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Dr Muriel Newman

The Real New Zealand

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If you listen to the news each day, you could be excused for thinking the nation is shrouded in despair and on the brink of crisis. That’s how many in the media depict New Zealand. 

For a less sensational view, let’s look at how others from outside the country portray us.

In November last year, the London-based Legatum Institute published the 2016 World Prosperity Index. Of the 149 countries surveyed, New Zealand was ranked in first place, followed by Norway, and Finland, with Australia ranked 6th, the UK 10th and the US 17th.

Also in November, the 2016 Human Freedom Index was published jointly by the Washington-based Cato Institute and the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute. Of 159 countries, New Zealand ranked third behind Hong Kong and Switzerland, with Australia and the UK on 6th equal, and the US on 23rd

And in March, the 2017 World Happiness Report was published by the United Nations. Of 155 countries surveyed, New Zealand was ranked 8th behind Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, and Canada – but ahead of Australia in 9th place, Sweden in 10th, the US in 14th, and the UK in 19th place.

On the surface these reports paint a picture of New Zealand as a country that isn’t on the verge of crisis. Quite the reverse – we aren’t doing too badly at all. So let’s look at some detail, and, with the election just around the corner, see whether some policy recommendations can be made.

First, the Prosperity Index, which not only measures economic wealth, but also social wellbeing by factoring in ‘freedom’ and the ‘joy’ of everyday life. The framework for ranking countries is based on the assessment of 104 variables within nine separate criteria: Economic Quality; Business Environment; Governance; Education; Health; Safety and Security; Personal Freedom; Social Capital; and the Natural Environment.

Of New Zealand, the report says, “Free markets, free people, and the world’s strongest society ensure that New Zealand takes the top spot in the Prosperity Index”. They note that we have been ranked first in the Index for six of the last ten years, and they credit the upward trend since 2012 to a concerted effort by policymakers.

On Economic Quality, which examines indicators such as free trade, open markets, growth, economic opportunity, and financial sector efficiency, New Zealand was ranked in first place with trade identified as critical: “New Zealand is one of the least distorted markets in the world, with unrivalled free market access… proof that a small nation whose exports are still dominated by the primary sector, can trade its way to prosperity.”

We also ranked first in Social Capital, which covers personal relationships, social network support, social norms, and civic participation: “New Zealand has the strongest society in the world, with 99 percent of New Zealanders saying they can rely on family and friends in times of need. This social strength has been proved globally to not only have a significant impact on wellbeing, but on economic growth also.”

In the Business category, which measures entrepreneurialism, infrastructure, innovation, and labour market flexibility, New Zealand improved nine places over the past decade to rank second. This was attributed primarily to improvements in infrastructure – particularly broadband penetration – and to an increase in labour market flexibility. Along with the ease of getting credit, and improvements to boost innovation (including better intellectual property protection), the report identified New Zealand as one of the best environments for business in the world – second only to the United States.

New Zealand was also ranked second in Governance, which covers democracy and the rule of law, and third in Personal Freedom, which includes basic legal rights, individual freedom, and social tolerance.

In the area of Health, which assesses general health, medical infrastructure, and preventative care, New Zealand has improved eight places from 20th in 2007, to 12th – with a public satisfaction rating of 85 percent, an increase of nearly two years in life expectancy over the past decade, and falling mortality.

On Safety and Security, which measures national security and personal safety, we ranked 19th, and on the Natural Environment, which looks at the quality of the natural environment, pressure on the ecosystem, and preservation efforts, we ranked 13th.

Our ranking on Education, however, which assesses access to education, the quality of learning, and human capital, has fallen from 8th place in 2007 to 15th. The report attributes the decline to a reduction in human capital, which is measured by the number of years of education per worker. It warns that if the trend continues, this “has the potential to undermine New Zealand’s economic success and its role as a world-class place for business. If the country cannot sustain the skills base to match, then prosperity is at risk.”

This, of course, is precisely what is happening at the present time, with record levels of immigration now needed to provide the skilled workers required by local businesses.

The second report, the Human Freedom Index, presents a broad measure of human freedom, which is defined as the absence of coercive constraint.

Using data from a range of sources including the OECD, some 79 indicators of personal and economic freedom are measured to create a country score in the following 12 areas: Rule of Law; Security and Safety; Movement; Religion; Association, Assembly, and Civil Society; Expression; Relationships; Size of Government; Legal System and Property Rights; Access to Sound Money; Freedom to Trade Internationally; and Regulation of Credit, Labour, and Business.

