March 02, 2017
Flavell confirms forestry drug problem
Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell says there is some truth in Prime Minister Bill English’s claim that drug use is keeping many people out of the job market.
Mr English has come under fire for using anecdotal evidence to make a political point, when government figures show only a tiny fraction of beneficiaries have failed pre-employment drug tests.
Mr Flavell says employers and trainers in the timber industry have told him there is a problem.
"With the number of deaths that have happened in the forestry industry, they take it really seriously. If you want to get into that industry, and there are jobs available, they are struggling to find people who can pass those tests. In some places the issue of drugs among our whanau and particularly among our young ones is a major issue and is a drawback into allowing them to get into anything to do with manual labour and the primary industries and is a drawback and so on," he says.
Mr Flavell says many primary sector jobs are in remote areas, and employers may find it easier to find foreign workers or migrants willing to do those jobs than locals.
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