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A quick question

Written By: - Date published: 9:11 am, July 5th, 2012 - 197 comments
Categories: benefits, drugs, john key, national - Tags: , ,

We’ve all seen the headlines: Fail a drugs test and lose your benefit, job seekers warned. Here’s a summary:

The Government is preparing legislation to strip beneficiaries of their welfare payments if they miss out on jobs because they won’t take a drug test, or fail one, and the bill could be in parliament next month.

I have a question for the Nats, and indeed for anyone who supports this policy. What is going to happen to the people who have their benefit terminated under this policy? How will they live?

197 comments on “A quick question”

  1. Julian 1

    No one cares, that is why we voted John for the job.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Yeah John doesn’t care if they beg on the streets, turn themselves or their childre4n to prostitution or dealing drugs themselves.

      Neither it seems do you, Julian.

    • Wrong on both counts.

      1. We care.

      2. And only 1,058,638 voted for Key. Over 3 million did not.

      There’s hope for us yet.

    • mike e 1.3

      Julyanne you’ll be caring when you get mugged on the St by a gangster!

  2. Unfair question Rob.
     
    When you are looking for a dog whistle soundbite what relevance is it what actually happens after the implementation of the policy?

    • aerobubble 2.1

      Human Right lawyers get massive payouts and trips aboard to sue out NZ???

      While addicts increase their income by crime???

      Or, its just dog whistle government again.

      Doesnt shonkey have anything better to do, like grow jobs?

  3. M 3

    They don’t give a flying fuck how these people will live. This is Key aping the shit that’s going on in America which is designed to cow the populace into meek acceptance of whatever bullshit is meted out.

    Perhaps the hidden agenda is to hope that those who stand up to them will starve to death.

  4. dd 4

    Which is exactly why they won’t actually do it.

    The soundbite just sounds really good to New Zealander’s jealous of those on the benefit.

  5. Adrian 5

    How about including any traces of booze, it may well be the best chance we’ll ever have of cleaning out the National caucas, and the P trigger should rid us of Banks at last!

  6. tsmithfield 6

    The policy needs to cover two main points:

    1. It is unfair that tax payers should have to pay for beneficiaries to indulge in illegal substances.
    2. There are people with addictions who are trapped in their behaviours.

    Therefore, the policy needs to include treatment to help beneficiaries who are addicted to drugs to escape their addictions before their benefit is cut. This seems to be entirely fair to me.

    So far as how people will survive with their benefit cut? The answer is that the benefit doesn’t provide enough for people to fund a drug lifestyle anyway. So, it is likely that they are gaining income from other sources to supplement their addictions. The benefit is likely to be only a small part of this, especially for drugs like heroin. So, I expect there would be a slight increase in crime, prostitution etc.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 6.1

      “It is unfair that tax payers should have to pay for beneficiaries to indulge in illegal substances.”

      Levels of drug use are directly related to levels of equality – more equal societies have fewer drug problems. Will this policy increase or decrease the level of equality in New Zealand?

      Perhaps you could explain why you think that is “fair” – since fairness appears to be the benchmark du jour.

      Then explain why all receivers of public money should not be subject to the same Nanny State interference.

    • aerobubble 6.2

      Addicts often are introduced to their habit by criminals who benefit from the illicit trade.
      Government has the means to crush this trade by semi-legalizing the illicit industry and
      so take the profit motive away and replace it by early intervention.
      The government cannot argue that its justified to stand at the botton of the cliff while
      mouthing high minded values from the top of the cliff when its so responsible for the
      crisis in the first place.
      We’re had the eras of preists shouting their hind quarters off while they were perverts
      themselves.

      As for the money issue, you are seriously not telling me you have 100% knowledge
      that means you consent to deny any other citizen basics of food, health, housing.
      Be very concerned its not you next, when petrol prices bear their real value in
      the market place.

      Yes, help addicts, yes give them paths to rehabilitation, but don’t think for one moment
      that the pooh emanating from the present government has anything to do with tax
      justice, or actually will help deal with the chronic levels of gang crime and drug
      addictions created by our ineffectual government legislative regime.

      Government needs the consent of all the people, not just tight arses like you worried
      about tax justice when addicts pay taxes too.

    • dd 6.3

      It’s unfair. What a total crytime line displaying a strange type of jealousy.

      Would you actually want to be stuck on the dole smoking weed with no money left over to do anything else?

      The answers to addiction cost far too much in the short term for any right winger to actually want anything to do with. Hence going down the punishment path again which just leads to more crime and in the long run even more money spent on the police and law system.

    • Robert M 6.4

      Addiction is not an illness, its an indulgence or an intelligent way of passing the time. There are many advantages for alcholics who maintain some control, the same with heroin addicts. You need only half the sleep to function at the highest level. Its reduces the chance of breadowns and reduces stress. Generally speaking if you drink and drug you never get colds and flu. In many ways legal drugs such as alcohol and many illegal ones seems far superior medication to medical pharmacuticals.
      Another point is that the most advanced medical pharmacuticals such as the early serotonin drugs have far more in common with illegal and recreational drugs than traditional medical drugs ( paraphase David Healy-but true).
      Medical addiction treatments are either a money making racket,or an excuse to employ huge numbers of psychologists, half trained nurses and consellors. The real reform needed in NZ, is halving of the health budget, the axing of social work training, the closure of all Sociology departments , the closure of provincial hospitals and polytechnics – with the compensation of guarnateeing those in farm related employment $75,000 a year in the hand.

      • McFlock 6.4.1

        the bold attitudes of someone who’s never had a relative suffer from addiction.

      • prism 6.4.2

        Robert M For a second my eyes misread and I thought you were suggesting the closing
        of all Scientology departments.

      • John72 6.4.3

        Robert M, addiction is an illness. It is a mental illness. As each of us passes through life we all have to face times of hardship. Life is difficult. Some of us face these hardships and conquer them, some try to find an easy solution in alcohol or drugs etc. We all take a different path. Some conquer an addiction. There is nothing intelligent about an addiction. Our actions make a statement of our purpose. Having lived and worked with alcoholics 24/7, I have seen how drugs contributed to the downfall of the British Empire. People who are dependant on drugs are not leaders in any way. They are not even achievers. They are dependant on other people and contribute nothing to society.
        Each time we face and conquer a hardship we grow and mature a bit more. We learn something about the world and ourselves, we gain self confidence and self respect. Life is an adventure. Life is difficult. In acknowledging this you are halfway to enjoying it. Seeking refuge in a drug will not enhance your relationship with other people and the world. It only confirms your fear of the world.
        Many people want to make money selling drugs. They have no conscience. Why let them use you. People selling drugs are only taking advantage of you. Undoubtedly, there are other people who want to use you , but there are many humble people who are prepared to help you too. Perhaps you could help another addict?

      • MrSmith 6.4.4

        Good stuff Robert M, personally I think everyone should be allowed to take drugs and then make up their own minds, plenty here like to give there opinions but few have indulged.

        John72′s little rant calling drugs the downfall of the british empire is laughable, “addiction is an illness” bullshit John, only because it suits you to give it a label. It’s people like John that think they know what’s best for everyone else that should be force feed drugs. 

        • Vicky32 6.4.4.1

          It’s people like John that think they know what’s best for everyone else that should be force feed drugs.

          Bitter much? Honestly, what an asinine thing to say…

          • MrSmith 6.4.4.1.1

            Bitter! far from it Vicky, I’m elated at the moment with the discovery of the Higgs Boson, just one more nail in God’s coffin.

            So Vicky on with the sex drugs and rock and roll because the chief problem with death, is the fear there may be no afterlife, a depressing thought, particularly for those who have bothered to shave.

    • North 6.5

      Then drug test everybody who gets a payment from the government. That will include the pampered little prick students who’re able to break student allowance thresholds because mummy and daddy have assets hidden in trusts. Test mummy and daddy for that matter.

      If they weren’t getting off their faces then that’s money they could apply to their kids’ education. Relieve the taxpayer of the burden accruing because they’re stoners or better. Makes equal sense.

      Unless you apply it to everybody you’re bashing beneficiaries and you’re a rotten discriminating
      pig. Don’t gimme that nice guy shit about Key. He’s actually a cold bully boy underneath that effete presentation.

      Further, Bennett needs to tell us whether she ever had a little go at the dak when she was on the bennie. Of course she couldn’t ‘fess up if it were in fact the case, but there would surely have been witnesses (if it were in fact the case – note I emphasise the “if”).

      • Jim Nald 6.5.1

        Drug (and alcohol) test all parliamentarians, focusing on cabinet ministers?
        Regular testing and random checks, especially when parliament is sitting … and particularly after dinner recess or when parliament is sitting under urgency?

        Penalties include instant fines, docking their pay, suspending superannuation and no access to the chauffeured limo for a specified period

    • QoT 6.6

      indulge in illegal substances

      Mmmmm, delicious prejudicial framing.

    • Your assumption is wrong, TS;

      Check out these latest redundancies;

      Hakes Marine; 15 redundancies
      Pernod Ricard New Zealand; 13 redundancies
      Depart of Corrections; 130 redundancies
      Summit Wool Spinners; 80 redundancies
      Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; 80 redundancies
      Norman Ellison Carpets; 70 redundancies
      IRD; 51 redundancies
      Flotech; 70 redundancies
      NZ Police; 125 redundancies
      CRI Plant and Food; 25 redundancies
      Hastie Group; 500 redundancies (?)