The report explains that democracy is underpinned by both political freedom and personal freedom, and that in the early 19th century, at its peak, 29 nations were democracies. However, the rise of Fascism saw the number drop to 12. While these days around eighty countries maintain the outward manifestation of voting with majority rule, many have backtracked on freedom.

In particular, the authors warn that freedom is under threat in a number of developed democracies as populist politicians target minorities, call for restrictions on trade and other economic freedoms, and propose increasing police powers and state intrusions that threaten personal freedom.

This reinforces our view that here in New Zealand the recent attempts by the Race Relations Commissioner to strengthen hate speech laws and introduce hate crime, is a genuine attack on the personal freedom of citizens and must be resisted.

While the report paints a relatively rosy picture of New Zealand by ranking us third in the world in economic and personal freedom, it does raise concerns over some aspects of our performance, including the over-regulation of business and the excessive cost of government. Compared to many other countries, government spending and tax rates in New Zealand are too high. In addition, we are too reliant on government transfers and subsidies as a result of a welfare system that is not effective enough at moving people off benefits and into work. 

The third index, the World Happiness Report, was developed by United Nations in response to a growing awareness that ‘happiness’ is increasingly considered a measure of social progress and a legitimate goal of public policy.

To generate the Index, researchers ask up to 3,000 people in each country to rank their own happiness based on life in a fictional country called Dystopia, where everyone is extremely sad and miserable. Their answers are then weighted according to six measurable factors that contribute to happiness in each country: social support; freedom to make life choices; generosity; the absence of corruption; GDP per capita; and life expectancy. 

The report shows that while New Zealand ranks 8th in the world on the overall rankings, on social support and generosity we ranked 5th, on trust 6th, on freedom to make life choices we ranked 8th, on life expectancy we ranked 20th, and on GDP per capita we trailed at 27th – signalling the need to do better in the areas of health and economic reform.

The report raises a number of interesting issues, including identifying marriage as a significant benefit, especially in protecting people from the effects of a mid-life crisis which appears to have a seriously detrimental impact on people in many of the countries surveyed.

It highlights how in New Zealand, and many other countries, being self-employed is viewed far more positively than being a full-time employee.

It shows that, all things being equal, senior professionals report the highest life evaluation across all regions of the world – except amongst farming, forestry, and fishing workers in New Zealand, Australia and North America, who report equal or higher affects.

The report also highlights the crucial importance job satisfaction plays in a person’s happiness and wellbeing, and it outlines how unemployment leads to persistently low levels of life satisfaction. This reinforces just how necessary it is to have in place a welfare system, that is effective in getting people who have lost their jobs back into work as soon as is humanly possible.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator is Dr David Skilling, a former Treasury official who set up the New Zealand Institute before moving to Singapore and establishing Landfall Economics. With his intimate understanding of our country, Dr Skilling provides a further ‘outside’ perspective of how we are doing:

“New Zealand is noteworthy for its strong economic performance over the post-crisis period. GDP growth has averaged close to 3% since 2012, well above the advanced economies average, on the back of factors such as Chinese demand for dairy, record tourism flows, as well as record-high rates of immigration. Unemployment has reduced to 5.2%, and the government is running a fiscal surplus.

“This record shows that small economies can do well even in a challenging global environment. Political stability has underpinned New Zealand’s strong economic and fiscal performance over the past period, and contributed to the relative absence of support for inward-looking, populist policies.

“The caveat is that this is largely input-driven growth: New Zealand’s labour productivity growth and per capita income growth remain low, and the exports/GDP ratio has not increased. This means that New Zealand’s growth is particularly exposed to reversals if there is a shock to tourism or migration, or to a key export market. And New Zealand is increasingly running into supply side constraints (infrastructure, housing, etc) that will constrain growth.”

Dr Skilling’s evaluation highlights the reality that there is no room for complacency when it comes to ensuring our economy remains productive and competitive. In fact, with President Trump’s recent announcement that the corporate tax rate in the US will reduce from 35 percent to 15 percent, it’s time for our Prime Minister to be proactive too and reduce down our 28 percent company tax rate so Kiwi businesses are no longer handicapped by an uncompetitive tax burden.

