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Job-seeking beneficiaries to face drug tests, English confirms

PLUS: Are we in a housing boom?

NBR staff
Mon, 02 Jul 2012

Finance Minister Bill English has confirmed some unemployed will face drug tests to get the benefit.

On TVNZ's Q+A yesterday, the minister said he wasn't just making an off-hand quip about testing last week.

"In my electorate, a lot of the jobs available to younger people are in forestry and in the meat-processing industry, and I’m told by those employers they often can’t employ our own locally unemployed young people because they can’t pass a drug test," Mr English said.

"So back in the election campaign, we made a commitment to having a policy where people who are meant to be available for work should be in the position where they can pass a drug test, for instance, so they can get a job in the forestry industry."

Tests would apply to beneficiaries who were new job seekers.

Housing boom fuelling high dollar?
The biggest “head wind” frustrating efforts to rebalance the economy has been high exchange rate, the finance minister said.

Asked if money flooding into the country to fund a housing boom was driving up the NZ dollar, Mr English replied:

"Well, I don’t know. I don’t quite agree with that. We’ve got a bit of price pressure in the central Auckland housing market, but everywhere else, it’s pretty flat, and you’ve just got to look at the credit growth for housing is only a little bit above zero.

"So we’re not on the edge of a housing boom.

"It’s actually not a bad sign if people are taking advantage of the lowest interest rates we’ve ever had to get the housing market back to somewhere near its normal level of activity.”

NBR staff
Mon, 02 Jul 2012
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Job-seeking beneficiaries to face drug tests, English confirms