Drug testing for job seekers

August 28th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Paula Bennett has announced:

Beneficiaries with work expectations will face sanctions if they refuse to apply for drug-tested jobs, says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett. 

reforms are resetting expectations and obligations and recreational drug use is simply not an acceptable excuse for avoiding available work.”

Under the current welfare system an unemployment beneficiary can decline to apply for an available drug-tested job, because they won’t pass the test, without consequence.

This seem reasonable and over-due. It is not random drug testing of all beneficiaries. It is merely saying you can’t refuse to apply for a job which requires drug testing.

“People will be given a warning and reasonable period of time to stop using before having to take another drug test. But further failures will result in benefit reduction and possible cancellation,” says Mrs Bennett.

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 percent. They will be given 30 days to allow any drugs they have taken to leave their system.

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 addiction will be supported to get help with their dependency while those on some prescribed medications will be exempt.

Some will argue against this, but I ask what their alternate policy is? That someone can remain indefinitely on the benefit refusing to apply for jobs that they could do if they were drug free?

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36 Responses to “Drug testing for job seekers”

  1. hmmokrightitis (1,572 comments) says:

    Cue ross69 pointing at politicians, particularly right leaning ones being UTTER hypocrites for not doing this to themslvees. Or similar.

    For me, about time. If I have to be drug and alcohol free at work, why the hell shouldnt someone getting paid by my taxes be the same?

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  2. decanker (222 comments) says:

    Can’t really argue with that, it’ll be a popular policy change.

    Out of interest, it doesn’t include booze right? If I wind up on the dole, I’d still hope to enjoy a monthly pint!

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  3. Brian Harmer (686 comments) says:

    “reasonable period of time to stop” … Is 10 minutes being too generous?

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  4. Graeme Edgeler (3,277 comments) says:

    DPF:

    Some will argue against this, but I ask what their alternate policy is? That someone can remain indefinitely on the benefit refusing to apply for jobs that they could do if they were drug free?

    hmmokrightitis:

    If I have to be drug and alcohol free at work, why the hell shouldnt someone getting paid by my taxes be the same?

    I favour them doing whatever is cheapest for the taxpayer overall. My understanding based on present information is that that is the status quo. Spending $2m to save $1m (or whatever the numbers are) is not a good use of scarce taxpayer funds.

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  5. thedavincimode (6,590 comments) says:

    Isn’t the point as much that taxpayer money should not be spent on drugs, or indeed alcohol, Sky TV, smokes, 2 litre cokes or packets of crunchy crappo engineered bits of artificially mis-flavoured shit?

    Vouchers and more state intrusion into the quality of beneficiary spending can’t come soon enough in order to ensure that people spend their benefits on what is actually need for them and, far more importantly their children, and don’t just piss it all up against the wall.

    I vaguely recall Helen Kelly and a sundry hand-wringer saying that that this is an unacceptable intrusion that reduces beneficiaries to second class citizens. I would like to put out a big fuck off to that. We assist in supporting people to live when they are unemployed. We are not there to provide a standard of living beyond what is required which is roof, healthy food, health and education for their children.

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  6. tvb (4,255 comments) says:

    If a person has a drug habit making them ineluctable for work then they are not able to get a jiv seeker benefit. They can have a subsistence benefit and sleep in night shelter during winter and the streets in the warmer months and get food from rubbish bins and soup kitchens.

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  7. RRM (9,666 comments) says:

    What…………….?

    ……This is terrible policy…………….
    by ‘Paula Benefit’…………………………..
    ….and it only goes to show
    how extreme-right / out-of-touch she is…..
    Fancy suggesting to people that getting off their lazy arse………….
    ……..and finding a job…..
    ……….should take precedence over their RIGHTS to sit at home smoking up…..?
    ….and collecting free money every week for doing so?
    ….from people who have to be “clean” to earn that money to give to the parasite/bludger concerned…?
    ……………Eh?……………………
    Ridiculous……….!

    http://www.whoar.co.nz

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  8. Brian Smaller (4,028 comments) says:

    Surely it is not just a matter of money. This policy is trying to change attitudes. You can’t just sit at home stoned and get money. We spend more than this will cost on stupid advertising campaigns for various government agencies and policies.