As we look towards the election, all of these reports reinforce the view that while the country’s policy framework is, relatively speaking, standing us in good stead, there is clear room for improvement.

In particular, on the economic front, the comparisons show that taxes in New Zealand are now far too high, that government spending remains excessive, that businesses are suffering from an overload of regulation, that the welfare system is not effective enough in requiring the able-bodied to get jobs, and that our education system is failing to deliver what people need to succeed in work.

One final thought – before politicians are tempted to jump onto the populist bandwagon and call for an end to unskilled immigration, they should make sure they know what is happening in the workplace.

In a recent radio interview the manager of an aged care facility explained that she used to have no trouble hiring locals to fill basic jobs, but not so after the new Health and Safety laws became operational and workplace drug testing had to be introduced. As a result, locals no longer apply for the jobs, and without immigrant labour, the facility would have to be closed down.

What this shows is that welfare policy is now clearly out of step with workplace health and safety requirements, signalling that the drug testing of welfare beneficiaries is now urgently needed. While sanctions are already in place for beneficiaries who apply for jobs and fail a drug test, those who don’t bother to apply – because they know they will fail the test – are not presently covered.

Any political party that wants to campaign on restricting immigrants from taking basic jobs, should therefore extend their thinking to include the drug testing of all unemployed beneficiaries in their manifesto.


Should welfare beneficiaries be subject to drug testing?


*Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.

