Bill English: Drug abuse preventing young Kiwis from working

Bill English

Prime Minister Bill English says he has regular conversations with business owners across the country who can’t hire young Kiwi staff because many can’t pass a drug test.

He made the comments at his weekly post-cabinet press conference after being asked about New Zealand’s record migration numbers.

“We’re getting complaints from businesses talking about the increased difficulty of recruiting people to carry out the jobs they have available.”

One of the biggest hurdles for young people these days is just passing a drug test, Mr English says.

He says he has roughly two or three conversations a week with business owners who are worried about the problem.

In safety-sensitive workplaces, pre-employment testing can be used by employers to show that they are serious about managing the alcohol and drug risks within the workplace, according to Employment New Zealand.

Generally, an employer may only ask employees and other workers to agree to alcohol or drugs tests if this is a condition of their appointment and in the employment agreement or workplace policies.

Mr English says this is a concern for most industries across New Zealand.

“It’s not exceptional at all these days for that discussion to be had.

“[I’ve received] anecdotal evidence from people telling me they open applications, they get people turning up and it’s hard to get someone who is able to pass a [drug] test.”

Mr English wouldn’t elaborate on what drugs were the main causes for concern.

He says either people using drugs change their habits or they won't be able to get a job.

Meanwhile, he says there has been “robust complaining” from the hospitality industry about their ability to recruit bar and café managers.

He says that struggle extends to the horticulture and agriculture industries particularly in the regions.

“In Hawkes Bay, [businesses] know there is going to be an additional 1000 jobs with the horticultural growth over the next four or five years,” he says.

“[Businesses] want locals in those jobs, but are finding it quite challenging.”


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He's not wrong, should've added, too lazy, too spoilt by our welfare system = bad attitude.

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Bollocks

The welfare system has been carried on by the Ntaional Government
The drug scene has deteriorated under this Government not improved.Not enough spent on the issue - both getting people off drugs and also finding and punishing drug dealers.
The Government has had its head in the sand for 8 years and has dared not make the hard calls to hit the issues head on and possibly dented their popularity

Bringing in workers from offshore is not the answer - its the easy option
Face the issues and deal to them - pun not intended

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On the money here.

Justify unemployment of locals, to keep immigration rolling.

Would have thought actions speak louder than words. The under resourced Police, Justice & education system is the problem here. Prevention is better than cure, but this government is more focused on privatising profits and socialising losses.

The main culprit of this inquisition has flead the country to Hawaii; to join the rest of the corrupt management of (so called) democracy.

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Drug test them and cut their dole off if they fail? Without a consequence they will laugh all the way to the Winz office.....or what would you do?

How has the drug scene deteriorated under this government? I agree they have not expanded drug rehab and if anything have shrunk it but other than that they are stopping more drugs at the border than ever before.....

the police are under resourced but this is also from successive governments...not just the last 8 years....can't catch druggies if you have noone available to do the chasing.

A lot of the lazyness issues fall firmly back on the fact that kids can not get a paper round for pocket money these days...stacking the shelves of the local supermarket....sorry, that is gone as well......working part time at the local service station is also out as they dont give forecourt service any longer.....Who got rid of youth rates?

Blame succesve governments for the communities inability to employ young teens and teach them how to work and instil work ethics.

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Do keep in mind the Police were one area that had their funding frozen by National for some years - something they've only just undone to try to build the force back up again after coming under political pressure in election year.

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Don't blame the welfare system - everyone has a personal responsibility to live well, care for themselves and they all know darn well that drug testing is very common workplace, so do I want a job - well get yourself clean - so let's point the finger back at the individual.
At the end of the day, no one forces you to be in the drug scene !!

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So I did some cursory googling, AKA fact checking.

>"...in 2015, in response to an OIA request, it was reported over the 2014/2015 year, WINZ tested 29,049 applicant referrals, of which 159 failed or refused testing... or .005% failures or refusals."

https://fyi.org.nz/request/3487/response/11226/attach/2/20160204%20Harri...

This would appear to be a terrible and unjustified slur on the people of New Zealand by yourself, but - more critically - by our Prime Minister who has claimed to want to run a "data-driven government".

How does he not know the data well enough to know this? Why is he running an immigration policy with this as justification, when the government's own testing over 2014/2015 shows such a low rate of failure and/or refusal?

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Your point about data is taken. But anyone can produce a clean drug sample if they know the timing of the testing. It is a breeze to rort the drug testing regime, and then carry on just as before.
The idea that stoned(marijuana) people cannot pick appples off a tree and put them in a bag all day flies in the face of the available evidence

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We've no data to suggest all those young Kiwis out there are druggies, only anecdotes from those who may have other motivations - including depressing local market wages to make their costs cheaper.