      Will drug testing be used to “sort this lot out smartly”, by your precious Mr English?

      And more bizarre is Paula Bennet’s admission that National “has ruled out universal drug testing of all beneficiaries, with drug and alcohol addicts being exempted from sanctions for refusing or failing a drug test when applying for a job“.

      See: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10817004

      Which means that if addicts and alcoholics are not tested – that leaves only those workers who’ve been unfortunate enough to lose their jobs through New Zealand’s ongoing stagnating economy.

      Adding insult to injury doesn’t begin to cover the humiliation which National intends to thrust upon workers who’ve lost their jobs.

      And all because National has no job creation policies.

      [Excerpt from my blog post here: http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/national-what-else-can-possibly-go-wrong/

      • mike e 6.7.1

        Frank maybe we can drug test the minister of primary industries David Carter re Bio security another $400 million dollar cock up.
        Last time Nactional were in the painted apple moth cost us $ 400 million .
        David Carter Cut the Bio security budget.And said it wouldn,t have any effect yeah right same thing happened with previous nactional govt they truly are blinded by their own BS

  7. The answer is that the benefit doesn’t provide enough for people to fund a drug lifestyle anyway.

    As someone who once endured a chronic inability to pay for the desired quantities of recreational drugs due to living on a benefit, I can confirm the truth of this. Cadging off your mates serves only to generate a mates shortage, and the resulting alternatives are abstinence, crime or work.

    • aerobubble 7.1

      Mates pay taxes, work pays taxes, crime causes taxes as replacement costs etc.

      So the question for me is why is tax justice used to justify what essentially is tax injustice.

      Everyone pays tax, addicts more so, so why would we deny them adequate minimum welfare
      levels.

      Seems that its all too easy for a few to run dumb ideas in the open and not be ridiculed for them.

      Tax justice does not mean we can deny addicts basics of humanity, it means tax injustice
      has now become government mantra. Rob from the weakest to subsidies the wealthiest.

  8. Uturn 8

    They go to live in tent cities, and on the street, like those in America. Yes, good ol’ mom and apple pie home of the free America – and die of simple viruses and general bad health. The unemployed are scum, and should not be engaged, or hired. The only way they can stop being scum is to be hired, but we don’t hire scum. It’s brilliant catch-22 don’t you agree? This is why shopping malls, high fashion, fast new cars, flashy watches, tailored suits and other vanities fill me with utter contempt. The evil that underpins it all is palpable.

    The thing about the right is they love to wish people dead, but won’t do it themselves, you know, look them in the eye while they pull the trigger type stuff. They always hide behind the cowardice of starving people to death; perhaps it’s cathartic for them, watching it in slow motion; watching it unfold on the 6pm news from their warm homes and couches, dreams of christmas dinner and church functions.

    Oh yes and don’t forget the crime that must be punished: the unemployed wanted to escape and could find no other way but to get high. The crime, is being human. Punish them with death for being human.

    • Vicky32 8.1

      The unemployed are scum, and should not be engaged, or hired.

      I read on an American site maybe 9 months ago, of the experience of many unemployed Americans who said they’d been rejected specifically because they were unemployed!
      I suspect it’s the same here…

  9. Phase 2: Outsource The Drugs Tests To Lowest Bidder With Cross-Contamination And Unaccountable Processes That Mean Everyone Fails, and then the unemployment problem will just go away…

    • prism 9.1

      Shackleford H Have you tried this? You seem to be a bit lacking in the thinking department mainly because of some mind-sapping condition.

      • IcI 9.1.1

        No, no. Shackleford has the right idea.
        As benefits will not be denied to addicts, we MUST all BECOME addicts to retain our benefit.

        I do wonder though, if that is an unintended consequence, or if that was the plan all along. Most likely the latter; for reasons to grim to contemplate right now.

        • bad12 9.1.1.1

          Speaking of ‘unintended’ consequences, if as the Slippery led National Government insinuate there are whole tribes of DPB mums out there having babies for the sole purpose of collecting that particular benefit,

          Then,

          The Government can in fact expect not a reversal of the numbers collecting that DPB as to stay as a recipient they all will have to have a new baby on a yearly basis,

          Baby boom anyone???…

  10. Roy 10

    A person can fail a urinary THC test by inhaling ‘sidestream’ marijuana smoke:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3037193
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3017628
    so people may lose their benefits just because they share a flat with someone who is a marijuana user. Hardly seems fair, does it?

  11. belladonna 11

    They will be going onto sickness benefits, just in time for the unemployment stats to improve before the next election.

  12. weka 12

    Why are so many people assuming that all beneficiaries that use drugs are addicts?

    • Te Reo Putake 12.1

      Good point, Weka. And last I heard, marijuana isn’t addictive. Can’t say the same for alcohol, tobacco, painkillers and some anti-depressants.

        • weka 12.1.1.1

          The reason it’s generally not considered addictive is because there is no physiological withdrawal when you stop chronic cannabis use. There are physiological and psychological processes obviously. However my point still stands. Plenty of people use cannabis on a regular or semi regular basis without being addicted in the sense that stopping causes an acute medical crisis. I do think that depriving poor people of cannabis and alcohol is cruel, and that a better policy would be to exclude people from job searches that require drug tests if that’s necessary. It’s not like there are enough jobs to go around.

          • tsmithfield 12.1.1.1.1

            “I do think that depriving poor people of cannabis and alcohol is cruel,…”

            Actually, giving beneficiaries money to meet basic living costs is kind.

            Since you argue that cannabis use is not physiologically addictive, then it is difficult for you to argue that beneficiaries are compelled to use cannabis. Hence, according to your argument, and even the link I gave, cannabis use is usually a choice, not a compulsion. If beneficiaries choose to use their benefit for drugs and alcohol rather than basic living expenses, they are stupid.

            Tax payers shouldn’t have to fund stupidity, and, if beneficiaries are using the benefit to fund their drug use, they probably don’t have enough left over for basic living anyway. So, stopping their benefit seems most likely to impact on their drug use rather than basic living.

            • weka 12.1.1.1.1.1

              Smithfield, you seem to be missing the point that not all people who use drugs are addicts. You are also failing to understand the complexity of drug use, and how it affects humans physiologically and psychologically. Obviously people can need something without being physically addicted to it (in the sense of withdrawal when stopping). Think food, water, shelter, companionship, respect etc. Many people use cannabis and alcohol to self medicate in the face of suffering. That doesn’t mean they’re addicted, and it doesn’t mean that they can easily choose to stop such use and be ok.
               
              You talk about kindness but I suspect you have little real appreciation of what that means for people who are institutionally bound to poverty. 
               
              ” If beneficiaries choose to use their benefit for drugs and alcohol rather than basic living expenses, they are stupid.”
               
              You’re an idiot. There are people who grow their own cannabis, so they’re not using their benefit. Under National’s new law they can have their benefit taken off them for refusing to submit to a drug test at the request of a potential employer. I’m saying that when there are enough jobs to go around, we might want to look at whether that is even an issue, but at the moment it’s ridiculous to deprive someone of their income because they’re self medicating a problem that society created, given there aren’t enough jobs to go around anyway.
               
              Further, people who do use their benefit to self medicate instead of paying for basics are not stupid. They’re making desperate choices about which survival need to meet on any given day. You’re arguments are specious, being based on morality instead of reality. Even if you don’t care at all for people in this situation, it is still true that forcing people to choose between medication and a job is a very inept and inefficient way of managing public monies. All you are going to do is increase crime and pressure on the public health system.
               
              And of course, there are plenty of people who can buy small amounts of drugs without compromising their rent/food etc, but who would still be penalised by this policy.

            • aerobubble 12.1.1.1.1.2

              Its kind to redistribute wealth to other citizens??? WTF. Social wealth is not about kindness, only the most dumb rightwinger peddles that line for obvious reasons,
              they need to invoke some kind of compulsive measure.

              Redistribution is justified on the basis that by housing people properly we keep disease
              of ghettos abated. By feeding people and their kids they do not start criminal gangs
              and then march on the Bastile overthrowing the government. By providing access
              to medicine we stop the next pandemic. Its just nonsense that we provide the benefit
              out of some collective kindness, when we actively intervene in the labor market to
              stop short term hiring, we place employment costs on businesses that inhibit them
              hiring people. Its a duty of government to make up for the collateral damage of
              unintended consequences to provide a safety net. When a health and safe breach
              saves someones life in the work place that has cost the business money and so
              means they don’t have the money to employ more people, grow faster.

              The whole basis of the National parties view of welfare is predicated on the
              nonsense that government is owed some duty from beneficiaries, when in
              actual fact, in law, they have a duty not to tax people, whether monetry or
              by non-fiscal means (like regulating employment, businesses, etc) to
              redistribute a minimum standard to everyone. Least we forget.

              remember when war comes we will be harmed if the majority of the
              people messed around by big government and these right wing psuedo
              libertarians, when they realize they are the majority and now have been armed
              by government. We support one another because we are one people.
              national divisiveness is pandering to the heartless and stupid.

