Why Bennett’s drug policy is a screaming success but not in the way Paula pretends it is



The deeply flawed and pointless drug testing of beneficiaries has proven to be an utter failure…

Minister claims low drug result as victory

Drug testing of beneficiaries is turning up an extremely low number of results showing drug use – and a lot of missing information about the controversial policy.

Of the 8,001 beneficiaries sent for jobs requiring drug testing, only 22 tested positive to drug use or refused to take tests.

…so it turns out there isn’t really a problem, they have no idea how much this bloody thing has cost and, get this, they have no idea how much money this fiasco has supposedly saved.

So empirically, the entire drug testing of beneficiaries scheme has been a total flop in real terms, but this was never about a real problem, this was always about perpetrating a myth of no good stoner beneficiaries smoking the ganja and pissing away the benefit. From the point of view of redneck bennie bashing propoganda, this program was a screaming success.

The demonisation of those on welfare is an important feature of National Party distraction techniques used when ever the Government need to deflect attention from an issue they are being roasted over. To find out those bennie bashing distractions are as hollow as the dog whistling ethics employed to use them in the first place is a tad perverse.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

And finally what’s more dangerous to NZ? A stoned beneficiary or a drunk Politician passing laws?

When are we going to start breathalyzing MPs on their way to the debating chamber?


  1. Paula Bennett knows better than perhaps any other government minister that it’s important to have NO BASIS FOR COMPARISON when it comes to stats like these.

    • Florida
      Drug use in general population: 8%.
      Drug use in Floridian welfare applicants: 2%.

      Now we have a basis for comparison.

  2. Clearly the drunk politician passing laws in the wee small hours of the morning is of more danger. The politicians should show some leadership and agree themselves to be breath tested and drug tested

  3. No good asking for numbers. This ministry doesn’t keep useful figures that could lead to questions. How many adults are living below the poverty line? How many kids? ‘Oh – it shifts week on week….’

    Are ALL applicants for these positions drug-tested? Or simply those from the income assistance sector? Will we ever know? Or is this ‘economically sensitive information’? (sarcastic snigger)

  4. Interestingly, I’m seeing an ad in the ad column:

    Workplace drug and alcohol testing your complete solution provider

    I wonder how much they donated to which National candidates to get this stupid policy through.

  5. In Christchurch we lose labourers after the random workplace drug tests, temps and those still in their 3month probation. Permanent workers get help but still must be clean before coming back. We need these people and we need them clean, people will die if you’re on shit otherwise. We don’t help those we kick to the side and for these guys these jobs are their once in a life time break.
    These guys need a social worker, because they can’t function normally and yes they’re all Dads.

    • Of course anyone with any impairment that could endanger life should be stopped from working. But it’s my understanding that they fire anyone who’s used any cannabis within the last month or so. Isn’t the drug testing industry just a way for failed ex-cops to keep being employed? Please correct me if my limited understanding is wrong.

      • But it’s my understanding that they fire anyone who’s used any cannabis within the last month or so.

        And this is the big problem with drug testing. It really needs to be impairment testing but that, I suspect, would be too expensive and complex for National to do. National and other Tories are the perfect example of the saying:
        For every complex problem there’s a simple answer that’s wrong.
        And they always implement those wrong answers.

  6. This was never about drugs or even beneficiaries, it was about polluting the minds of the middle class and making them think the benes are wasters – personal deficiency etc.
    Bene painting the rooftop again, but this time they are sniffing the paint as they go.

    There is an interesting new show on TV in the UK at the moment called ‘Benefits Street’. Its been labeled poverty porn for a good reason and it also exists to brainwash the middle class.

  7. Manufactured consent… no other area of public policy is fraught with counterproductive consequences as drug policy, yet politicians AND policy wonks under their direction fail in their duty (without fear or favour) to conduct the most basic of measures known to administration, cost/benefit analysis. Despite a petition of one to the State Services Commission (sent them into a bit of a tailspin) it took some savvy legal argument to void their clear (IMHO) responsibility to resolve the tensions surrounding this failure of inter-ministry administrative due process.

    There is a National Drug Policy Review. The last one some ten years ago, budgeted for ($50k/pa) a pittance when compared to the hundreds of millions otherwise grifted to prohibitin stakeholders. It was dropped due to ‘legislative implications’.

    So to was the ‘blue skies’ approach that initially was to inform the Law Commission, subsequently dropped due to allegience to UN conventions.

    So, consistent with the approach that convention should inform the evidence the Ministry of Health has ordered (see the website) that evidence should not inform policy, and that a thorough review of our drug policy will be complete only if their is no discussion of legal status.

    Policy by anus over tete method….. it brings new meaning to “a state of mind”.

    Cognitive Liberty and Democracy are synonomous. One, without the other is facism by another name. Drug policy is the litmus test. Bene testing is just one such case.

  8. Re the UK TV programme called Benefits Street, viewers probably saw what they wanted to see. A journalist writing about it in the UK paper The Guardian says: “I didn’t hate anyone in it. I liked them. A lot of what they had to put up with looked absolutely awful, but there also seemed to be far more authentic community spirit than I’ve seen on TV since Postman Pat’s Magic Christmas. How you could come away feeling anything other than affection for most of the people involved is beyond me.”

  9. 22 out of 8001 … I think that can’t be repeated often enough.

    So … in conclusion … the best therapy for drug addicts would be … to go on a benefit?

    Terrible news for the therapy industry.

  10. lol, anyone notice the workplace drug testing ad popping up over there–>

    I like the idea of testing the politicians for alcohol on the job, how do we implement this? After all, If I turned up to work tipsy I’d be fired.
    Under the health and safety laws can we breath test our elected officials?

  11. yeh of the 8000 that applied for a job most of the dope smokers I know of on the benefit wouldnt even bother applying for jobs

  12. The criticism of these measures is missing the point. This isn’t about the proportion of beneficiaries who take drugs. Under the previous law, an unemployed person could refuse to attend a job interview because they would fail a drug test. That is a nonsense, and this fixes it. Good job.

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