Making assumptions and creating policy based on these anecdotes is the polar opposite of being a data-driven government. Smacks of just being a government for mates.

And as others have noted, it's abhorrent on multiple levels: 1) characterising young Kiwis as drug-addled layabouts, and 2) rather than addressing drug abuse - if it exists - deciding the next best action is to import a different, cheaper labour force instead and abandon the young Kiwis.

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Additional figures for full year 1 Jan to 31 Dec 2015:

31,791 drug tests were done via WINZ job seekers, and only 55 sanctions occurred (note that 1 person could have multiple sanctions, so this does not mean 55 people failed).

https://www.msd.govt.nz/documents/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-re...

Bill's looking like being in the business of anecdote-driven government, rather than data-driven government.

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That could well be true but my son doesn't even drink and can't get a job interview despite having a degree in maths and finance. He does have low self confidence and now a gap in employment since his temp job ended - where they thought he did a great job. Such a waste! Yet even the clippie on the Jville train has a pommy accent!

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You seem to have diagnosed the problem - he has low self confidence. If he has a degree he should be able to calculate that any income is better than no income. I personally found working night shift as a shelf packer highlighted that my difficulties in finding employment were most definitely my own and my qualifications did not equate to self discipline or productivity.
I hope you have the courage to teach your son to balance his intelligence with pragmatism which is best learnt through manual labour.

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There is a severe shortage of qualified math teachers in this country. Can't he join the dots?

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Why would a young person choose to be a teacher? It doesn't pay enough to build a viable life here.

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The question: is he only looking at employment in his chosen filed or will he take any employment. A comment made to me by a father 50 years ago stands true today, 'take any job you can get then your not a burden on society, whilst your working you can look for the job you want' This helped me travel around the world and at the same time achieve a very good education with 2 degrees paid for by my employers

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Does he actually get out of bed by lunchtime and go looking ??

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certainty this is why I am self employed.

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I wonder if the legal cannabis states in America have had a huge spike in workplace accidents since legalisation, I doubt it . Should be treated like alcohol turn up to work drunk/ stoned get sent home or saked , simple !

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I agree with you....but testing for an accurate level of Marijuana in your system requires a test that is not instant.....

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Mr Bill "Data-driven Government" English rocks out anecdotes to justify his open-door immigration policy?

And perhaps a case of confirmation bias to boot.

Who would've thought?

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If you were Bill what would you rely on other than data (and the 2 to 3 conversations with employers a week he mentioned etc.) ?

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See the data I posted above.

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This article is disgusting journalism. All you did was present Bill English's anecdote without even a hint of fact checking or evidence to show the actual situation in New Zealand, you simply parroted his words. People rely on you for news and facts, not sensationalistic nonsense that the prime minister likes to make up off the top of his head. Give us substance, not stories.

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Have had ads running for 3 landscapers for the past 2 months and 1 for a designer. Not a single person fitting this description has applied!! Ended up hiring people with very different backgrounds and will have to train them ourselves at quite considerable cost!

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A common problem these days is that employers are getting far too specific in their job requirements, expecting applicants to meet all of them. Perhaps this is a reflection of employers' slant on the availability of labour.

But it's not that long ago that we used to have general job descriptions and chose people on the basis of their potential to develop the specific skills needed.

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This is true. Most likely many of the "back in my day" age folk will have gone straight from high school into jobs where they were given all the training they needed for the job.

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If drugs are the problem, why don't we also test migrants / seasonal workers for drug use as part of their medical test regime? Locals get tested, why not them?

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Govt needs to get tough.

Test regularly and randomly the people claiming unemployment benefits.

Unemployed - you are in possession of illegal substances or under influence of (including alcohol) then no benefit including housing nz support.

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Sure. We should be fair though and test you, and Bill English while we are at it.

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Neither should we forget out last PM was an investment banker who started in the 1980s and worked in the USA and UK...What are the odds?

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The headline suggests the idea that all drug use is drug abuse. Failing a drug test is not evidence of drug abuse, unless one takes the view that all drug use is necessarily abuse. It is acknowledged that this view is commonly held.

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Ah, you are right when you say all drug use is not drug abuse.
The PM did not mention abuse.
But I tell you now you do not want any drug (includes alcahol) user driving a truck or any machinery, you do not want one up your apple trees or felling pine trees, nor do you want one working on your fishing boat or filleting floor.

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Suggest we start testing banking, law and real estate sectors too.

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On a separate note, people may be interested that we don't even do routine drug or alcohol testing for commercial drivers eg trucks, taxis, buses. Different in Australia where it's a lot stricter.

GPs do their regular medical checks but there's no recommended drug testing here, meaning that drivers can be regular users and won't get picked up until they've had an accident.

I've brought it up with the minister who was uninterested to say the least but it certainly scares me.

