Seymour v. English on employee drug use

Bill English has been widely criticised for his comments on drug use being an impediment to employment of New Zealanders – it is an issue but English has not communicated it well (and of course media and opponents have highlighted narrow parts of what he has said.

See PM accused of telling ‘stories’ to justify immigration

ACT’s David Seymour suggests that English and some of his opponents “missed the point”.

Drug and alcohol use and lack of incentive to take on jobs that may be ‘less than optimal’ is more a symptom than a cause of entrenched unemployment problems.

Seymour has put out this press release:

Unemployment not caused by employers OR drug users

The government and opposition have both missed the point by blaming unemployment on drug users and immigration, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Employers are turning to migrant workers not because Kiwis are drug addicts, and not because migrants are cheaper,” says Mr Seymour. “The real issue is a fundamental lack of basic life skills among local available employees.

“The most obvious issue is literacy. 2016’s Half-Yearly Employers’ Survey from the EMA showed a massive 43% of respondents voicing concerns about poor completion of workplace documents. And the most recent Employers’ Survey showed that 36% of respondents are dissatisfied with the work readiness of school leavers. And 65% say there is, or will be, a skills shortage in their industry.

“ACT has always sought to address these fundamental issues through education. Partnership Schools have the potential to upskill those students let down by the state system, which is why we’ll be pushing to open more after the election.

“This is also why ACT announced over the weekend that we would give prisoners discounts off sentences if they gain functional literacy. 60-70 per cent of prisoners lack the literacy ability to understand the road code or an employment contract, so it’s no wonder 48 per cent are back inside within four years.”

There’s a bit of political opportunism trying to turn the issue into something that coincidentally ACT policies can resolve, but Seymour does have a point.

A lot of people who take up seasonal work in agriculture, horticulture and viticulture can in fact be better educated young people wanting to fund further education.

One of the biggest problems with the long term unemployed is that some of them couldn’t be bothered or didn’t fit in with available education and have gone on to not be bothered with or fit in with available work.

This can be due to a lifetime of mis-learning.

Perhaps the focus should be less on drug testing of prospective employees and more on the drug (and alcohol) use of prospective parents who become responsible for intergenerational education and employment problems.

But this won’t be an easy election campaign fix.

15 Comments

  1. Keyloggers4U

     /  1st March 2017

    I’ve just heard a Union big-wig on Radio Live state the PM is dealing with ‘alternative facts’ regarding this issue. He said unions only deal in facts…and the facts are ‘beneficiaries do not have a drug problem.’

    Yep, another middle class Auckland University drop-out who has never stared into an empty cupboard while his parents have a ‘session.’

    • Blazer

       /  1st March 2017

      can we have the whole nursery rhyme….’Old Mother..Hubbard went to…..

  2. duperez

     /  1st March 2017

    ” … some of them couldn’t be bothered or didn’t fit in with available education and have gone on to not be bothered with or fit in with available work … ”

    If a kid from “difficult home circumstances”* does not attend any early childhood education centres, goes to seven different primary schools and three intermediate schools, moves high schools as well and ends up “not being bothered and not fitting in” it’s the fault of teachers.

    What to do about it? Well, charter schools of course!

    David Seymour is on edge, ready to act, with Betsy DeVos really getting under way in the USA. This is his first little paroxysmic episode but when Betsy really gets going and as our election nears, the likelihood, the risk, the danger of the unfortunate orgasmic splurges increases.

    *draw own picture of what that reality means

  3. Noel

     /  1st March 2017

    Ahhh so his earlier prisoner education initiative is linked to Charter schools.
    Yup always thought it was State system teachers fault!!!

  4. I saw a news item on TV yesterday evening.. reportedly less than 1% of beneficiaries, who were drug-tested (pre-employment) returned a positive result.

    Its called ‘making a MOUNTAIN out of a molehill’ Mr English !!! 😦

    • PDB

       /  1st March 2017

      That doesn’t take into account the many beneficiaries English says he is told don’t even bother applying for jobs because that employer has a drug-testing policy in place. The ‘1%’ figure is irrelevant as to how many druggies can’t get a job due to workplace drug-testing.

      We did interviews last year for a manual labour job on behalf of a large company, drug-testing van out back to test straight after each interview. Of the 5 applicants 2 did a runner before being able to be tested, 2 passed and one failed.

      • Anonymous Coward

         /  1st March 2017

        It doesn’t include people of principle either; ie, those that would pass a drug test but wouldn’t submit themselves to one as it is an erosion of privacy.

        • PDB

           /  1st March 2017

          The reality is random drug-testing is becoming more wide-spread, especially since the recent changes to the H&S act. If a person is being financed 100% by the taxpayer I’d suggest they shouldn’t be able to be so picky when it comes to applying for work.

          • PDB

             /  1st March 2017

            If you are paying & supporting yourself by all means have as many ‘principles’ as you like!

            • Anonymous Coward

               /  1st March 2017

              The majority of people in the job market aren’t unemployed and can therefore chose what draconian measure they submit to when applying for work.

            • PDB

               /  1st March 2017

              Exactly AC – but you are commenting on a discussion regarding beneficiaries being drug tested…….

      • Blazer

         /  1st March 2017

        hearsay and selective anecdotes are worthless.Get some meaningful facts.

  5. Like reconnaissance Mr English, time spent on ascertaining facts beforehand is seldom wasted!

  1. Seymour v. English on employee drug use — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition