Why there should be work and drug test obligations for National MPs

Written By: - Date published: 8:55 am, July 16th, 2017 - 52 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, bill english, Dirty Politics, national, national/act government, Politics, same old national - Tags:

Under this Government if you are a beneficiary there are strenuous work obligations and drug test obligations.  The Government seems to take a sadistic pleasure in making people look for non existing jobs or to submit themselves to drug tests that almost invariably showed that they were clean.

It is a shame that these same rules do not apply to National MPs.  If they did it is almost inevitable that the state would save itself the need to pay Todd Barclay’s parliamentary salary.

From Stuff:

It remains unclear whether embattled Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay will return to Parliament before retiring at the election in September.

Barclay has been absent from the House and select committees since he announced he would stand down in June over further revelations about his alleged illegal taping of a staff-member.

Parliament is currently in recess but will sit for a further four weeks prior to the election. Barclay is the deputy chair of both the Education and Science and Primary Production select committees.

Senior whip Jami-Lee Ross and Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie are travelling to Queenstown on Tuesday to meet with Barclay.

“We’re talking about local issues, talking about how he’s doing. We know he’s been going into his electorate office and doing work on a regular basis.”

Ross said he would likely be talking to Barclay about whether he was coming back to Parliament or not.

“I don’t know if he’s made a decision yet. I’m sure that will come up in the conversation – we’ll discuss if and when he does come back to Parliament.”

Todd has been elusive ever since the story about the use of the Prime Minister’s fund to pay a former employee compensation for having her rights of privacy breached.  He has not been seen at his office although he has been seen at a local pub.

The young MP, who usually has a busy schedule, hasn’t been spotted at a single public event – even when other National MPs have visited the electorate.

It is understood he was even absent from a National Party fundraiser in Queenstown on Friday, which deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett attended.

Early in July Barclay was spotted taking a phone call outside the Pig and Whistle, in Queenstown. A Stuff reporter approached him for comment and was told several times that he was “not going to be speaking to anybody” and he was “taking a bit of a break” before Barclay disappeared back inside the pub.

And the pressure is on him to return to work.  After all that is what is required of all ordinary workers.  Again from Stuff:

Prime Minister Bill English says he’s expecting MP Todd Barclay back in Parliament next week.

The temperature has been turned up on the National Party’s MP this weekend, with mayors in his Clutha-Southland electorate saying he should either show up to work or quit – and he should front up to a police inquiry.

Despite claims from Barclay and senior Government whip Jami-Lee Ross that Barclay had been hard at work, the only time he’s been seen in public since announcing his resignation was when he was spotted at the Pig and Whistle pub in Queenstown last week.

Prime Minister Bill English and senior Government whip Jami-Lee Ross are sending mixed message on whether Todd Barclay will return to Parliament after recess.

Police want to talk to him about allegations he secretly recorded the phone conversations of his electorate staff member Glenys Dickson, in an ugly falling out.

According to a Stuff source, phone records show Dickson was in constant contact with English as she prepared an employment grievance against Barclay.

She had previously worked for English when he was the local MP, and the two are said to have communicated by phone or text message up to 10 times a day as relations with Barclay deteriorated.

National must be wishing this story would fade.  But this seems unlikely.

52 comments on “Why there should be work and drug test obligations for National MPs”

  1. Kay 1

    But…but….Nat MPs are fully capable of personal responsibility and don’t need the firm but kind guidance of the State to correct the error of their ways by way of financial sanctions.

    And besides, how will they service their mortgages and overseas trips while they’re being sanctioned??? Won’t someone think of the children?

  2. Ad 2

    Random drug testing should be in every single workplace. Including Parliament.
    Keep everyone sharp.

    Works in our place.

    • weka 2.1

      So people at your work place aren’t allowed to smoke cannabis in the weekend or holidays?

      • fender 2.1.1

        That would be a shame. I tend to find low level users more innovative, more creative, show more attention to detail and are more inclined to have an agile mind capable of seeing things from many perspectives.

        • weka 2.1.1.1

          Yep. It’s the major failing with work place drug testing. It’s not testing for impairment, it’s testing for out of work use. I can see why some workplaces might want to make sure their employees aren’t using daily or high use, but afaik that can’t be tested for.

      • James 2.1.2

        This might come as a surprise but they aren’t allowed to by law already.

        • weka 2.1.2.1

          I wasn’t talking about legality. The law doesn’t actually stop large numbers of people from using cannabis, in case you hadn’t noticed 😉

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2.2

          Smoking marijuana or taking other recreational drugs is not illegal.