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Most of the banks already do

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I've no problem with drug testing in these circumstances, but it raises questions:

1. How come these unemployed 'kids' have enough money for drugs?
2. How have they got through the education system with no tradeable skills?
3. What is their family environment?

Perhaps what is really to be taken from this is lessons about dependency and welfarism.

Also:

1. I want hard evidence of drug testing statistics: anecdote is not good enough here. What are the facts/stats?

2. I'd like to see year long statistics on breathalyser testing of MPs in sitting sessions of parliament for afternoon and evening sessions.

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>1. I want hard evidence of drug testing statistics: anecdote is not good enough here. What are the facts/stats?

Could not agree more. The only stats we have so far suggest the opposite, and Bill is justifying policy based on anecdotes.

At this point, it's just as likely that businesses are clamouring for immigrants because it pushes wages down for all, thereby increasing profits.

It pushes wages down, while increasing the strain on housing.

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"..... breathalyser testing of MP's ....'
Tha's NZ First gone!
Why didn't I think of that?

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Lance Wowser Wiggs thought of it a while back:

www.nbr.co.nz/article/lets-stop-mps-drinking-and-lawmaking-ck-122513

 

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So he did! He must've been disappointed that wasmn't acted on.
Actually you don't need to breathalyse unless you are looking for test case proof.
Just watch the oldies hands. There are only two modes, "sober shakey" and "gin steady".

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In case someone hasn't reported it above, of over 30,000 tested each year, around 400 failed. That's less than 1% so we can put this to bed as rubbish.

I agree many of this generation aren't employable, but that's down to being mollycoddled by liberal parents and the state via welfare and schooling. They're not taught the joy of self-reliance, self-responsibility, and having goals in life (thus, value for life).

Now, I bet English is also using this as an excuse not to legalise cannabis for adults. Go to hell Bill. With this and euthanasia, despite being a free marketer/small stater, I'll be trying to vote National out this year. Such a shame there is no rational vote for laissez faire free market social liberals. (Classical liberals).

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Mr Hubbard? Like me, you too will have heard the phrase, "dumb as a sack of hammers". But surely there are not many "job seekers" be so dumb. they would turn up at a pre-arranged scheduled drug test with drugs in their system. A test they knew they must pass as failure to do so would cost them financially?

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A lot of this drug testing will only be because employers are worried about possible legal trouble if an employee gets caught with illegal drugs in their workplace. The government just needs to hurry up and legalise cannabis. Treasury has already said that would be good for the government accounts. Sure the same vocal minority who complained about prostitution and gays marriage becoming legal will also complain. But the sky didn't fall in when that happened.

As for education, at least half of the secondary school cirrculum could be cut. Subjects such as social studies and music are pointless. When there are people who struggle with science and maths.

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I am an employer and never in a million years would I ever go down the path of employing todays "modern youth" ever again. They are a nightmare 1) No work ethic and /or respect 2) Devoid of any practical skills 3) Devoid of any general knowledge about "life" in the real world. All they seemingly want to do is play on their goddamn phones all day. And whom do I blame?? Well, the "education system" of course, as in my experience, they turn out nothing but morons incapable of thinking for themselves. I don't blame the kids as many of them are bright, but they are the by product of a snowflake education system infested by women (god bless them). Get some decent male roll models back in these youngsters' lives and society will see 1) a drop in juvenile crime 2) kids with some practical skills and knowledge that they can take to a potential employer

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Paul - your perspective, although probably well-founded based on your experience, strikes me as a shocking generalisation. Young people will have to learn about '"life" in the real world' someday and somehow, and refusing to employ them will not help their problems that you have seen.

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I like helping and teaching people (especially kids) and I have tried employing them on and off, over a 30 year period. Interestingly enough, I had far better success employing kids around 20-30 years ago ie prior to the internet age and prior to our education system going down the drain. Like I said, its not the kids fault, its their so-called education.

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Parents are a massive component of educational achievement. And educational priorities are also set by the voting and preferences of these parents.

If what you're describing is accurate, it sounds like the parents have a lot to answer for.

In addition, perhaps the shift of focus from houses as homes to investment has played its part. Re-checking the figures this morning, wage inflation means $1 in 1982 is now worth around $4 today, while $1 in 1982 housing costs is equivalent to around $12 now. How many of these children have been raised with their parents around and present in the moment consistently, compared to what it was like for their parents growing up?

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TRIGGERED!

Your comment smacks of, "I'm not a racist, but..." (eg. a snowflake education system infested by women (god bless them)). My mother taught me the majority of what I know about society today, as well as to be well-mannered and accept that even stupid comments and brash generalisations have their place, mostly in notifiying us of who to avoid in life if we want to progress positively and make our lives better. This was reinforced through my education, mostly in the Humanities (which is absolutely infested with women!)