Click to view x 120


Why should these scumbags be provided money by the taxpayer so that they purchase drugs. Allan
Whddy not? If you are innocent, you have nothing to be concerned about. Kevan
My personal opinion is that as a tax payer I am happy to support people really in need but not if they are using drugs. Mary
Without exceptions and immediately. Erin
Why should useful working non drug users support drug users who want to be on the dole? Testing for drug use and refusal to support users should make peop;e think twice before taking up the habit. Judith
Definitely need to be tested. Also, we have 94,000 youth unemployed. Are they all collecting the unemployment benefit? Time to rewrite welfare benefit rules and make parents responsible for their offspring until at least age 20. Youth should not be able to leave school in qualified for something, or alternatively they need to be in a disciplined training scheme initiated by our lazy governments. Carolyn
Tend to disagree with the Prosperity Index that we have “the world’s strongest society”. Monica
Then they can be given specialist treatment. Mark
A Benefit is a privilege not a right. Taxpayers fund all beneficiaries and those hard earned taxes MUST NOT fund drug addicts. Maureen 
Its a no-brainer – if its required in the workplace it must be required when on a benefit! Chris
On drugs = no benefits. Elaine
Spending welfare payments to buy drugs does not solve their problems. Peter
Of course they should be; if sports people are required to be tested and it:s only a sport for Christ sake then so should any potential employee. Raymond
A step too far! Jim
I don’t see why those people have a right to do as they please with my hard earned money. They should be issued with food and clothing coupons. traded for drugs, alcohol etc. caught three times, it stops and they’re told to go see their parents. If not NZ’ers by birth sent home on the first plane out. If their parents aren’t NZ’ers then they pack their bags and with the culprit all sent home. Robert
Its time we get rid of different rules for different groups in our society. John
As an employer I find the drug testing regime in NZ over the top. I would rather see our drug laws updated, some recreational “drugs” legalised and less intrusive ways of assessing fitness to work being implemented. Wayne
Yes, just like other people applying for jobs. The taxpayer shouldn’t be throwing welfare money at drug users. Sheila
Of course they should be, They are on Tax payers funds should be held to account. Ian
This should have been a basic requirement prior to approval of benefit support. Drugs are ruining this country and by condoning druggie benefit support is only fuelling this country’s problems. Robyn
Hell yes. Many of us have to submit to drug testing in order to earn the money to pay the tax that supports these people. This requirement needs to go both ways. Kerry
Most New Zealander’s who are working in the workforce are all subjected to Drug testing and the same should apply to all welfare beneficiaries. One strike you get penalised and two strikes you are out ! NO EXCEPTIONS!! Wayne
They are purchasing the drugs with tax payers’ money. If they want to take drugs they should work to earn money to pay for them. Sarah
All the time!!! Bill
Where the hell do they get the money to buy drugs if they’re on welfare?? Tony
If employees can have drug testing written into their Employment Contract why can’t beneficiaries. Kevin
If they are getting handouts then they should be required to be drug tested as part of the deal. One has to ask the question… WHY are they squandering money on drugs in the first place? Mel
Knowing the true size of the drug problem in relation to getting a job would be very useful. What we do about it is another question. Lisa
I have no problem with what people do in the privacy of their own home. So long as their habits don’t impact my life or their capacity to do a good job at work then I respect their privacy. If a man or woman is capable of doing a good job during working ours then their private life is none of my business. I think it’s sad that we are voting away our civil liberties in order to satisfy the insurance industry and the snowflake lefties who increasingly leading us into their Marxist “utopia” (read HELL). Steve
Only fair to workers to test for drug for those on welfare. Peter
If you want support from the state then there should be a cost to getting it – proving to be recreational drug free and able to accept employment when it is available. Michael
Since the public are paying these benefits through taxes, the recipients should be accountable in their use and lack of abuse of the funds provided. Allan
Public funds should require the law to be kept. Maurice
They get money for drugs and alcohol and cigarettes. Shirley
It happens in the workplace now, and if you test positive for drugs you’re gone. Drugs = no job = no money. Why should the same not apply to those who are paid to do nothing? JB
There was reference several times on beneficiaries using benefits to support drug habits. Benefits are public money. Marshall
Yes because there is no place in the work place for anyone using major drugs. Cyril
They are being paid with Tax Payers’ money and should be subjected to drug testing the same as an employee of any business may be drug tested. Gifford
Why should we be paying for drug users habits. Len
Its a no brainer –what an uproar we would hear if it came to fruition. Gary
Yes What a brilliant idea. Certainly lessen the welfare expenditure by the Government and the tax payers of New Zealand by a great sum of money weekly I would think!!!! Drugs are a curse on our society and the gangs and dealers have a lot to answer for. Suzanne
Not unless all other jobs are also subject to drug testing. Why is this one singled out? Rosemary
Pointless. Dickie
If experience shows that there is a problem we should address it. There are too many issues in N.z. Where evidence points to a specific cause we ought not ignore it.I advocate common sense; not knee-jerk reaction. Harvey
