for the testing contractors though.
But whether it actually works is irrelevant to those proposing it.  This is about picking a nice distracting scapegoat, getting middle NZ foaming at the mouth over an imaginary enemy and indulging in a little 'governance theatre' while ignoring the real problems because they're too hard.

if you take half their

if you take half their benifit away then the ferals amongst them will have to steal twice as much.

nah it's all about

nah it's all about destabilising them. the guru behind it did exactly the same thing with the finance sector. problem is we are a low paid society and there aint no jobs. and besides we have the bleediing heart lefties who will stymie bennett at every opportunity.  

Oh Paula - what are you doing

Oh Paula - what are you doing - perhaps you should lead the dependency issue by example. Your lifestyle is dependent upon politics and private enterprise is paying for your dependency. You cost far more than anyone on an unemployment benefit and whatever you are taking to inflate that ego of yours should be a banned substance.
 
When the people say they don't like welfare they are referring to all you Politicians and Bureaucrats that are milking off the system. If you created a decent society people might not want to take drugs to escape the misery of the system they find themselves in.
 
 
 
 

Marc Ellis seemed to do well

Marc Ellis seemed to do well with Charlie's, mmm wonder where that name came from?

Bennett says 100% of the

Bennett says 100% of the rebuild work is drug tested! We're talking here about people who carry around bags of cement in the rain for minimum wage. A close friend of mine does exactly that (i.e. does not operate heavy machinery), and has twice been laid off because of this rampant unnecessary drug testing  - he was not intoxicated at the time, and not operating machinery or tools of any kind. Now they are threatening to kick him off the benefit, and bill him for the testing? Clearly this foreign company has paid off the right people, and as with any kind of facism, no-one cares - as long as they're not targetting me. For cheaper beneficiary bashing, I would recommend the Coopers test - its free to implement, and Obesity has far greater implications for health and employment than Cannabis usage (although Gerry Brownlee is understandably cool on the idea). Alternatively, instead of going broke from bailing out dodgy Finance and Insurance companies, we could actually invest in job-creation schemes and watch the money circulate back home to papa.

This will make not one lick

This will make not one lick of difference in the long run. All these nasty punitive moves from someone who took advantage of training incentives to get where she is today, only to pull that ladder to success up behind her, are just a sop to baying pack of right wing reactionary hounds that seem to love this government. No mention of how they plan to put things in place to see that there are both jobs for people to take up and decent paying ones at that. It seems nowdays that far too much ordinary but vital work no longer pays enough to live one, hardly something to inspire people.

Cant believe there are so

Cant believe there are so many on here apparently condoning drug use.
Its illegal chaps and chapesses, and anybody who expects to be funded by the taxpayers of NZ needs to understand there are certain obligations that go with receiving that funding......
.
 
 

Kermie there is a world of

Kermie there is a world of difference between condoning and understanding, perhaps a revision of the liquor industries promotional activities is in order  then ,as I'm sure you will find the larger percentage actively engaging in work related duties while on performance reducing drugs ( alcohol is a drug) enshrined in law or not.
Of course nobody should turn up stoned to an interview or pissed for that matter, or stupid, or beligerent, or dirty, unkept,
 I argue that the implementation of such a programme, if you followed my link above , is far more costly to the taxpayer than you are being led to believe. To add to that ,the potential for damage cases funded by legal aid will surely land on the taxpayers desk.
This is just a demonstration of poorly though out policy designed to appeal to low brow voters or pius individuals with scant knowledge of on the ground reality as it is , within the communities the policy will largely target.
And it will fail administratively.....because it's frankly dumb politics.  

I work two jobs and am all

I work two jobs and am all saved up to buy a home for my family. Looking in my price range, I see that some dope smoking, Playstation player can have the exact same brand spanking new home that I can just afford, for free gratis and for nothing, payed for by you and me. Nice one, maybe I should do the same, chuck in my jobs, start a bad antisocial habit and spend more time with my family...
I'm NOT some screaming right winger... But somewhere the system is stuffed! And it irks me no-end that so many on this site condone this rort...

The system is stuffed but if

The system is stuffed but if you took out every non-drug taking beneficiary who is at this moment doing their best to get a good job and get ahead, till all we were left withare the ill, the solo mums and druggies, we would have nothing to complain about. The problem has come from the top, the solution and punishment appears to be being applied to the bottom. Yes, the system is stuffed

General H ...the stoner my

General H ...the stoner my good man can be the guy that owns your local fruit store, barber shop,butcher, accountant, lawyer, etc...etc...
Dole bludgers don't have the monopoly on drug use.....get that clear...!
 Go to some rehab meets....they come from all walks of life , successful ....to loser....young men and women from the best of familys...the same from the worst....midlife Fathers , Mothers.....on it goes.
 Get an education in reality before you put the one size fit's all stamp on eh...?
 No disrespect intended, and I absolutely believe in the complete overhaul to the Social welfare system as we know it, because it is certainly a means to tax us twice and ensure  money we may otherwise save gets driven into the economy and ultimately Corporate profits. 
 

Indeed Christov, I know that

Indeed Christov, I know that to be true... But I don't have to foot their bill... until of course they smash in to my family car while on a meth trip...
 
So it's ok to be a dole bludger and take drugs and NOT contribute to society and take, take, take, all because other more 'productive' members of society take drugs?
I guess what I am saying is, pay your way in society, then you earn the 'right' to take drugs, then you can go to rehab... write a book, become a politician, whatever...
I have a firm lock on reality and probably have seen a bit more of the world than most on this site...
Spend the money you spend on drugs on a gym membership, go to rehab, get two jobs and buy your own bloody house... That aint going to happen, cos it's just too hard, aint it?

No General H ...it may not be

No General H ...it may not be ok to be a db....but a lot of em agree with you....and sometimes yes, without your obvious skillset...it's just too hard.......
I'll bugger off do some work, now you got me feeling all guilty about it....
 Stay Well. 

General HubHub - it is

General HubHub - it is certainly not condoning this rort and Christov and others have made some very valid statements in regards to the costs of what Paula Bennet wants to implement.
 
If you cut the benefits of those people with these addictions the ramifications will be horrendous. Apart from the costs involved in implementing the new testing regimen, other social costs of policing for and justice administration for example will be higher as these addicts will resort to other methods to obtain their drugs.
 
I fully understand when you say you have worked hard to save your deposit for your home and to be self-supporting. There is nothing more disheartening than to see others who don't work and obtain benefits for no input. Government and its agencies have not solved one problem in their history but boy have they made sure they have expanded the public sector and benefited from the Labours of everyone else. 
 
NZ has obligations under the UN Declaration of Human Rights and also the NZBORA and we are stuck in a Political quagmire of the interpretation and delivery of those obligations and until the interpretation and delivery issues are addressed we are all stuck with the hideous status quo.
 
 

Raegun, I am not taling about

Raegun, I am not taling about the people who NEED the system... we ALL do from time to time, I am talking about the fact that I have 2 jobs, work bloody hard and the BEST I can afford is the same as the druggie gets for free!
Tell you what, spend a Monday morning in a district court and you'll see the types (and number) of people that get for FREE what people like me sacrifice so much for! The number of lazy not looking for work, drug taking munters is far higher than your comment alludes!
Taking drugs is illegal, it causes antisocial behaviour and crime... I agree with Kermit the Frog above, "...there are certain obligations that go with receiving that funding......"
 
 
 

The sad thing there General H

The sad thing there General H , is do you really think it benefits them even in the short term..?
it's more inclined to resign them to the " life's shit anyway " mentality many walk around with , for the most part try to understand, they are oblivious to you , your work ethic, how you have worked to succeed, they ...just....don't ...see...you....at ...all.
Used to be all the bad guys wore black , and didn't shave...
Not so clear anymore, i wonder how many bludgers it would take to infict the damage your run o the mill Fay / Ritchwhite did....or Hubbo...or shall I go on...? 

christov: the article .. the

christov: the article .. the debate .. the proposition hardly passes the sniff test .. smells of a distraction .. the sort of distraction you have when you need a distraction .. from what? did something happen while I wasnt looking? was it the waitangi tribunal water thing? is keyboy in trouble? apart from that you are being too gentle .. you should go on .. while those at the top of the society you live in get away with rort after rort and zillions and no reparation other than a year or two of sitting at home in luxury on home detention .. then those in the lower echelons who looked up to those captains of industry and role models will simply emulate them .. so if someone fails a drug test the worst they should expect is an extension to their period at home in front of the TV. Every bit of the Hubbo saga, warts and all should be dragged out and put on display for all to see what went on .. otherwise it looks like the Kenneth Lay Enron solution all over again.