            • Frank Macskasy 12.1.1.1.1.3

              TS, you’ve missed the point. Wilfully, I suspect.

              Bennett herself confirmed on Q+A (29 April),

              “There’s not a job for everyone that would want one right now, or else we wouldn’t have the unemployment figures that we do. “

              http://tvnz.co.nz/q-and-a-news/transcript-paula-bennett-interview-4856860

              She has also confirmed that the drug-testing will not include ACTUAL drug & alcohol addicts,

              “The Government has ruled out universal drug testing of all beneficiaries, with drug and alcohol addicts being exempted from sanctions for refusing or failing a drug test when applying for a job.”

              http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10817004

              Now think about it…

              1. Not enough jobs.

              2. Addicts & alcoholics exempt.

              What does that tell you?

          • Kotahi Tane Huna 12.1.1.1.2

            “Tax payers shouldn’t have to fund stupidity…”

            This coming from a National Party apologist?

            Once again: levels of drug use are directly related to levels of equality – more equal societies have fewer drug problems. Will this policy increase or decrease the level of equality in New Zealand?

            What were you saying about stupidity?

            • tsmithfield 12.1.1.1.2.1

              “Once again: levels of drug use are directly related to levels of equality – more equal societies have fewer drug problems. Will this policy increase or decrease the level of equality in New Zealand?”

              Seems to me that you are relying on that spirit level nonsense that has been thoroughly debunked e.g:

              http://irserver.ucd.ie/dspace/handle/10197/2475
              http://esr.oxfordjournals.org/content/26/6/731.short
              http://spiritleveldelusion.blogspot.co.nz/2010/08/spirit-level-has-been-debunked-more-or.html

              • McFlock

                nonsense?
                Whatever helps you sleep at night, dude. 

                • tsmithfield

                  Check out those citations. Especially the first two. They’re not from some random blog.

                  The first article is by: Dr. Michael O’Connell , Senior Lecturer,
                  School of Psychology, UCD

                  You can download his article.

                  Here is a quote from his article on the statistics used in the Spirit Level:

                  But of course ‘everyone knows’ about the correlation and causation issue. Well, the problem for Wilkinson and Pickett is that the evidence they provide in The Spirit Level is no stronger than this, i.e. virtually all we are presented with are correlations. This evidence should only be considered the most basic first step in building their causal argument. And even some prominent readers do not seem to get this – here’s a quote from a rave review of the book from Colette Douglas Home writing in the Glasgow Herald (available on the webpage linked to The Spirit Level) – “graph after graph demonstrates cause and dire effect”. Sorry Colette, they don’t. As correlations, logically, they cannot demonstrate cause and effect, dire or otherwise. They are suggestive at best, a point that Wilkinson and Pickett do not acknowledge clearly enough.

                  • vto

                    tsmithfield – why do you think the government should be able to snoop into beneficiaries personal lives outside of work hours and requirements?

                    if you feel so inclined, check my post below. I even mentioned you in it.

                    • tsmithfield

                      “tsmithfield – why do you think the government should be able to snoop into beneficiaries personal lives outside of work hours and requirements?”

                      You mean like the way they snoop to see if a beneficiary is living with someone they shag? The drug testing would be just another similar requirement to ensure the benefit system isn’t being ripped off by people who could otherwise be working if they were able to pass a drug test. On the other hand, check out my opening post. I did say I also thought the government should give help with addictions and give people a chance to get off their substance of choice. So, I’m not totally heartless.

                    • weka

                      Just mostly heartless.
                       
                      There is nothing wrong with a beneficiary having sex with someone they live with. It’s only a problem from the perspective of WINZ rules when there is a level of relationship that means that finances are shared in the way that couples do. In fact the whole sex thing is as ridiculous as the drug testing thing. What’s the difference between a bene and their flatmate, and a bene and a flatmate who are fuck buddies? The presence or absence of sex has nothing to do with anything and it’s none of WINZ’s business.
                       
                      You obviously have as little understanding of the realities of Work and Income as you do about addiction and drug use.

                    • tsmithfield

                      Weka: “You obviously have as little understanding of the realities of Work and Income as you do about addiction and drug use.”

                      The point I was making is that WINZ, (and other government agencies) already pry into our lives in various ways now. So, drug testing for a benefit is just another one to add to the list.

                      I suspect that what will happen if this law is enacted is that those who are addicted will need help to get off. Those who are recreational users will be come a lot less committed to their enjoyment for the sake of keeping a benefit. Either way, that has to be good, doesn’t it?

                    • weka

                      Weka: “You obviously have as little understanding of the realities of Work and Income as you do about addiction and drug use.”
                      The point I was making is that WINZ, (and other government agencies) already pry into our lives in various ways now. So, drug testing for a benefit is just another one to add to the list.
                       

                      No. What I am saying is that the example you used is a false one. WINZ can’t discontinue a benefit because the beneficiary is having sex with someone and not telling the department. The only reason that WINZ get away with that shit sometimes is because too many benes don’t know their rights, and advocates are so poorly funded. You seem to think that WINZ have the right to pry into the sex lives of beneficiaries, but they don’t. See if you can find some WINZ policy or legislation the proves I am wrong.
                       
                      In the same way that your example is false, it’s also bullshit that WINZ should be able to pry into beneficiaries’ lives about drug use. It would be different if this was being applied across the board, but it’s being targeted at some of the most vulnerable people in the community. It’s discriminatory and it’s morally wrong.

                       
                      I suspect that what will happen if this law is enacted is that those who are addicted will need help to get off. Those who are recreational users will be come a lot less committed to their enjoyment for the sake of keeping a benefit. Either way, that has to be good, doesn’t it?
                       

                      Yes to the first, but in the meantime, in the real world, where we know that addiction support is woefully inadequate, and that that is unlikely to change any time soon, what becomes of those people? That is the point of r0b’s question at the end of his post.
                       
                      No to the second point. Many people self medicate to make their lives bearable. Why should beneficiaries be deprived of that when the rest of society isn’t? Again, this is discrimination.
                       
                       

                  • McFlock

                    I seem to recall they were brought up last time tsl was discussed.

                    Let’s see: the delusion link was here, here, here, and here. Just for starters. Oh, and it’s shit – read through the arguments I had with goos as to why.
                        

                           
                    The cause and effect thing is perfectly correct. It’s not a “debunking” though. It doesn’t even say the tsl authors pretend causation, just that they “do not acknowledge clearly enough “. A “debunking” would show that the data was false, etc. 
                         
                    I have noticed that the debate has shifted over the last several years from “no relationship” to more in the “correlation ne causation” area. That alone makes tsl worthwhile.
                           
                    ISTR a reasonable temporal relationship, a rough dose-response line, and some plausible causal explanations for the observed correlation.  

                    I look forward to a bit more data coming out as a result of the GFC, as well as more case-level studies.
                           
                    All in all, if you want to pretend the GINI is still in the bottle, fine by me. .

                    • tsmithfield

                      McFlock, that is just one of a number of criticisms.

                      I don’t want to derail this thread by starting the spirit level debate all over again. But there is a lot of stuff that is seriously dodgy with it. For instance, including extreme outliers to make a trend that wouldn’t otherwise exist. Plus obvious third variable explanations that weren’t considered, just to name a few.

                      I actually couldn’t believe that the spirit level got so much attention. But if you look at the academic criticisms such as several of the links I gave, you will find that people with a much more impressive background than mine have come up with similar criticisms.

                      I used to mark undergraduate papers in my post grad years in psychology. Honestly, I would have given students a D for coming up with some of the tripe I have seen in the Spirit Level. I can’t understand how it got through a peer review process.

                    • McFlock

                      yep – nothing there that hasn’t been done to death here before, like the “outliers” bullshit.
                           
                      TSL is an illustrative work that basically summarizes the research in the field, but it is consistent with the literature of the time and the patterns it draws attention to are still relevant today. It’s a shitload more reliable than Treasury forecasts, for example.
                               
                      Perfect? Nope.
                      Suggests a reasonable conclusion based on data gathered with a clear methodology? Definitely. 
                      Debunked? No more than anthropogenic global warming.  

                    • tsmithfield

                      “TSL is an illustrative work that basically summarizes the research in the field, but it is consistent with the literature of the time and the patterns it draws attention to are still relevant today”

                      If that was all they were trying achieve, then they would have been better to do a meta-analysis rather than what they put up.
                      This uses recognised statistical techniques to analyse data from multiple sources.

                      This study smacks to me of the sort of “research” tripe being dished up to justify banning wood-burners in Christchurch.

                      The claim was approx 150 lives per year were being lost due to particulates from wood burners due to respiratory related illnesses. But, guess what. The number of wood burners has decreased dramatically, but the number of deaths due to respiratory illness hasn’t.

                      The problem seems fairly obvious that there is a third variable at play: cold. It gets cold in winter. People use their fires more. And people die more due to the cold temperatures.

                      It seems quite likely that the wood burner particulates are too big to cause respiratory illness anyway, so the whole argument may well have been baseless.

                      You might be right. But, when I see the sort of statistical freedom used in tsl, it just leaves me shaking my head. Sorry.

