Welfare drug tests may break privacy law
Forcing beneficiaries to take drug tests under tough new welfare rules is potentially illegal, the Privacy Commissioner says.
In a submission to the Government's latest round of welfare reforms, commissioner Marie Shroff says making beneficiaries take pre-employment drug tests could violate their privacy.
It could also leave beneficiaries in a "catch-22" situation, caught between an unlawful drug test and the threat of losing their benefit, she said.
This is not good news for Paula. She needs this law, not because it's shaped to help beneficiaries get jobs, the point of the law is to disqualify beneficiaries from welfare in the first place.
As the most widely used illegal drug, cannabis is perfect as the target drug to test for. The beauty of disqualification is that the beneficiaries become utterly invisible to statistics. This allows for what Paula did last week, and that is to trumpet a drop in beneficiary numbers without actually explaining where they have gone to.
What NZers need to appreciate is that drug testing beneficiaries has nothing to do with finding beneficiaries jobs, it is a means to disqualify them. With vast new third party involvement about to descend upon 'managing' beneficiaries, these private companies get a bonus each time they remove a beneficiary from the list, either by finding them a job or by disqualifying them. Drug testing is the easiest means of disqualification hence Paula's desperate push to gain these powers.
If this sort of thing were being aimed at nice white middle class NZers there would be an uproar, but in NZ I get the I get this creepy feeling that if Gareth Morgan had called for the culling of beneficiaries instead of cats that there would be less fuss.
We should drug test beneficiaries the same day we breath test Politicians for being drunk in Parliament.