Do you need a "Safe Space" now?

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I know plenty of women in the education system (including my own sister - a former principal). They all sing from the same song sheet when comes to discussion about the appalling lack of male teachers in the profession. I think its unfair and unreasonable that women are burdened with the almost sole responsibility (or it would seem), of educating our kids and it shows (particularly in crime statistics) Some people I guess, are unable to see the elephant in the room .

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So then, you would agree with me when I say that education, morals, ethics etc should start at home? If women are unfairly burdened then you shouldn't be ranting against an education system stacked with females - you should be telling men to step up and take an equal share in raising our future citizens, first and foremost in the household...

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I agree with you 100%. I'm ranting against an education system that is not gender-balanced and that this imbalance shows in crime figures (drug abuse??) and kids who are not taught "useful stuff" that employers like myself can leverage off and build on. It is abhorrent that boys can go through schooling with out ever having had a male teacher and/or, any decent male roll model in their life (Peter Ellis case has a lot to do with this) Families are so dysfunctional nowadays that schools are taking over a lot of their function and responsibilities which is a damning and sad indictment on the society we have become.

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So you agree that males need to step up at home, yet you rant against an education system full of females? I think you need to re-read your first comment and reconsider your outlook and what you say...

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My experience aligns with yours, Paul, although in a different field. I used to work at one of our Universities, largely with Masters and PhD students in the age range of 22-28 and I found that many, but not all of the current crop of young New Zealand students were just awful.

It's not that they lacked in intelligence - well most of them didn't but there are exceptions, even at that level - but it was what they lacked in social skills, emotional intelligence, attitude, respect, drive, ambition, practical skills and the ability to work well across the age divide and professionally with other staff and students that stood out.

And yet oddly, overseas students and it didn't matter where in the world they came from, Europe, Asia, the Americas, weren't like that, yet foreign students and the sons and daughters of immigrants who had been through our education system were.

Our schools are doing something to them that is not equipping them to handle the adversity and challenges of the workplace, workplace professional relationships, and life.

Too many of them were very immature for their age, too sensitive, burst into tears when the going got tough, didn't commit, didn't turn up, felt entitled to high marks, grades and regard without demonstrating any of the corresponding achievement and output that would justify such treatment.
There is something wrong in the way our kids are being schooled today that's for sure.

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Pretty tragic that importing labour basically becomes the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. "Sorry, we stuffed up the education we gave you in school and at home, so now we're going to import an alternative workforce instead. Touch luck, kids."

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Drug use or abuse isn't even the point here. The PM made a public statement calling a significant proportion of NZers unemployable junkies and suggesting that the only solution to the issue is more foreign workers to make up for it. Is that it?
What the PM fails to understand is that he has a larger role to play towards nation building than just to keep the economy and its factors chugging along. We need decisive, empathetic leaders who are willing to look beyond quick fixes and nominal GDP figures.

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Correct. Our problems are systemic and as I have opined above, the education system would be a good place to start.

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Good to see that people fact checked this. This kind of anecdotal throwaway is complete nonsense.

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Just shows the level of people English is hanging around with. Yes drugs are an issue but I do not accept that they are a hinder businesses hiring staff seems a very feeble and wrong excuse.

If it is such an issue what is he doing about it? I have never come across a drugs test requirement when applying for a job, yes have seem a condition of employment stating that the company will run random drugs tests. I do not mean that the tests are random they are well thought out and executed more that you do not know when you will pee in a bottle.

What about booze and as Horse (may be a bad name for a drugs related story) points out 0.175% cam back positive from the WINZ tests.

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All these holier than thous ... I mean how many of you have stories about getting stoned with the boss on a Friday after work party??

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no way of getting to work even if they had a job to go to.
an extra 70 000 people jambed packed on to motorways that are already way beyond capacity.
Go for it English....no wonder the young are hitting the drugs and booze....what the hell else is there for them to do.

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AI will put an end to many jobs. Give us a living wage and we will learn the skills to grow a decent crop.

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I think if people can't pass a drug test, they shouldn't be entitled to a benefit.

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Surely this is a simple price/demand issue - raise the wage, get a better set of applicants?

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Well, yes...it's circumventing supply and demand by importing cheaper supply. Arab states do this a lot to build their garish towers too.

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My other question re immigration being used to replace local labour options is, what effect will this have on the ageism that is already (so I'm told) a problem in the NZ job market?

Sure, Boomers have benefited from low property prices and the majority are secure in the own homes, but many still need jobs and some even get hit by redundancy later in life.

Why will NZ companies be hiring aging boomers when there is a ready supply of fresh skilled immigrants?

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Never mind the drugs. Could Bill please inform the NZ public that he has put a stop to the $6 million donation to the Clinton foundation?

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The one who claims he cannot get an interview does not want an interview or a job.

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