                    • McFlock

                      Um – if you’re talking about:

                        Hales, S., Salmond, C., Town, G. I., Kjellstrom, T. and Woodward, A. (2000), Daily mortality in relation to weather and air pollution in Christchurch, New Zealand. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 24: 89–91. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-842X.2000.tb00731.x 

                       
                      They did actually control for temperature and still found a pm10 count correlation. So that actually does debunk your folksy wisdom on the issue.

                    • tsmithfield

                      Yeah. But that also covered a period that included coal burning as well as wood burning. Coal fires are known to have much finer particulates. Also, there is more car traffic in winter due to less people riding bikes, so more vehicle emissions. So, I am not so sure you can tease out wood burners from all that.

                      What is interesting is that the reduction in wood burners doesn’t seem to be having an effect on mortality, which is what would be expected if wood burners were a cause of mortality.

                    • tsmithfield

                      BTW McFlock, here is the article I was referring to.

                      The bullshit figures of 158 per year are derived from the bullshit study I was referring to. I suspect the much lower figures from ECAN are from the much better study you referred to.

                    • McFlock

                      meh.
                         
                      After a bit of googling, 2 things leap out at me:

                      1) 3 people really have their knickers in a twist about keeping their woodburners. 
                      2) without both original articles in front of me, it’s difficult to tell whether it’s a numerator issue (e.g. including some conditions but not others in the count), a denominator issue (e.g. interpolation methods between census years, estimated resident vs count populations, and so on) or just plain looking at different periods.
                             
                      I’m not entirely sure which side to call it for imo yet, and it’s getting late. 

                  • Kotahi Tane Huna

                    Both academic papers you cite are behind paywalls.

                    You’re going to have to do better than that.

              • mike e

                The stupid monetarist Right wing propaganda most of the statistics used in their research is correct .
                So cold independent institutes that counter claimed were found or were funded by right wing think tanks.

  13. tsmithfield 13

    Having had experience with someone in our family circle addicted to heroin, I am reasonably qualified to comment.

    In my experience people in this situation become transient, highly erratic, and engage in large amount of petty crime to fund the addiction. Whether the benefit is stopped or not is a moot point because these people tend to miss required paperwork from WINZ and frequently have their benefit stopped as a result anyway. As mentioned above, for a serious drug user, the amount of the benefit is piss all anyway compared to the cost of funding their addiction. So whether they have it or not probably makes very little difference to their behaviour.

    • dd 13.1

      What you are talking about is heroin which is entirely different to marijuana. For a start it’s far more addictive. It’s also far more life changing and harmful than weed.

      The amount of people addicted to heroin in NZ is extremely low. Mostly down to supply also being very low. Thank goodness for that.

      If you are going to talk about drugs and beneficiaries you should look at marijuana as that is the drug moist widely used. Except from, of course, alcohol. But employers don’t care about that.

      Otherwise you end up writing policy for a small minority that directly harms the majority.

      • idlegus 13.1.1

        heroin? bollocks, maybe your family member was addicted to opiates? which is what most iv drug users use in nz. i doubt anyone in nz could afford or get access to enough heroin for them to have a habit. i am involved with divo/needle exchange in dunedin & do have some idea what i am talking about.

        • tsmithfield 13.1.1.1

          Its amazing what can be afforded when theft is incessant and prostitution as well. You might be right though.

          • Colonial Viper 13.1.1.1.1

            Don’t stop there. Tell us more about your family member who is a thief and a prostitute.

        • McFlock 13.1.1.2

          Heroin is an opiate. But I think I see what you mean.

    • weka 13.2

      “Having had experience with someone in our family circle addicted to heroin, I am reasonably qualified to comment.”
       
      I disagree. You may be qualified to talk about your relative’s experience, but pretty much everything you have said in this thread leads me to believe you have a pretty limited understanding of drug use and addiction.
       
      You talk about ‘these people’ as if they are one homogenous group who are all in the same situation and act in the same way. They’re not and they don’t.
       
      The idea that taking away a benefit would have little effect is so ridiculous I don’t know were to start. The most immediate effect of removing a benefit is to put an addicted person under severe additional stress, both financial and emotional/mental. This is going to have flow on effects in terms of crime, social services, health/mental health etc. For addicts who are already living below the poverty line, this will further entrench long term issues to do with poverty, making survival difficult and recovery near impossible.
       
      I know nothing about your relative’s situation, but most addicts I’ve known have not been wealthy enough that the loss of several hundred dollars a week would have no impact on them, and benefits have been crucial in their survival.
       
       

      • tsmithfield 13.2.1

        “The most immediate effect of removing a benefit is to put an addicted person under severe additional stress, both financial and emotional/mental. This is going to have flow on effects in terms of crime, social services, health/mental health etc.”

        That is why they need to have help getting clean. For drugs such as heroin/opiates, then the methadone treatment should be extended considerably. My relative is now on the methadone treatment and in full employment.

        So far as cannabis is concerned, earlier on you seemed to be saying it wasn’t particularly addictive anyway. In that case, people will probably give up the habit rather than lose their benefit. If that means they are more likely to get a job as a result, then that is even better.

        • Kotahi Tane Huna 13.2.1.1

          “..will probably give up…”

          I don’t mean to doubt your assertions but nothing else you ever say proves true so if you don’t mind: citation please.

        • weka 13.2.1.2

          That is why they need to have help getting clean. For drugs such as heroin/opiates, then the methadone treatment should be extended considerably. My relative is now on the methadone treatment and in full employment.

           
          I am glad for your relative, and I agree that methdone and other treatment services need to be extended. But tell me, how much time did they spend on a benefit?

           
          So far as cannabis is concerned, earlier on you seemed to be saying it wasn’t particularly addictive anyway. In that case, people will probably give up the habit rather than lose their benefit. If that means they are more likely to get a job as a result, then that is even better.
           

          No, that wasn’t what I was saying. I was saying that the effects of drugs are more complex than addicted or not. And that cannabis doesn’t fit the classic definition of addiction because of how it affects physiology. But obviously some people are dependent on cannabis for other reasons. What you seem to be proposing is that someone that is self medicating should either give up essential meds or lose their benefit. I’m saying that that is cruel.
           
          I suspect you have a moral objection to drug use, seeing some drugs as good (alcohol, pharmaceuticals) and others as bad (illegal recreational drugs). There is nothing wrong per se with smoking cannabis apart from the fact that it is illegal. Why should beneficiaries be expected to give that up?
           
          But beyond that, the whole argument is invalid. As others have said, drug tests don’t tell you anything useful about someone’s ability to the job on the day. And why target beneficiaries? Shouldn’t all people who apply for those kinds of jobs be penalised if they refuse or fail a drug test?
           
           

        • mike e 13.2.1.3

          Cannabis not addictive yeah right.

    • “You mean like the way they snoop to see if a beneficiary is living with someone they shag? ”

      Shagging someone is not the same as a relationship.

      I mean, really, if you paid a sexworker to say “I love you” whilst they shag you – do you really believe you’re suddenly in a relationship?!

    • mike e 13.4

      Stupid Monetarist The methadone program has shown to to be a good warehousing policy for heroine addicts but if they are drug tested and refused a benefit you know what will happen.
      A crime wave like we’ve never seen before will happen, Gangs will flourish not that they aren’t with already high unemployment.
      Think Mexico.

  14. Except from, of course, alcohol. But employers don’t care about that.

    It’s not that they don’t care about it so much as that, because they use it themselves, they don’t have bizarre and incomprehensible attitudes towards it. Which means that with alcohol, they tend to take the practical approach of requiring you not to be under its influence at work, rather than the stupidly impractical one of trying to require you to never use it even in your own time.

    Of course, for this govt taking a practical approach comes a poor second to dog-whistling the talkback ranters, hence the enthusiasm for drug-testing beneficiaries.

    • prism 14.1

      PM
      I agree that this government prefer to grab headlines by ranting about drug addiction rather than have the spotlight turned on themselves and their unsavoury behaviour.

      And crime in general is such a good distraction for the government in that way. It has emotional pull for people and the government comes in like Superman promising Action.

      Apparently the Herald had seven pages on the Scott murder and acquittal and tucked away somwhere was information about the rail tunnel project which is going to cost a $billion? Ho hum that’s not important just hoist the screaming headlines about crime again, and turn crime itself into a celebrity.

  15. Draco T Bastard 15

    I want to know why these people (this government and some employers) think they have to have control of my leisure time. Really, that’s all that these drug tests are for.

    The correct time for a drugs test is after an accident and even then it also needs to be a test to see if the person is under the influence. Drugs stay in the body a long time and so it’s possible to get a positive result even though the person isn’t influenced by them.

  16. irascible 16

    Perhaps the reason is contained in this article outlining Cameron’s policies on welfare in the UK?

    https://apps.facebook.com/theguardian/commentisfree/2012/jul/03/cruel-welfare-system-private-firms

    • Olwyn 16.1

      Thanks for that link irascible. This is the sentence, in a page of alarming ones, that struck me above all: “Even backbench Lib Dems are predictably silent, and Labour restricts its criticisms of a system it invented to technocratic hand-wringing, focused not on any kind of moral outrage, but whether everything’s working, and how much it all might cost…”

      In Western countries, the middle ground has been disappearing at a rate of knots, and failure to take a stand speaks increasingly of cowardice rather than “broad appeal.”