Well said iconoclast......I

Well said iconoclast......I had hoped others would see the point I was leading to through the thread, about distractions I mean, and just how yet again it demonstrates the contempt the machine has for the General level of intelligence in N.Z.....AUS...EUR...GB...USA...
From the Petravitch's of this world to the public teat sucking, finger pointing Ministers not worthy of the title Honorable , at least I know the thief at the bottom has registered the intent to steal from me.

Christov, you are a scholar

Christov, you are a scholar and a gentleman, and because of you I have seen the errors of my ways and have resigned from my jobs and have a meeting with WINZ tomorrow. Should be in my brand new home by the end of next week! Have created my very own drug addiction, and am looking for a soft touch to loan me a buck or two for 'bread' and an easily accessed house so I can start funding my new habit, where do you live... ?
Thanks once again my old and dear friend,
 
General Hubhub! OORAH!

General H......thank you for

General H......thank you for your kind words and thoughts , thoroughly enjoyed your brief disseration on the matter and feel flattered by the precious time you have spared to prepare it.
I fully apreciate your sarcasm in lieu of beating the crap out of me, and look forward to many more such small encounters , although I'm still not completely convinced you took the point I was trying to make on board ,so to speak....
General you work two jobs because your being systematically robbed from several vantage points. To have one of the most guilty of robbing you pointing the finger and saying "hey stupid look over there at that dirty grubby dope smoking dole bludger" while they they slide their hands in frisk fashion to see what more they can shake from you, is to say the least embarrassingly obvious.
Now as you have determined my argument to be in defence of their "entitlement mentality" , I can only say , you may well be better off joining them in an effort to elevate the average IQ of the collective demographic.
Or you could just have a laugh and go back to work....your choice.

"Taking drugs is illegal" Oh-

"Taking drugs is illegal"
Oh- is law the ultimate judge on ones action. Exhibit A:

"In a bizarre twist, the National Prosecuting Authority has charged the 259 arrested Marikana miners with the murder of their 34 colleagues, shot dead by the police."
Lesenyego said: "It's technical but, in legal [terms], when people attack or confront [the police] and a shooting takes place which results in fatalities ... suspects arrested, irrespective of whether they shot police members or the police shot them, are charged with murder."
http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2012/08/29/miners-face-murder-rap

Amen to that SoreL.

Amen to that SoreL.

Sore-L: Yep we paid and still

Sore-L:
Yep we paid and still pay for all this stupidity so that makes us all stupid.
 
I reckon that a new Political Party could be formed from the bloggers here, excluding one or two of course.
 
 
PM - Prime MInister is the Public Mouthpiece must be highly skilled in Marketing and Advertising.
Ministers of Orderly Finance....will need 2 to 3 for this position in the first 3 years of operation.
Minister of Good Health
Minister of Knowledge ,Education and Common Sense
Minister of all Beneficiaries
Minister of State owned Assets.....this position will expire in 5 years or less.
Minister of Compliance........Position expires as soon as Minister of Orderly Finance turns the ship around.
Minister of Police
Minister of Military and Intelligence Agency (may need to seperate these two)
Minister of Justice....Courts.....Prisons reducing over time.
Minister of Private Enterprise.
Minister of the Environment...Rather a complex role...must work closely with all other Ministers and ensure that the Right Environment is created to assist all other MInisters with their portfolios.
 
May have missed a few essential services but sure you'll add or chop as necessary.
Now who best fits each Ministerial Role?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sore-L - If it was a cow it

Sore-L - If it was a cow it would have been deemed unproductive and......well you know what I mean.

Wow! Am i reading that

Wow! Am i reading that right?
"Politicians who fail promises test to be given 30 days to fix it, or salary cut in half, Bennett says"