Tuesday, January 22, 2013

NZ Herald misleads again

Last week I posted about the NZ Herald getting it wrong on youth unemployment. Today it misrepresents welfare reforms currently at select committee:
The bill also requires jobseekers to be drug-free, and requires beneficiaries with children to immunise them and have toddlers enrolled in early childhood education.
Not quite. The Bill actually says:

Changes in this Bill give effect to the Government’s manifesto commitment to introduce pre-employment drug testing requirements for beneficiaries. The requirements will apply where undertaking and passing a pre-employment drug test is required as part of a job application, or as part of a training programme to which beneficiaries  are referred by Work and Income.....Beneficiaries will not be referred to jobs with pre-employment drug tests if they are dependent on drugs or undergoing drug treatment. Sanctioning these people for their drug use would be ineffective, as sanctions are about changing behaviour, but those dependent on drugs are generally unable to change their behaviour without support.  Instead, people addicted to or dependent on drugs will be offered support to deal with their addiction.
 The reality is only a minority, probably quite small, of jobseekers will be required to be "drug-free".

And on the matter of immunisation which cannot be administered without parental/caregiver consent, the legislation will,

  ....require beneficiary  parents to take all reasonable steps to have their dependent child:
•        aged 3 years or over, enrolled in and attending early childhood education until they start school; and
•        enrolled in and attending school from age of 5 (or 6) years depending on when the child first  starts school; and
•        enrolled with a primary health care provider; and
•        up-to-date with the core Well Child checks.

The reality here is that a beneficiary parent can refuse to have his or her child or children immunised in the same way as any other parent.

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