If U have nothing to hide then have the test! John
Yes, the sooner the better. Athol
If I’m a beneficiary, and not taking drugs, I have nothing to fear about drug testing! If I am a user, when my benefit is cut, I’ll mend my ways! Bill
This should have been done years ago! Janet
If course, able bodied people need to work both for their own well being and that of NZ. Allowing them to avoid work due to drug habits is only teaching the next generation to do the same. Shary
They get Drug Tested as a requirement of most employment contracts. If they are taking drugs on the dole – why not get them real jobs to relieve the sense of hopelessness that exists in that situation. Open ended Immigration has weakened the borders and allowed increased drug trafficking – why not address the real issues? Frederick
Absolutely they should be drug tested, workers get drug tested so why should we be paying bludgers for their habits, they’re obviously getting too much dole if they can afford drugs. Stevo
Drug testing should be mandatory for these parasites. John
Most definitely. Alan
Taxpayer money should not be available to support personal drug habits. Graham
This is long overdue! Hilary
Workers tested whilst beneficiaries are not -totally unfair! Linda
Drug Testing is one option but we have to look closer into where the real problem lies.We are dealing with a large number of often 3rd generation unemployed which have developed an deep seated attitude of entitlement towards society but in return have lost any sense of what it means to be part of and contribute to society. Drug abuse is only a reflection of this problem and drug testing is only tinkering with on of the symptoms . Politically correct pussyfooting will not help us as a society to solve all these problems, only strict measures and changes to this bloated admin system called social welfare will ensure that we get rid of this mess. First. State organized work schemes under supervision to instill a sense of schedule and discipline and remove idleness. Second . If people to not bother to conform — no more money. Period.!!! Second. Stop paying young girls to be paid for having babies. If a young girl gets pregnant– tough luck — either the family will take responsibility or it is abortion. This problem will solve itself if there is no more easy money to be had by uncontrolled breeding. Back to the drug problem — we all know who is responsible for bringing that shit into the country. . Only one option there –ban criminal gangs and seize their property to redistribute to crime victim support. Send all gang members incl hardcore gang family members to a prison colony on the Auckland Islands—-for life. There they can create their own. society if they so wish. If they dare to return somehow to NZ — under pain of death!! These strict measures will eliminate this massive burden onto our society caused by organized crime and will help redistribute billions into welfare where we see a real return and benefit for our society. Not to mention that we have put a stop onto this uncontrolled breeding one beneficiary generation after another. Michael
Plus a substantial increase in National police numbers to counteract the effect of many failed tests that will lead to increased crime as a result. Both together. Mark
As they are a danger to themselves and the rest of the community. Theodorus
There is no reason to object to drug testing except, of course, by those that take them. Eric
Definitely. Brian
Yes they are effectively govt employed so they and all govt employees should be drug tested at random. Peter
Of course social welfare should be subjected to drug testing, money on drugs aught to be feeding their kids. George
Should have always been tested !! Ross
Any Day of the Week, many of us are subject to a random Drug and Alcohol Test. So ….. Geoff
Some are on a benefit due to poor mental or physical health. Adding drugs to their lives can’t help their rehabilitation. John
If those that get paid to work are tested in their workplace then those that are paid to not work should also be tested. Effectively we the tax payer are their ’employer’ so we should be able to demand that the be tested. Andrew
Yeh na. Not everybody who needs assistance takes drugs the majority don’t. What are you going to do with them if they do take drugs. Ray
No clear test, no benefit. If it’s a requirement for workers, why not beneficiaries? Elizabeth
Taxpayers should not be supporting their habit. Kingsley
Welfare payments to drug users is only entrenching them in their drug habit & the ongoing social problems they create. Brian
I’d have preferred a poll in line with the letter and article. Such as how much is our liberty and growth hindered by the Resource Management Act. Or, how long do you give China before it implodes because of its reckless printing of money; phony credit : assets; gross malinvestments. Peter
About time. Barry
Yes, positive drug test no dole end of story. James
Most certainly. Robert
The determination of John Key to follow in the Socialist foot steps of Helen Clark, has been the main cause of our necessity to import people prepared to work. Ask any farmer or other business owner why they employ ‘immigrant workers’, & the answer is always the same. The ‘locals’ have no work ethic, are unreliable & often arrive at work still suffering from the effects of drugs including alcohol, while the new immigrants, especially Asians, have come here seeking a better life, & are prepared to work hard to achieve that. Until the free ride through life social welfare system is curtailed, [drugs testing & stop paying single girls when they get pregnant should be the first step] nothing will change.. A.G.R.
They should NOT be able to spend the dole on drugs, smokes, alcohol or gambling. I am a taxpayer and am highly offended when my hard-earned money is wasted. Glenn
Clean-up the whole beneficiary system, only the desperate people should be helped, most other people should help themselves. Gerard
Welfare is a net and privilege which should not be abused. Elizabeth
Absolutely. Tom
Most definitely if they can afford drugs or grog, they are getting too much, and also, how can you expect to get work if you’re an alky or a druggy. Stan
They should be in a mental & physical state ready and fit to work. For example, if using marijuana, it is the same as driving drunk, so should not be driving or operating any machinery! Rick
Those on benefits are being paid by the community and should be under the same rules as those who work to pay taxes to enable benefits to be paid. If it is good enough for workers to be drug tested then it’s certainly good enough for it to apply to beneficiaries who are being paid out of workers taxes. Mike
The country should not be supporting our drug problem, so of course drug test beneficiaries and take steps to prevent them using drugs on our money. Terry
I have to for my job, and new are/or will be, before they start. Nicholas
Taxpayers should not be helping to feed their addiction. I also believe there are not enough rehabilitation services available to help those in need. Kim
Test them by all means, but then what, do you do cut off their benefit, I think that if they want to continue to get a full benefit they should be made to undergo real treatment. Richard
Citizen responsibility should not be considered an onerous burden if seeking assistance from the state. Alan
Why should drug taking welfare beneficiaries be able to abuse our very generous welfare system by taking drugs and automatically disqualifying themselves. Test positive, no welfare. SIMPLE Neville
We need to cut immigration dramatically so we need to take the bull by the horns and do whatever is necessay to get kiwis into these jobs. Jeffrey
If they can afford drugs they don’t need the benefit !!!!!! Alan
About time WHY should my tax money goto druggies. There’s plenty of HELP to stop taking drugs so THEY need to take it or get NO MORE money. Cindy
They should be ‘looking for work’ so to work you must be drug free. Mike
Why haven’t they been tested? PC is the answer, where are too many left wing liberals determining the rights of drug users to be left alone to get on with what they are doing. I nreality the taxpayers is supporting their lifestile with increased costs of crime govt. handouts ect.ect.. Rex
That would provide a level playing field for all job applicants. Ian
Or no dole. Frank
Of course, it’s public money they use to buy their drugs. Trevo
Of course they should,then we would know for sure if they were under the influence if they applied for a job. Peter
If they are spending money on drugs then they are receiving to great a benefit. Many in paid employment have to submit to drug tests. Alan
There is not nnough accountibility for choices made. A problem with our society. David
But they also need therapy for any addiction involved. Judith
If it applies to other income generating sources why not this one to? Kelvin
As I have to have daily alcohol tests and random drug tests to keep my job, so should beneficiaries. Russell
The tax payer should not subsidizing the use of drugs.. Monty
Random, of those who appear capable of working and won’t. Ross
A lot of jobs require a drug test so where it is public money going to pay these people it should be absolutely essential and very strongly enforced. Bruce
But only if their drug status is relevant in terms of securing employment and/or caring for children. For example, some of those on invalids benefit will never be able to work, and the use of illicit drugs is therefore of less importance. Graham
It should be automatic for all welfare beneficiaries. Graeme
Most definitely as they are accountable to the tax payer who makes the money that beneficiaries live on…..any drugs / alcohol …. no dole , ever again , teach these people some respect , …these are the ones that are professional dole bludgers and keep on producing to many children for the parents to support properly , so why should we !!! Roy
Yes. Everybody knows that the item at the top of a drug addict’s shopping lists is…….more drugs! Martin
Yes, but how would you monitor/administer it? It would be very expensive. Maddi
All beneficiaries should be tested for all, man made drugs and addictive substances, Alcohol, Pharmaceuticals ,coffee, tea,sugar,KFC, McDonalds, Burger king, MSG aspartame, fluoride,Herion, speed,crack,PL,LSD,. Man made drugs are harmful. That only leaves the benign substances from nature, Cannabis and mushrooms to leave off the testing. Peter
If they are receiving tax payers money drugs should not be funded from this form of income! Peter
If they can afford drugs, why would they need a benefit? Peter
If we are as happy and contented as these theorists insist, why are N.Z.ers turning to drugs? Peter
They should be drug tested, if they fail there benefit should be cut off, get straight, then get a job. Geoff
A clear way to make sure welfare money is not going to the wrong place! Lesley
Drugs are a health issue, not a criminal issue, if an issue at all for many substances. Owen
If they can afford drugs, they dont need tax payer funding. Bob
Absolutely and we shouldn’t be paying for there sky account either. Gaz
Yes they should be. To get people off welfare and back to work, reduce minimum wage laws with the aim of abolishing them altogether. Shock horror cry the socialists ! That will certainly frighten the horses as prices begin to drop as well. Don
Absolutely YES. How many more distorted minds do we want in our society? And how far up the social and political ladder have drugs penetrated? Scary! Stuart
Drug testing is a sensible precaution when workers actions could result in deaths of many. However, drug testing of beneficiaries is not the answer. Having a more stringent set of requirements to qualify before the unemployment benefit is paid out which include compulsory training in work schemes should be mandatory. It is idle hands that get into mischief. Dennis