  17. Roy 17

    Another big problem with marijuana is the long half-life of THC, which means you can smoke a joint on Saturday evening and fail a urine test during the week, even though you are not in any way affected by the tiny amounts of THC you are still excreting.

  18. Hami Shearlie 18

    Looks like the milk of human kindness that NZ showed to Mr Key’s mother after the war has been conveniently forgotten by him – A jew in Austria, she escaped to England, then came here with her English husband. NZ stretched out and helped – she got a state house even though she was not a New Zealander. And then she got a widow’s benefit and worked as well. Can’t do that now!! How come NZ could do all that for her and her family, yet her beloved John is so hard on native-born New Zealanders when they are in dire straits due to job loss, illness etc. How soon they forget????

  19. vto 19

    Horse shit.

    These drug tests do not test impairment at work due to alcohol or drugs.

    They test whether or not a person has indulged in cannabis in the previous three weeks. Perhaps any job seeker who has had a drink in the last three weeks should also lose their benefit. This is the logic of course, if applied without hypocrisy.

    This is ugly devious politics by dragging a work requirement (not to be impaired) into peoples personal lives.

    If the public of New Zealand do not think that beneficiaries should be allowed to do as they wish outside of work hours without the government snooping then the public of New Zealand should say so clearly. But the likes of tsmithfield above seem to think that the government shold be allowed to so snoop to check beneficiaries comply with a different and higher standard of behavioour than himself.

    The likes of tsmithfield don’t even realise this.

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      Lets start testing MPs and parliamentary staff to the same standard. A few would fail in a heartbeat.

      • tsmithfield 19.1.1

        The difference is that they have earned the money themselves. So they can spend it how they like. When the state gives people money for basic living expenses, that is exactly what it should be used for. Not for having a daily toke.

        • Colonial Viper 19.1.1.1

          The difference is that they have earned the money themselves.

          So you promote a different set of rules for poor unemployed NZers than for rich income earning NZers?

          And its the rich income earning NZers who set the rules for the poor unemployed NZers?

          And further, you think its ok that rich income earning NZers are allowed to get away with more than poor unemployed NZers?

          • prism 19.1.1.1.1

            CV
            “So you promote a different set of rules for poor unemployed NZers than for rich income earning NZers?

            I remembered some pithy comments from Oliver Goldsmith that I read on my desk diary once so googled him. -

            Law grinds the poor, and rich men rule the law

            Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
            Where wealth accumulates, and men decay.
            –Oliver Goldsmith Anglo-Irish writer (1730-1774)

            and
            The rich aren’t like us, they pay less taxes. ..
            Peter de Vries

        • weka 19.1.1.2

          Beneficiaries earn their benefit. They just do this in different ways than wage and salary earners do. MPs have a degree of privilege that they didn’t earn themselves but was given to them. If they want to drug test other members of society they should be willing to be drug tested themselves. You could in fact argue that someone in charge of running the country is a far bigger threat from drug abuse than anyone on a benefit.

        • vto 19.1.1.3

          See tsmithfield, you have fallen straight back into the trap I explained to you – no wonder you didn’t answer it, you couldn’t even see it.

          Your twaddle above is not what this drug testing policy is about. It is not about whether beneficiaries should take drugs or drink alcohol. This policy is about alcohol and drug impairment in the workplace. Do you understand that? a l o h o l a n d d r u g i m p a i r m e n t i n t h e w o r k p l a c e . The two matters are completely different but you and chris73 I see below have fallen straight into the nasty little political trap so cunningly set.

          If you wish to impose a bunch of specific morals and standards of conduct onto beneficiaries then you should say so and outline the reasons why they should. (and please don’t repeat the “I earned it, they didn’t” crap or else we will have to extend the drug tests to Working for Families, superannuitants, those getting free health care,…).

          So, what is it? You talking about alcohol and drug impairment in the workplace?

          Or you talking about imposing specific standards of 24/7 morals and conduct onto just jobseekers?

        • mike e 19.1.1.4

          Tsm Most beneficiaries can’t afford Drugs.Even the ones doctors prescribe.
          But last time the right were Dog Whistling(to avoid scrutiny over asset sales)
          A parliamentary aid was caught dakking up every body assumed it was a greenie or labour,
          It turned out to be an ACT staff er.
          Where is Dopey Don Brash when you need him.

      • Hami Shearlie 19.1.2

        Mr Groser would be a shoo-in!

  20. chris73 20

    Good

    I’m not particularly pleased that some drop-kick, dead-beat, losers are using my hard earned taxes to take illegal drugs.

    Is it really that difficult fro some of these dregs to, I don’t know, not blow the money that others have to work hard for on drugs?

    Sorry I forgot, its their right to do exactly as they please

    No responsibilities

    • North 20.1

      C73 = activist idiot. Piss off mr perfection.

      • chris73 20.1.1

        Piss off mr perfection.

        Not taking drugs makes me mr perfect? You must have really low expectations of people.

        • Colonial Viper 20.1.1.1

          What about our responsibilities to provide respectable jobs with respectable pay to everyone in society who wants one eh?

          Eh, fuckhead?

        • mike e 20.1.1.2

          C73You drink alcohol do you.

    • Jackal 20.2

      I think you need to refer to the initial question chris73: What is going to happen to the people who have their benefit terminated under this policy?

      You’re answer seems to be that you don’t care if people die of hypothermia under a bridge somewhere, as long as it saves money. How exactly is making people’s lives harder going to save money? The governments excuse… because these usually young people (the target group) shared a joint at a party a few weeks ago or perhaps use marijuana recreationally.

      Did you realize that there’s no peer reviewed scientific evidence that marijuana is any more harmful than smoking tobacco? Some people even regard the herb marijuana as a medicine, and it has been linked to helping people who suffer from alzheimer’s and chronic pain. Around 20% of New Zealanders use marijuana regularly, so why just discriminate against beneficiaries, at around 6.6% of the population? Your argument, like John Keys, is looking more unfounded and biased every day.

      You claim that beneficiaries; “are using my hard earned taxes to take illegal drugs.” FFS! Marijuana’s illegality makes it expensive, and your taxes are going to gangs because it’s legislated against by an ideologically blinded government. Did you realise that in many countries decriminalization has reduced consumption… or are you just commenting again on something you know nothing about?

      There’s also no evidence that beneficiaries take more drugs than the general public or that removing people from welfare would reduce drug dependency. This just looks like another ten point plan on how to destroy society to me.

    • muzza 20.3

      C73

      Some time spent learning about humanity for you lad….

      Thinking those thoughts, and putting them on paper is really asking for trouble in some way..

      Human life is not something to pour scorn on, or leave to rot.

      Do you really believe your attitude is adding any more value that those you pretend to deride..

      Oh, and I pay taxes too, and would rather see those you deem inhuman to ge that money, than one cent spent on the types you vote for!

      Give that money to those who need it, not those who sell their country out for it!

    • mike e 20.4

      c73 sounds like an investment banker your describing.

  21. John72 21

    Little children, this site reads like someone is making large sums of money selling drugs and they are fighting to keep the market alive.
    You do not NEED drugs, and regardless of what the people selling drugs tell you, life is far more fun without drugs. There is a deep peace that you can never buy, it does not come suddenly and you will never find it with drugs.
    God’s Peace.

    • Vicky32 21.1

      Little children, this site reads like someone is making large sums of money selling drugs and they are fighting to keep the market alive.
      You do not NEED drugs, and regardless of what the people selling drugs tell you, life is far more fun without drugs.

      Seconded!

      • McFlock 21.1.1

        What I really don’t need is the patronising tone.
           
        Drugs are fun. Especially ethanol. 

        • John72 21.1.1.1

          When you behave like a child you will be treated like a child.

          • McFlock 21.1.1.1.1

            That sort of pretentious crap reminds me of the Q’town bouncer and his delusional youtube clip. I’m sure it’s profound to you, but to me it’s nothing I haven’t heard from a drunk fresher law student. 
                  
             

          • QoT 21.1.1.1.2

            Oooh, yes, Daddy, I’ve been such a naughty girl, you know you want to talk down to me some more …

            • Colonial Viper 21.1.1.1.2.1

              For gawds sakes you don’t know what kind of reaction you’ll encourage…

              • QoT

                Au contraire, I know exactly what kind of reaction I’ll encourage – but of course John will continue to bluster and lecture and hector us all and claim it’s somehow not a massive paternalistic ego trip on his part … while fapping.

      • Draco T Bastard 21.1.2

        Says a person who gets upset every time the cost of cigarettes goes up.

      • joe90 21.1.3

        Little children, this site reads like someone is making large sums of money selling drugs and they are fighting to keep the market alive.
        You do not NEED drugs, and regardless of what the people selling drugs tell you, life is far more fun without drugs. There is a deep peace that you can never buy, it does not come suddenly and you will never find it with drugs.
        God’s Peace.

        Sanctimonious patronising twatcockery.