        • Unless there’s an actual safety concern though, (eg. operating dangerous equiment or heavy vehicles) it should be none of your employer’s concern what you do when you’re not at work. If you’re getting high at work or your personal habits are creating a performance issue, those things can and do deserve to be managed directly, (and they already can be) but the issue is that drug tests mostly don’t tell if you’re high now, they tell if you’ve been high within the last few weeks/months.

      • Ad 2.1.3

        they want a stoner operating a digger next to them?

        Nope.

        • weka 2.1.3.1

          Someone who smokes the odd joint on the weekend isn’t a stoner.

          • fender 2.1.3.1.1

            They are to the chardonnay, pinot swilling people who feel their hobby is better than yours.

          • Ad 2.1.3.1.2

            In our workplace that’s just a dumb excuse and will have you disciplined for traces, and by that I mean likely removed from site. Margin of error in our workplace is too small.

            Arguably the margin of error is too small in parliament as well: they write legislation.

            • Incognito 2.1.3.1.2.1

              And crap legislation it often is …

            • weka 2.1.3.1.2.2

              So you really are saying that none of the employees are allowed to smoke cannabis ever, even on their holiday. Nothing to do with being a stoner. Given that testing doesn’t show impairment, and your workplace operates machinery, I can see why. But I can’t see why that should apply to every workplace in NZ. (I’m not arguing the legalities here)

              • Ad

                Where would like to draw the line?
                One joint? Ten a day?

                And the work areas:
                Mining?
                Forestry?
                Fishing?
                Farming?
                Construction?
                Driving?
                Trucking?

                Ask any employer in those areas if they will allow it.
                It will be pretty blunt.
                And no, no-one from Director down is exempt from random testing.

                Tourist guiding?
                Nurses and surgeons?
                Would be interesting to know how many joints they can do just before they hold a scalpel over you.

                Law?

                Anything else requiring judgement?

                You can have all the rights you like on recreational drugs until you take it to your job.

                I think you will find that the insurers – particularly ACC – take a pretty dim view of anything that impedes judgement. I can certainly tell you that Workplace Health and Safety people do.

                • gsays

                  Without being specific, what sort of workplace are you referring to Ad?

                  Personally speaking and from experience, inattention is a far greater hazard on the road or workplace than someone using cannabis occasionally. ( 3-4 times a week, not at work.)

                  • Ad

                    I’m in major construction.

                    • gsays

                      Cheers.
                      I must admit I find it hard to believe that the directors/management aren’t immune from testing, as they are the ones that ‘generate’ the random testing.
                      In my experience,( hospo and factory work) it is used when management want to be rid of certain worker(s). Results ignored when it suits management.

                • weka

                  I don’t think people should be smoking on the day they are working. I thought that was clear from my comments.

                  • Ad

                    The fatty buildup matters; you start drawing on those fat reserves, you release it. You seen how many cops are on the road on Sunday morning?

                    • weka

                      yes, I understand how THC is stored in the body. I’m just not sure why someone who has a smoke on Saturday night and who works in a job where that doesn’t matter should be penalised. Unless you think all cannabis use is wrong. Maybe you could clarify.

                      “You seen how many cops are on the road on Sunday morning?”

                      You’re not being very cogent. What have cops got to do with workplace drug testing?

                    • Ad

                      You tell me which job classes should be exempt from drug testing. The post said Parliamentarians should be tested.

                      Cops are out on Sunday morning to catch drivers who still have too much in their system from Saturday morning.

                      I’m sure people who don’t work can smoke as much dope as they like. They can call it a “right” if it makes them feel better. Over to them.

                      Meantime, the rest of us have to work.

                      You don’t have a right to smoke dope at work in this country, and that should never change.

                • McFlock

                  So what’s actually the problem with impairment testing rather than substance testing?

                  That would address any issues caused by all drugs currently tested for, the ones we have no test for, fatigue, debilitating illnesses, and idiots.

    • You work from home don’t you?

      Why just at work. Obviously before any sport or driving or activity with childen. Maybe at the door to the house and if you don’t pass your door doesn’t open your car won’t start calls just to emergency. That would help ‘mothers little helper’ scenarios and secret drinkers.

      • Ad 2.2.1

        Young people are already on a 0% alcohol tolerance for driving.
        Makes perfect sense: you’re operating heavy machinery at speed with everyone else vulnerable to your judgement. It’s the law and it makes sense.

        They should apply 0% tolerance to marijuana as well while driving.

    • Random drug testing should be in every single workplace.

      After they’ve developed random drug testing that can test for impairment, maybe. Until then, it’s just bullshit.

    • mary_a 2.4

      Absolutely Ad (2) With you 100% there. Given the responsibility of important decision and law making involved, it’s imperative Parliamentarians are subject to substance testing.

  3. dukeofurl 3

    Remember all the kerfuffle about Hone Harawiras poor attendance at parliament ?