Too many people who should and could be working are excusing themselves from the work force by taking drugs. Florida has the right idea clean up your act or no benefit. Arthur
Of course. Maurice
Their should be more requirements as well as drug testing for beneficaries before they recieve payments such as contacts with gangs and other activities. The system currently encoureges people not to seek help or find employment. Ken
Benefits should not be used to pay for drugs. Chris
If they are on drugs they will not get work. therefore why should we pay tax to support their habits. Wendy
Beneficiaries ‘self sabotage’ their chances of getting a job, with drug use.it is similar to not turning up for an interview – that guarantees the job will ot be yours. Dick
Yes, all those receiving any type of welfare payments should undergo drug testing including alcohol testing. Actually better still benefits should be given as vouches for the necessities of life not cash give for spending on just anything. Graeme
Why do we continue to fund people to do nothing ? WINZ is broke. Re-establish a Ministry of Works, get work aged people moving on to a training, upskilling,work continum. Then they would have little time to twiddle their thumbs, take drugs & other patterns of disfunction ? c.Jas
Also skill levels have fallen. Ray
Brilliant idea!! The benefits for all NZs including the beneficiaries would be enormous! John
Absolutely. Why should taxpayers support the drug habits of those on welfare? Rpb
Absolutely Carolyn
Yes they should be – long as long as treatment is also offered to those testing positive. David
Test positive, loose the benefit for three months. A clean test, benefit resumes, with further three monthly tests. Roger
Absolutely. Isn’t being drug-free a first step towards Employment…..or do some people want to fail a drug test so they can stay on a benefit? Ask yourself….Look around you! Particularly if you are hiring casuals for odd jobs. Mabel
Too many are reliant on Welfare now it has become a way of life and right. We have families that have never worked or means to earn same. There should be a time limit on being on Welfare and if one refuses to accept a job be it even sweeping floors or washing dishes, tidying tables etc then they do not get welfare (guess this could mean that we shall have more problems such as burglaries and whatever as this is the life they have become accustomed Where do they think the welfare money comes from ? Hard working Tax payers that have jobs if there were NO jobs there would not be enough Welfare for all. Be considerate and stop being selfish get off your backsides and be worth a pound of flesh. Marylin
I have offered people work but they don’t turn up as they won’t pass a drug test. If you aren’t available or capable of work you should not be on the unemployed benefit. WINZ is a joke the people there aren’t any good for work , i ve given up asking for them. Michael
That would sort out undeserving recipients. David
If truck drivers and other in a similar employment positions are subject to drug and alcohol tests why should they not? Ian
Yes but the tests must be made very quick and easy and must cover all recreational drugs. Bryan
I recently did some contract work for a Government organization and was subjected to drug testing and regular screening. Why are not all people paid by Government funds drug tested? RICHard
Also they should not be able to get the tests paid for via legal aid as is very common now!! Brett
Them or their parents ‘doing drugs’ is a key factor as to them being on a benefit. Terry
Of course. If said tests prove positive, then any welfare benefit should be terminated forthwith. John
Whilst it would be all too easy to knee jerk a reaction and say yes to drug testing, we have to look at the experience of how our bureaucracy reacts and administers these kinds of regulations, a point being the somewhat flawed ACC employee incentive scheme to reduce ACC claimants. A better option might be to have the unemployment benefit transferable on a 90 day contract to an employer thus assisting to create jobs and stepping up the criteria for full unemployment payment at 90 and 180 day intervals commencing drug tests at 180 days to secure eligibility. In that way testing as an infringement on personal liberty need not occur if the unemployment is only briefly transitional as the scheme intends, but works to eliminate those that choose a alternate low grade living option. Richard
We all the results but what do we do with the majority who will be found guilty of drug use? Drug use is endemic at all levels of NZ society. Everybody knows the bad effects of drug use but they still continue to abuse themselves and that is why our mental health facilities can’t cope. Imagine if you will what it is going to be like in the future as drug and alcohol addiction soars. Jock
Current drug testing is not a reliable way to assess job performance. Traces of a drug taken days or weeks before the test will have little correlation with job performance, Current intoxication may have implications for job performance but even then it depends on the nature of both the drug and the job. Drug testing of employees and beneficiaries is mainly a form of imposing conservative and largely superstitious attitudes on others, and an unjustified restriction on individual freedom. Testing someone for what they did in the weekend amounts to full-time enslavement in which an employer owns an employee’s whole life without paying for most of it. Extending that to beneficiaries amounts to full-time ownership and control of individuals by the state. The most that can reasonably be expected is that a beneficiary turns up for official processes and job applications in an unimpaired state. A better option would be to test actual performance such as reaction time, mental processing speed and judgment. That wouldn’t take any longer or cost more than drug testing and laboratory processing. Drug testing beyond that showing current, active effects should be banned. Fred
