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Drug testing beneficiaries attempt to blame the unemployed

15 August 2012

Drug testing beneficiaries attempt to blame the unemployed for situation

Following a OIA request, CTU has received information from the Ministry of Social Development today that the government has received no advice, briefings, papers or reports in the last twelve months about complaints from employers about beneficiaries failing drug tests and is unable to locate the much vaunted complaints from employers about beneficiaries failing drug tests.

CTU President Helen Kelly says “the government has based its latest round of beneficiary bashing on nothing more than anecdotal evidence at best and after announcing it will be cutting the benefits of people who fail or refuse to take a drug test as the solution to unemployment is unable to back up its claim that it has received advice from employers that this is an issue. The government hasn’t received any advice from the Ministry of Social Development relating to complaints from employers. This legislation is based on anecdotal evidence and prejudice against people out of work.”

“Bill English has said that young people cannot be employed because they can't pass a drug test, but the Ministry of Social Development has not backed this up with evidence. This is another example of this government perpetuating the narrative that people who are not in work are lazy, and somehow to blame for the lack of job opportunities. At a time it should be investing in training, jobs such as rail, supporting manufacturing, it is dog whistling about drugs without any evidence.”

Helen Kelly says “we know that work is good for people, and people in work are much healthier and less likely to take drugs. This kind of policy is not going to help get people into work, its punitive and focusing on the wrong thing.”

“Often these kinds of policies are far more expensive to implement than they are useful. Rather than focusing on a costly policy to address a problem they have no evidence exists, the government should be focusing on job creation and skills development. Investing in our people who are out of work to get them ready for work, and investing in our economy to create jobs will be more productive for all of us than drug testing beneficiaries. ”

ENDS

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