        Piss, pot, powders and pills, better living through pharmaceuticals I say.

        • ropata 21.1.3.1

          Christians are unrealistic to expect people outside the church to follow their values
          like anything taken to extremes, drugs, alcohol or religion become toxic
          people don’t NEED any of the above but they enjoy them, so live and let live

          • mike e 21.1.3.1.1

            Just about all Christians I know are the biggest hypocrites I know!

            • Vicky32 21.1.3.1.1.1

              Just about all Christians I know are the biggest hypocrites I know!

              I would not expect you to say anything different.. but nevertheless, it’s bit of a cliché…
              As a matter of interest, how many Christians do you know? My guess is not very many…

              • mike e

                Religion is a blight on humanity nearly all the wars that are being fought in the world today are over ones religious bent.
                Unfortunately I know to many.

                • Vicky32

                  nearly all the wars that are being fought in the world today are over ones religious bent.

                  Sigh… Just the other day I refuted that (and was ignored). Google The War Audit…
                  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/wtwtgod/3513709.stm
                   

                  • mike e

                    Coming from leaders of churchs yeah right so which wars in the world right now aren’t being fought along religious lines.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      I tend to think that few wars are purely religious.

                      Religion however is easily used by those who wish war and who crave power and resource.

                      It’s a short step once you convince people that their beliefs are under threat to then use that to do your will. Patriotism is yet another such tool.

                      Many religious of course do not fight on religious grounds – I have friends who I’m pretty certain will always take that position.

                      One of the things that I do find interesting at the moment is that the charging of interest is not allowed in the Muslim faith.

                      I can’t help but wonder, without thinking conspiracy, about how much those power brokers in the banking industry would dislike that.

      • mike e 21.1.4

        Nicotene is not a drug

        • lprent 21.1.4.1

          Yeah, never heard of nicotene.

          But nicotine is a drug used for various medical purposes mostly because of its effects on vasodilation. Oh and it is a highly addictive recreational drug as well.

          /sarcasm

    • vto 21.2

      John72 that is simplistic and ignores all of human history.

    • QoT 21.3

      You do not NEED drugs

      Got to love the compassionate faux Christians who like to pretend addiction doesn’t exist (which is not to say, as noted above, that all beneficiaries who use drugs are addicts, simply that “Just hug Jesus and your DTs will stop” is kinda clearly sanctimonious bullshit.)

      And of course the massive class privilege exuding from anyone who can’t comprehend that some people’s lives are just shit enough that yeah, altering your brain chemistry can sound like a pretty good idea …

      • Descendant Of Smith 21.3.1

        All the time ignoring their own addiction to having an invisible friend.

        So they cope with their life, it’s ups and downs, their sense of community, and so on through religion. Like dealers they also however seek to sell me their tainted product and take my money.

        Knowledge and logic and science play no part in religion other than the knowledge of the pychological charlatan and the conman.

        I don’t pay my taxes for beneficaries to give my money to churches and to peddle mis-information.

        Any beneficary who is religous should lose their benefit. There’s no excuse for such nonsense. It’s a choice and should be easy to give up.

        • Jackal 21.3.1.1

          Considering the shit that the “legitimate” drug pushers get up to:

          Glaxo promoted Advair from 2001 through at least 2010 for all asthma patients, even though the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug for use in only severe cases, according to the complaint.

          The agency added a so-called black-box warning to Advair’s label in 2003 that data showed “a small but significant increase in asthma-related deaths” in patients receiving long- acting beta agonists, a type of drug found in Advair.

          …Advair is marketed in New Zealand under Seretide, which is a asthma med targeted at poor people. Once again our media is underreporting on such issues.

          • Colonial Viper 21.3.1.1.1

            Usual rules. Steal £500, go to prison.

            Steal £50,000,000 get a knighthood.

          • mike e 21.3.1.1.2

            GSK are facing lawsuits for Africa. Fiddling research data to hide side effects etc.
            They are facing billions of dollars of law suits because of this they were fined $1 .5 billion dollars but this is just pocket change for this company.

        • Vicky32 21.3.1.2

          Any beneficary who is religous should lose their benefit. There’s no excuse for such nonsense. It’s a choice and should be easy to give up.

          The words bigoted and bastard spring to mind.
          We’re well aware of addiction – I was married to an alkie, so you’re targeting the wrong person, with your acidic hatred. In fact, words fail me, I don’t want to spend hours trying to make some common sense penetrate your firmly closed bitter angry little mind. You are desperately in need of help, but I am not offering it to you, aside from aught else, the words “frak up and die” also spring to mind.

          • mike e 21.3.1.2.1

            Vicky He was married to a tobaccoholic

          • Descendant Of Smith 21.3.1.2.2

            Let’s be clear:

            1. I don’t believe in god (of any sort) and think it’s a load of crock
            2. I believe quite firmly in religous tolerance and you are free to be whatever religion you like. I don’t have to positively affirm your choices – they are yours and yours alone.
            3. I believe in freedom of expression and speech and that includes the right to say god is a load of crock and your right to say it is not. You are often terribly intolerant of those who criticise religion however I think you’ll find I’ve never ever called you names unlike yourself to me.
            4. I believe in a clear separation of church and state
            5. I understand perfectly both the good and bad sides of religion but in particular have antipathy for those who use religion to take advantage of others whether through ministers sexually abusing children, christian orphanages doing likewise, the hypocracy of those who sin all week and confess to cleanse themselves, the churches who take money off the poor and read out loud the names of those who could not afford anything that week to shame them, those religions that enforce ostracism of their members families and so on. Let’s not pretend those things don’t exist.

            I’m happy for you to list the good things religion brings – none will be a revelation (no pun intended)

            The point I was making was that if this government, who is clearly intertwined with the religous right as well as what could be argued mainstream religous, can build a case for my tax dollars not being spent on people who use recreational drugs I can just as easily argue from a moral point of view that I don’t want my tax dollars being spent on religous people, those this government is cosy with.

            It’s an attack on this government and one of the areas they do see as their client base – much as the righties argue that no hopers, women breeding and druggies are the left’s client base – or have you missed all that vitriol spewed at them somehow.

            I may be a bastard at times, but that like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I don’t mind at all using sacred cows to make my point. Try not to personalise it.

            • Vicky32 21.3.1.2.2.1

              particular have antipathy for those who use religion to take advantage of others whether through ministers sexually abusing children, christian orphanages doing likewise, the hypocracy of those who sin all week and confess to cleanse themselves, the churches who take money off the poor and read out loud the names of those who could not afford anything that week to shame them, those religions that enforce ostracism of their members families and so on. Let’s not pretend those things don’t exist.
               

              Ah, but also, let’s not pretend that these things do exist outside of the wonderful world of film! I’m thinking particularly about this one: “the churches who take money off the poor and read out loud the names of those who could not afford anything that week to shame them”…
              I have spent many years in churches of different types and kinds, and have yet to encounter any of the horror stories you enumerate. Funnily enough, I’ve heard of such stories only from the internet atheist, sub-type angry…

              The point I was making was that if this government, who is clearly intertwined with the religous right

              So, you’re one of those New Zealanders who believes that this actually is America?
               

              I may be a bastard at times, but that like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I don’t mind at all using sacred cows to make my point. Try not to personalise it.

              I wasn’t personalising it – but you are!

              • QoT

                Oh, Vicky, sweet innocent Vicky, so steadfast in your faith you’d rather make stupid statements like

                Funnily enough, I’ve heard of such stories only from the internet atheist, sub-type angry…

                Instead of actually having the integrity to use the google.

                But hey, just continue on getting knee-jerk petty and vindictive any time anyone dares question organised religion, Jesus was all about being deliberately ignorant in the face of justified criticism.

                • Vicky32

                  Jesus was all about being deliberately ignorant in the face of justified criticism.

                  I really hope you think you’re being funny, QoT! What you know about Jesus could be inscribed on an ant’s testicles and still leave room for the US Constitution.
                  I’d heard that story before and thought it was from a movie – as many of the rest are, the orphanage one being a particular favourite of directors… Funnily enough, I note where the person quoted says : “”I don’t go to that church and the big reason is they’re still using the old concept the fa’asamoa concept instead of using the biblical principles which are tithing that is not announced because announcing it shames the people.” So, the evil practice named is hardly a norm, it seems!
                  As I have asked before, do try not to be such a bitch, hey? Thanks in advance.

                  • QoT

                    As I have asked before, do try not to be such a bitch, hey? Thanks in advance.

                    Fuck me, the self-professed followers of a dude who was, I recall from my extensive Christian upbringing, all about the love and peace and shit are totally living up to his teachings tonight!

                    Not my problem you continue to make a fool out of yourself with your complete lack of self-awareness, Vicky. Please, take my advice. Try googling for something the next time you find yourself typing “shut up you evil atheist you’re just lying because you hate all Christians and me personally”, you might save yourself some lost dignity, and you ain’t got much to spare.