A no brainer, should have been done years ago! Murray
Specifically the younger age group who have been long-term unemployable. Bob
Taxpayers should not be paying for their drugs. Chris
Yes beneficiaries should be drug tested and if positive sent to a rehab unit and when they have a signed clear bill of health they then could receive a benefit if needed. By then they would be in a better position to get a job and may not need the benefit. Frank
Anyone who ticks ‘no’ obviously has another agenga that is not in the public or marale good! Rob
The facts speak for themselves. Arthur
Yes. Vouchers instead of money to ensure correct spending. No cash till proven drug free. Willy
If you get money from taxpayers because you are not working then of course they have the right to demand that you are drug free. Roger
They take drugs, are unemployable then should not have public money. Jon
And they should also do some voluntary work for their benefit. Sheena
Definitely. Mary
Most definitely. Ian
AS drug abuse is an active choice by the user, then acceptance that others may not agree with that choice when they have to support the user fust must also follow. Vernon
Definitely Yes, why should somebody be on the unemployed benifit when its drugs that are the cause of the problem. Les
There needs to be an adjustment in the thinking behind welfare. One of those is certainly ensuring that those on welfare adhere to “conditions” relating to their co tinued support by the state. Neil
In my opinion, the only way that we can reduce the number of immigrants, solve the problems in schools where our children don’t want to learn, reduce a number of social ills, is to help tougher on the welfare benefits so that people see some value in having an education and a job. Hilary
Yes, non-druggies have nothing to fear, and the rest face the consequences yet to be defined. Barry
Drug testing now mandatory for employee’s so should be for all beneficiaries. Also DPB Recipients should be injected with Depro Provrea every 3 months so that we as tax payers don’t have to pay for their unwanted children as they become state wards because they are unfit mothers. Greg
Most definitely. Beryl
Beneficiaries should definitely be tested and if they fail, same as in the workplace they get sacked – ie. no more benefit. I also want to see Doctors and Nurses drug tested. Currently this is not in their Employment Agreements because of Unions. Doctors and Nurses have easy access to drugs and know full well that with the Unions on their side of not testing and Health Boards not wanting bad publicity they can get away with stealing for supply and/or using themselves. I have always had a drug test clause in my Employment Agreements with various company’s over the years and do not have any issues with it. The only people who seem to take exception are people who know they are going to fail. Question: Do MP’s get drug tested? Trish
Of Course, they have much more time on their hands to indulge in drugs !! Pierre
A welfare system should support people in need, and definitely not people in need of a fix. And that is what is happening in our welfar system at the moment, we are supporting drug addicts. Ursula
Taxpayers should not pay for anyone’s drug habit! The beneficiary system needs an urgent overhaul! Dennis
Of course they should everyone in the work force is. Peter
It our money and if that was so I would not be giving it to a person to spend on drugs . Rather more to get them back on their feet again to live a productive life. Graeme
If they can afford drugs, they do not require the benefit. Heather
No Govt should be paying for peoples recreational drugs Colin
Of course, otherwise how else can they be available for work, a requirement of the benefit. Alan
Why not? Anyone in a job can be drug tested. Robert
Too much dole/welfare money spent on drugs. Kevin
In the long run it may be beneficial for these unfortunate people who may have been trapped into using these drugs which ruin their lives and cause so much grief in the community when they are so desperate for the drugs the commit all sorts of crimes. The Drug pushers should be given the death penalty and don’t listen to all the bleeding hearts who say they don’t deserve that. Think about the hundreds of lives they wreck because of their greed for the almighty dollar. Colin
Testing should be randomised, so that beneficiaries cant use ‘flush it out’ techniques to fudge the results. Furthermore….it’s methamphetamine and not cannabis that’s the real danger in the workplace, so tests should focus on that more harmful substance. Michael
If they are going to be on a benefit they should not expect the tax payer to support there habit same with dogs costs over a thousand dollars a year to keep a dog and I as a tax payer object to this if they want these things get a job. Russell
Why not check every person in NZ each year then we can delete the amount of assistant from the dole for those that dont pass the test. Jim
Absolutely. Colin
One group in NZ seems to have a large hold on drug abuse. Alan
As should politicians. It’s public money!! Peter
Why should I support someone’s drug habit? Mark
This is only worth doing if some sanctions are to be applied to offenders. Permanent removal of all welfare benefits would be appropriate. Tony
Benefits should not be used to buy illegal drugs – end of story! Neil
It is ridicuous at the present time where people who could and should work sit on welfare and smoke dope, not even bothering to apply for jobs. What a dreadful role model they are to their children. It is long passed time for the government to clamp down. Jenny
The welfare system is a disgrace. There is no compulsion to get a job. Most beneficiaries treat it as early retirement. John
Anyone on welfare should be subjected to income management so there is no money available to buy drugs – but a strong incentive to get a job and money in the hand. Alistair
Yes, drug testing beneficiaries makes sense in this day and age. Paul