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  9. Grant Michael McKenna (1,157 comments) says:

    The irony of philu’s post hurts!

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/7560076/Cannabis-use-damage-differs-with-age-study

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  10. Bob R (1,357 comments) says:

    These requirements are sensible and would help address a major obstacle for a number of job seekers. Another requirement should be contraceptive shots to protect against pregnancy while on the benefit. Economist, Eric Crampton had an interesting post on this:

    “I have a hard time seeing how adding contraception as condition of receipt of benefit is different in kind from the other forms of coercion that already surround receipt of welfare payments. People still choose whether to accept the bundle of restrictions and payments. The exchange fails to be Euvoluntary as (5) is definitely violated. But (5) is pretty likely to be violated if any conditions are attached to welfare receipt.”

    http://offsettingbehaviour.blogspot.co.nz/2012/08/coercion-everywhere-welfare-edition.html

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  11. Elaycee (4,332 comments) says:

    @RRM (1.23pm) – Very Good.
    :D

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  12. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    There is only one answer – Education.

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  13. Muzza M (291 comments) says:

    Yes those buggers on methadone will probably be exempted. I dished the muck out to seventy of them for seven years and there were very few of them too sick to work. If there was a new source of drugs on the streets they were leading the charge. They were all intelligent enough to scam and scheme so they had the intelligence to hold down a job. Problem is, not many employers would want them.

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  14. Bob R (1,357 comments) says:

    ***There is only one answer – Education.***

    Education is universally available?

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  15. dubya (224 comments) says:

    “Hamnida:
    There is only one answer – Education.”

    I don’t think they drug test union reps for the teachers union, perfect!

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  16. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    There is only one answer – Education.

    Not quite. The only one answer is for people to want better things for themselves, their families and their communities. Getting an ‘education’ will be a by-product of that desire

    The type of people who’ll be inconvenienced by these sanctions probably lack a drive to self support. Removing state support may provide a wakeup call.

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  17. trout (921 comments) says:

    How come new immigrants land here with no language, no skills. They manage to find work, build up a stake, aquire skills, start a family, and educate their kids. The call for ‘education’ is not an answer, it is an excuse. Motivation is the answer, and believe it or not, motivation is a natural human instinct (necessary for survival). Drugs of course take away motivation.

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  18. Rightandleft (656 comments) says:

    Dubya, Nope I don’t recall any drug test when I became a teacher’s union rep, just had to swear allegiance to Karl Mark with my hand on the Communist Manifesto.

    I can’t believe this isn’t a policy already. The idea that people are using our tax money to sit around doing drugs and turning down job interviews is insane! They’re being offered help to get off their drugs so this seems perfectly reasonable to me. The problem with education is that some of the students already turn up to class high and there’s little to be done about that. They’re just copying what they see at home often.

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  19. Northland Wahine (659 comments) says:

    trout, more precisely… money for nothing takes away motivation.

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  20. Reid (16,111 comments) says:

    There is only one answer – Education.

    You mean how to beat the test? What’s the bet there’s all of a sudden a massive market for beat-the-test kits, sales of which mysteriously approximate the numbers of beneficiaries required to take these tests?

    Seriously, I just heard Hone’s comment on Checkpoint, where he argues that cos parliamentarians turn up drunk and stoned and “p’d to the eyeballs” and they don’t get tested that therefore this is discrimination and beneficiary bashing. Seriously. What fucking planet does this dude live on. Perhaps he’s one of those shape-shifting lizards from the 4th dimension, like the Royal Family.

    I’m frankly disappointed it’s being deployed as a “fit for work” regime rather than a, “we’re not going to tolerate anybody on the DPB, Dole or Sickness Benefits spending taxpayer money on drugs, period” regime. There are good arguments for all of those people to be drug-free, for their own health and that of their children in the case of DPB beneficiaries. It’s time people learned taxpayer money, if you want it, has strings. If you don’t like it, then don’t take it and get your own money from somewhere else. I guarantee that’s a saleable political argument. I also guarantee [most of] the public would be shocked, totally shocked, at the high rate of positive results (I estimate 70-90% in each group) which would eventuate.