                    • Vicky32

                      Not my problem you continue to make a fool out of yourself with your complete lack of self-awareness, Vicky

                      Diddums wants attention from his mummy does he? Sorry, bored already. When you grow up, you’ll learn that a potty mouth as the Americans call it, and endless insults get you nowhere.
                      I have never called you evil, or an atheist, much less an evil atheist. I am very sorry to burst your attention whoring bubble, but you just don’t matter that much to me, neither does your opinion, yet you can’t resist going on the attack whenever you see my name.
                      I have nothing against atheists – but I despise bigotry, ignorance and above all, lying. Keep doing whatever you want to do, but try not to let your desire to be the centre of attention distract you from the actual subject under discussion, which was addiction and drugs…

                    • QoT

                      Ladies and gentlemen and non-binary folk, there we have it: backed into a corner by her own stupidity, Vicky has no recourse but to start using male pronouns against me.

                      It’s exactly what Jesus would have done, you know. He was also a fan of derailing conversations then accusing the person responder to him of being the real derailer. Also, not understanding the concept of paraphrasing, but you know, early-C.E. Middle Eastern cultures were all about the accurate oral transmission of data.

              • Descendant Of Smith

                “the churches who take money off the poor and read out loud the names of those who could not afford anything that week to shame them”…

                That’s not even close to being anecdotal including having a personal conversation with one particular church minister who was doing this.

                Even the Catholic Church has admitted that their priests abused children – I’m not sure why that is somehow the realm of movies.

                It’s fair to say that the “sin all week confess at the end” is more of a colloquial comment but I do know Catholics who quite openly and in theory light heartedly do say that. They the Catholics say that – it seems to be some sort of in-joke. I have rarely heard non-Catholics say that – it would be a 10:1 ratio at least.

                The behaviour of some who say that however, including in two cases, having affairs with their staff reinforces that stereotype.

                My daughter learned the hard way that religion was no protection from cheating boyfriends.

                And see I’m not a bigot – I had no problem at all with my non-religous daughter going out with someone who was religous, had no problem at all having him as part of our family and being welcome.

                Reminder too that bigotry was the name applied to the stance of religous people who maintained theirs was the only possible position to take. It was not used to describe those who disagreed with them. Religous bigots were the religous.

                I not think you can actually be a bigot if yopu are not religous.

                Anyway for both yourself and John are you for or against the drugtesting of beneficaries and the removal of their benefits.

                It’s clear I don’t support it any more than I support removing benefits if you are religous ( you may have missed that point perhaps) or many any other supposedly moral reason.

                And nah I didn’t personalise anything and still haven’t called you any names.

                • Descendant Of Smith

                  On the American point do I belive we’re the US?

                  ahhh no.

                  Do I believe this government has connections to the religous right – yep.

                  Exclusive Brethren and Parents Inc spring to mind.

                  You are aware the past CEO of Parents Inc becames the CEO of The National Party, that the National Government is funding religopus parenting programs and has increased funding to religous schools.

                  Do you not see connections here.

                  I hope we never become like the US but we are sliding that way – two rightwing major parties and an increased moral political influence by religous people.

                  I’m happy to fight against both those things.

                  • Vicky32

                    two rightwing major parties and an increased moral political influence by religous people.
                    I’m happy to fight against both those things.

                    Whew, paranoid much? Two right wing major parties? So you believe Labour is right wing, I take it. That’s so pathetic I won’t dignify it with an answer.
                     

                    • mike e

                      Yes labour has turned into national and national has turned into ACT.
                      Labours excuse is it can’t be done otherwise w’ell upset the markets!

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      I really enjoy hearing Labour’s leftwing policies articulated in public:

                      8 hour workingday
                      40 hour working week
                      Decent minimum wage
                      Increased taxation of the well off
                      Increasing benefit rates to a liveable amount – at minimum putting the $20-00 per week back on benefits – you know the $20 per week they put back on super and the one they had 9 years to put back on benefits but did not
                      Centralised wage bargaining forcing firms to compete on the quality of the product and service not on who can pay the crappiest wage
                      Ensuring minimum salaries are say 120% of the minimum wage to stop employers getting around the minimum wage requirements
                      Building more state housing and letting people live in their state houses for their entire life if they wish – you know giving people security
                      Employing people with disabilites and young people in the public sector to give them an opportunity for a decent life and a good start – cause the private won’t and will never employ them all
                      Regional development to support rural areas and not just farmers

                      These things were not even “left” when I was growing up they were normal

                      Maybe I’ve missed their press releases – don’t tell me Labours not a rightwing party.

                  • mike e

                    They gave $880,000 to Destiny church.
                    Its a typical right wing trick suck the religious nutters by offering moral policy that costs them nothing but suck enough poor ignorant people in with false moral high ground.ie abortion and gay rights.
                    Divide and conquer and guess what the labour party play right into their hands.

                • Vicky32

                  Anyway for both yourself and John are you for or against the drugtesting of beneficaries and the removal of their benefits.

                  I can’t answer for John, but if you’d bothered to read the whole thread, you’d know I am against it! Pretty damn obvious really, as (a) I am on a benefit (so don’t expect me to support any bene bashing) and (b) like John, I have/have had family members with addiction problems, so I know full well that drugging is not a matter of choice.
                  However, I agree with John that taking drugs is a piss-poor problem solving strategy. It doesn’t even ameliorate the sheer nasty grind of being poor – neither alcohol nor dope does that. 
                  PS – QoT, you pride yourself on your superior intelligence, yet you attack John for his saying “little children”. It is to laugh that you can’t recognise a quote when you see it! :D

                  • QoT

                    Oh, right, it was just a quote, not meant to sound smarmy or superior at all. Especially given the tone of John’s later comments, which were totally not those of a Big Scary Daddy Who Has Come Home And Found Out You Didn’t Feed The Goldfish.

                    I’ve sure been put in my place. You’ve changed my life. I repent, and will hold people responsible for the words they type no longer.

          • John72 21.3.1.2.3

            Vicky32 thank you for your support. I have given one reason why I feel qualified to write on the subject of drug addiction. It seems to have been ignored. There are several other reasons why I feel qualified to debate the subject, but I am not prepared to discuss them on this site because so many people have shown that they have no respect for others. If I discuss anything more personal, with the immature, selfish, childish, critics appearing on this site, they will only see it as an oportunity to “score some piggy stamps”. Any comment I make will be misquoted, quoted out of context or have assumptions added to it, in order to criticise. The critics will not see it as a thought to support an argument in a debate.
            There are some thoughtful contributors. However the uncivilised ones are quick to appear and spoil the nature of the site.
            Are the uncivilised contributors unemployed? They seem to have plenty of time.

            • Vicky32 21.3.1.2.3.1

              Any comment I make will be misquoted, quoted out of context or have assumptions added to it, in order to criticise. The critics will not see it as a thought to support an argument in a debate.

              Sadly, that’s true.. but the people who do such things will claim that it’s your fault, or mine! :(

            • QoT 21.3.1.2.3.2

              I am not prepared to discuss them on this site because so many people have shown that they have no respect for others

              I’m sorry, this from the dude who began his comment “Little children …”? You rock that moral high ground, Daddy.

              • Descendant Of Smith

                “If I discuss anything more personal, with the immature, selfish, childish, critics appearing on this site”

                “Are the uncivilised contributors unemployed? ”

                I only wish I was as respectful as you. And how come you see being unemployed as an insult?

                • mike e

                  Labour did only marginally better than national when it came to housing ,child poverty. That’s why their support has drifted away.

              • john72

                QoT, “Little Children…” was addressed to Children.
                Why did you take offence?

                • QoT

                  Oh, brava, sir. The classic “but if you’re not a dipshit why would you care if I say dipshit????” defence. Truly you are a marvellous stereotype of patriarchal self-importance.

                  (By the way, in future you might like to not undermine your defenders … Vicky put so much effort into claiming that you were “quoting” something, and now you’re obviously saying you’re not, and it’s just a little sad, like watching the Australian batting order collapse.)

                  • john72

                    QoT, 5 points.
                    1. You did not answer my question, “Why did you take offence?”
                    2. “Little Children” was used as a quote, because it was applicable in this context but not every recognised it.
                    3. The meaning you give to the quote depends on how you see yourself. In that context it would have a different implication for everyone.
                    4. Many people have been baited and have risen to the bait. They have shown their true colours
                    5. Mathew 7:6. “Do not give that which is holy to the dogs, and do not throw pearls before swine least, trampling them under foot, they turn and attack you.”
                    If this quotation offends you, the question arises, WHY?

                    “Your words and actions bear witness to your thoughts”

                    • McFlock

                      Patronising fuckwit,

                      Some of the comments from so-called “Christians” here read like someone who believes in magic books and defending child rapists, and they are fighting to keep the institution alive. 
                      You do not NEED god, and regardless of what people selling religion are telling you, life is far more fun without guys in dresses telling you what to do. There is amazing enlightenment you can get by opening your mind, and with drugs you can be there in seconds.
                      Make love not war.

                    • john72

                      McFlock, do you ever wonder if you are being “baited”?

                    • McFlock

                      Why so?
                               
                      I wasn’t talking to you. 

    • muzza 21.4

      Only those who have lived both sides of the discussion are really in a position to comment J72,

      Either you are a hypocrite or just sanctimonious,

      Neither of those is a good look, nor what you pretend to be!