    Wasnt that being led by the usual noisemakers Hooton Farrar and Slater ? I thought they succeeded in having no show no pay provisions bought in.

    http://www.newshub.co.nz/politics/wagging-mps-to-be-held-accountable-2014012810

    “The Prime Minister has called out Mana Party leader Hone Harawira as one of the MPs “taking the mickey” by not showing up in the House.”

    “Parliament has adopted a roll call and absentees will need to report to their party whip or the Speaker to explain themselves, while serial waggers will face being publicly outed in a weekly journal.

    The changes come into play from today, which is the first sitting day of Parliament for the year.

    Minister Jo Goodhew, who once sat on a governance group for school truancy, says the change is entirely appropriate.

    “Just choosing to not be in Wellington because you can’t be bothered this week is not okay,” says Ms Goodhew.

    As usual its different rules when the Tories do it.

  4. Sabine 4

    drug testing inclusive alcohol consumption should be mandatory for all members of parliament, their staff, any contractors working government jobs, and sub contractors etc etc etc.

    what would Mrs. Bennett – she who would be nothing without taxpayers largesse paying for her livestyle – say? Oh yeah, just wanting to make sure we don’t waste taxpayers money.
    Same for the lying piece of housing welfare fraud that is currently masquerading as PM. Drug test him every day. Make his life as miserable as they make it for people who have lost their jobs, their health and have to basically give up their humanity and dignity for a literal hand out that is too little to live on but too much to die of at the same time. The pox on all their houses. May they receive what they give.

    • gsays 4.1

      Heaven forbid Sabine.
      Nandor Tanzcos passed a comment along the lines of senior MPs being drunk in charge of the country.
      A comment that resonated with me.
      Witness Muldoon calling snap election and Bolger and Peters negotiating over a single malt.
      It caused howls of outrage and he ended up apologising.

  5. Keith 5

    Another National Party tax payer benny bludger.

    He doesn’t turn up to work so why isn’t his pay stopped, him forced to repay it and an investigation held as to why this bludger is ripping us off??

    Come on National, one rule for all!

  6. dukeofurl 6

    apparently they can have their pay docked

    “Lazy MPs will have their attendance recorded – and made public – from today.[jan 2014]
    Parliament has adopted a roll call to show how many MPs – who earn at least $147,800 a year – turn up for debates, select committees and other business.
    And as well as being named and shamed, those who skip more than three sitting days will have their wages immediately docked by 0.2 per cent. For a backbencher this would be $295.
    MPs also face suspension if the Speaker judges their absences “grossly disorderly conduct.”

    Wouldnt mind betting Barclay can flout these ‘rules’ as well and continue to be paid

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9655173/MPs-attendance-records-revealed

  7. James 7

    What a great idea. Of course it would have to apply to the greens and labour as well.

    Which party do you think would have the highest “fail” rate.

    • mickysavage 7.1

      National by a mile.

      • Red 7.1.1

        Well labour has hardly any MPs and less after September so I guess that makes sense

      • Ad 7.1.2

        To be in parliament and have to listen to Bill English pretent to be a leader of anything I’d have to have coke in my asthma ventilator.

    • I would stack Green attendance up against any other party, for sure, they do a very good job at not only being on-premises but actually being in the debating chamber, even for evening debates.

      I imagine the worst parties are National and UF, judging from parliamentary footage.

  8. mosa 8

    $3000 a week plus other perks is not bad when you can engage in illegal activity and your employer will cover it up and use somebody else’s money to pay compensation to keep it from hurting you publicly and the best one , not having to co’operate with a police investigation in other words your above the law as well !!!! oh and come back to work when you feel like it.

    Shit where do you sign up for a job like that ?
    The National party must be swamped with greedy criminals wanting to apply for such a promising safe career.

    This is the real John Key legacy.

    • Incognito 8.1

      Shit where do you sign up for a job like that ?

      Let’s put it this way: you won’t find jobs like that on Seek.

    • mosa 8.2

      Oh wait its already filled with greedy criminals my mistake.

  9. Cinny 9

    Dodgy Todd, this story is far from over.

    Todd is AWOL, but did have the time to have a go at the Clutha District Council…

    Barclay was also critical of the council for not sending a representative to a meeting h

    We had organised with Deputy Prime Minister and Tourism Minister Paula Bennett in late June in Queenstown. Barclay was not at that meeting himself.

    So he is back in Parliament next week, will he front up to media? Will he attend question time the following week?

    Will media grow a pair and ask Bill about it tomorrow?

    Will Newshub grow a pair, it’s a sad state of affairs when a tv sports presenter is allowed to comment on politics and endorse the national party while stroking his own ego on morning TV.

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