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  21. BigFish (132 comments) says:

    I’m betting the number of burglaries, shoplifting and muggings increase so that people can continue their habit.

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  22. dime (9,667 comments) says:

    bigfish – so be it. then they can do a stretch. some will earn 3 strikes and the shitbags can enjoy their new homes

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  23. Johnboy (15,586 comments) says:

    Where IS Magpie? Has he passed and got a job then? :)

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  24. big bruv (13,559 comments) says:

    Johnboy

    Shut the fuck up!….Do not tempt fate.

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  25. Johnboy (15,586 comments) says:

    Quardle ardle wardle doodle……. :)

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  26. my 2 cents (1,091 comments) says:

    as a taxpayer I have no problem with beneficiaries having to have a drug test each week or month.
    I am not contributing towards the dpb for people to take drugs with it.

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  27. BigFish (132 comments) says:

    “dime (4,818) Says:
    August 28th, 2012 at 8:37 pm
    bigfish – so be it. then they can do a stretch. some will earn 3 strikes and the shitbags can enjoy their new homes”

    Gonna cost taxpayers an enormous amount to put them in prison. Can we really afford that?

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  28. big bruv (13,559 comments) says:

    “Gonna cost taxpayers an enormous amount to put them in prison. Can we really afford that?”

    Yep, we can always afford to lock up scum. It is one thing that I would happily pay a few more cents in the dollar for.

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  29. dime (9,667 comments) says:

    yeah im sure we can find the money to lock shitbags up

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  30. BigFish (132 comments) says:

    http://www.corrections.govt.nz/about-us/structure/prison-services.html
    It costs $90,000 per year to stick someone in prison.
    Would prefer not to waste my tax dollars on them.

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  31. dime (9,667 comments) says:

    nah im good with it. they will learn eventually

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  32. big bruv (13,559 comments) says:

    Bigfish.

    Yep, it is a lot of money. I have an idea, let’s take the money we need from WFF and the welfare (dole and DPB slapper payments) budgets to pay for as many new prisons as we need.

    Better than that, we should reverse the decision to close New Plymouth and Mt Crawford prisons as we will need the space these provide, who really cares if those facilitates are old, cold and sub standard, they are only housing criminal scum anyway.

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  33. Liberal Minded Kiwi (1,568 comments) says:

    I’d go further Bruv. Get the private sector in to build the prisons. Make these places the types of institutions people don’t want to go to. No TVs. Basic meals. Work camps. Compulsory drug tests. Compulsory programmes for employment and education.

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  34. b1gdaddynz (279 comments) says:

    Has anyone here ever tried to hire anyone through WINZ? We have a pretty rigorous H&S culture here and drug testing is compulsary pre-employment; no pass no job! I had a case manager aproach me asking if I would consider some of his clients for a couple of entry level jobs (involving zero skill) light labouring work (nothing I haven’t done myself) starting off on $14.00hr with ppe, clothing and safety boots provided! I was sceptical but I told him I only had 3 requirements; they need to pass a drug test, they needed to have no violent or dishonesty convictions and be willing to work. Out of 22 applicants only 4 would agree to a drug test, only 2 of whom had clear records and one of these guys failed the drug test. So after wasting hours of my time I was down to one applicant who only lasted a day before saying that the work was too hard!

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  35. wreck1080 (3,810 comments) says:

    Ha ha, bigdaddynz knows what is going on now.

    None of those 22 really wanted to work at all.

    Everyone who declined to work or were on drugs should have the dole cut.

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  36. vto (1,128 comments) says:

    This is fucking bullshit too.

    Drug testing does not test impairment in the workplace.

    Drug testing does not test impairment in the workplace.

    Drug testing does not test impairment in the workplace.

    This National government are a bunch of manipulative lying cheating wankers.

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