    • lprent 21.5

      John – you might not need drugs, but I sure do. The probabilities of long term survival are pretty low without the wee cocktail of beta blockers, statins, and aspirin that I take every day.

      • Vicky32 21.5.1

        The probabilities of long term survival are pretty low without the wee cocktail of beta blockers, statins, and aspirin that I take every day.

        With respect, Lyn, that’s not what he meant, and I know that you know that…
        (Given that I am also stuck with statins daily, I sympathise, but I can’t agree with your point because you’re making an unwarranted dig at John. You know he didn’t mean therapeutic drugs. )

        • lprent 21.5.1.1

          I know that he didn’t. However he was somewhat imprecise in making it clear what he was actually talking about. When going in for condemnation it behoves the condemner to be precise because there is a short step from condemning a specific activity to smearing and attacking a much wider group. Just look at Paula Bennett’s nasty attacks on beneficeries as an example.

          This is particularly the case with “drug use”. I have run across people who dose up on aspirin and similar drugs (and these days I really notice when I don’t have my aspirin in the morning).

          Hell almost anything can act like a “drug”. I have run across people who abuse that Japanese horse radish – wasabi. They eat it out of the tube for the drug reactions their body makes. I have known a couple of ex-army on benefits who were seriously addicted to running for the endorphins – which costs quite a chunk of their benefit in food consumption.

          And I know people who use cannabis as a drug of choice to treat arthritis symptoms because it is a hell of a lot less of a problem over the longer term than many pain relievers for people with delicate stomachs. Everything depends on context and what you’re actually precisely condemning.

          I was pointing out that John72 was a righteously simple user of a black and white mentality on a topic that he hasn’t thought through. If you look at his statement then it was pretty easy to conclude that he could be construed as a condemner of religion because like exercise, the physiological effects that has are very similar to some drug effects (and seem to have addictive properties :twisted:).

          • Vicky32 21.5.1.1.1

            as a condemner of religion because like exercise, the physiological effects that has are very similar to some drug effects …)

            That’s ‘drawing a long bow’! In fact, it’s a bit silly, don’t you think?

            • lprent 21.5.1.1.1.1

              No more silly than John’s rather imprecise argument that seems to owe more to the language of bigotry (ie talkback) than logic.

              Say “drugs” after 80 years of expensive failed wars on drugs and you get the mindless kicking of psuedo-morality that John exhibits. But everyone’s bodies are awash with “drugs” normally. Both the ones we generate internally and the ones we manufacture – which are usually just analogues of the ones we produce naturally (because otherwise they don’t work)… Which is of course why drug testing has such a high false positive rate.

              The more that I think of this proposed stupid policy, the more that I am inclined to consign it to the bin of dead before arrival stupidities. It is another war on drugs or crushing the cars of boy racers type policy. It will be ineffective for its stated objectives and lead to some pretty severe inequities.

  22. Huginn 22

    Sauce for the goose . . .

    “National leader John Key has accepted MP Tim Groser’s word that he did not smoke cannabis in Jakarta while he was New Zealand ambassador there in the mid-90s.

    Mr Groser has admitted smoking cannabis, but rejects claims by his former wife, Milda Emza, that he smoked on the job. He says her claims have to be seen in the context of a failed marriage.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10456012

    • Jim Nald 22.1

      Might this be related to seeing internal enemies chancing upon cows in every stream?

    • weka 22.2

      “Tim’s marriages have not been successful, as he frankly admits. He’s had rather a tough time over the years. He says he has reached the point now that if he is attracted to a woman he has to assume there is something seriously wrong with her.”
       
      Charming.

      • Hami Shearlie 22.2.1

        And if she’s attracted to him – there definitely IS something wrong with her!

    • mike e 22.3

      Grosser was opposition spokes person on trade negotiations at the time and was runnuing down labour for finally turning over the aussie apple ban.
      He should have stuck to stone fruit negotiation aye!

    • mike e 22.4

      No I can see where key banks etc can’t remember what they said over a cup of tea.
      They were suffering short term memory loss because someone swapped the cookies they were eating with hash brownies.

  23. Colonial Viper 23

    I want all the fucking right wing nanny state types to agree to a very simple Government policy:

    - If you are unemployed and a marijuana user, and you agree to give up pot

    - NZ society will, in exchange, give you a full time job on at least the minimum wage.

  24. Jenny 24

    When unemployed people who pass a drugs test, start gathering in their tens of hundreds, or tens of thousands, sober and clear eyed, demanding the jobs that they were promised for passing this test. It will be the Nats worst nightmare come true.

    • M 24.1

      Yes Jenny, may their bullying come back to haunt them.

    • mike e 24.2

      Instead of getting the knives out and lighting up the bongs they will go out and vote.Probably Act if Don Brash makes another comeback.

  25. fender 25

    Oh that nice Mr Key wants his name associated with turning NZ into a land of drunks the same way the public-tit-sucking-Shipley has. He doesn’t believe cost of alcohol has an effect on consumption (despite believing it does for tobbaco), its obvious he’s thinking of the unemployed as he will be thinking they will want to buy booze once they stop smoking cannabis so he wants it to be cheap for them. He might even send them a bottle of wine from his own vineyard in appreciation for their conversion to the other side, the side him and his mates profit from, the same side that dislike cannabis as it interferes with the consumption of their particular poison.

    • bad12 25.1

      ”(Despite believing it does for tobacco)”, Oh no Slippery KNOWS full well that raising the excise tax on tobacco products has very little effect upon usage except for a downturn in use in the couple of months after an initial excise tax rise,

      On a year on year decadal scale tho our Prime Minister KNOWS that those addicted to the product will keep on ‘coughing’ up taxes to the tune of over a billion dollars a year over what the costs of the addictions are costing the health budget,

      Hell Treasury in its advice to the Slippery one and the Member for Dipton over raising the excise tax on tobacco products was absolutely gushing in it’s praise for such revenue gathering, telling the Government that as few of those using the products would be able to give up for long the raised excise tax was a real winner….

      • mike e 25.1.1

        sad1 4,600 kiwi’s die from smoking related diseases each year.
        P considered to be the most dangerous drug in NZ has been around since world war11 has killied less than 20 people including the ones murdered by user’s
        Heroine has killed less than a 100 people.
        pot including road accidents less than 200
        alcohol 500 to 600 a year.

        • bad12 25.1.1.1

          Tragic that you cannot debate without first insulting people by mis-spelling their user-name, shows you up for the infant you obviously are,

          All the figures you have used in your reply are irrelevant to the discussion as well as being incorrect, carry on believing the figures about tobacco related deaths tho, it simply shows that although some of the chimps did manage to descend from the trees their mental agility didn’t move much further than the peeling of bananas and the ability to repeatedly thump a tree branch upon the ground to make a point,

          the real amusement will come when one bunch of zealot idiots keeps screeching that raising taxes upon those addicted to tobacco products stops the use of that product while the other lot of zealot idiots screeches that the use of tobacco products kills 4700 a year,

          The same zealot idiots of course are at the same time calling for euthanaisa to become lawful…

          • mike e 25.1.1.1.1

            1.Cigarette smokers don’t need euthanasia.
            2. apes who descended from trees and beat upon the ground are smarter than cigarette smokers

  26. Drakula 26

    I would start drug testing cabinet ministers; after all they should lead by example don’t you think?

  27. gnomic 27

    Ah, drug testing. What a wonderful growth industry for the ESR and former cops too lazy to find real jobs. All based on the spurious premise that someone who has smoked marijuana is automatically thereby a danger to themself and all about them. Reliable sources tell me it is possible to drive a vehicle while whacked and live to tell the tale. Good lord, it is even possible to climb a middling kind of mountain with the dread THC in the bloodstream. Or cut down a tree in a forest. Or go surfing or skiing.

    What this really about is the wowser/puritan element in the NZ psyche that resents anybody getting a wee bit of fun that isn’t authorised and taxed by the state. And all the suckers who read one too many beatups about pot in the Reader’s Digest. And people like the scowling weasel, aka the allegedly honourable John Key, who are self-confessedly afraid of drugs. And curtain-twitchers who hate the undeserving poor.

    Perhaps some of the clowns who go on about safety sensitive industries can explain why there is a continual stream of trucking accidents involving drivers who are presumably not drug users since they work for employers who screen out the potheads. I’d really like to see the story on that crash by crash, but it’s probably not an issue the capitalist press wants to investigate, or even the relevant government departments.

    Oh well. Onwards and downwards – obviously far better to demolish the welfare state than do something sane like introducing a universal minimum income. But where are the tent cities going to be, since camping is mostly banned around our cities and townships?

  28. Roy 28

    People can, and do, fail drug tests because they have recently eaten a poppy-seed roll. Hardly seems fair, does it?

  29. Vicky32 29

    is that the charging of interest is not allowed in the Muslim faith.
    I can’t help but wonder, without thinking conspiracy, about how much those power brokers in the banking industry would dislike that.
     

    A very good point!
     

  30. MrSmith 30

    Bill Hicks Positive drug story http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vX1CvW38cHA

  31. john72 31

    Once again we have shown that if the solution was easy, there would not be a problem. Who expects to solve the problem of drug abuse in 5 min. on a Web site?

  32. john72 32

    Every one. EVEN you.

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