No time for any drugged job ap­pli­cants

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY Con­tin­ued be­low

If you’re a ‘‘drug .... ed’’ you need not ap­ply for a job at Toko­roa log­ging com­pany G Hale Log­ging.

That’s made well and truly clear on the job va­cancy sign for an op­er­a­tor ca­pa­ble tree feller, which hangs on the fence out­side the com­pany’s depot in Bal­moral Drive.

Henry Hale, who came up with the idea to take the blunt ap­proach to ad­ver­tis­ing the po­si­tion, said with Toko­roa’s ram­pant drug us­age the com­pany was left with no choice.

‘‘We’d nor­mally ad­ver­tise in the paper and go through the nor­mal pro­cesses, but Toko­roa has a bad drug prob­lem and you end up wast­ing a lot of time,’’ he said.

‘‘There al­ways has been a drug prob­lem in Toko­roa but it’s got worse over the last three or five years with P and other hard drugs, so it’s be­come hard to find peo­ple who are not af­fected one way or an­other.’’

With that in mind, the fam­i­lyrun busi­ness backed Hale’s idea. But in a town cry­ing out for more jobs the re­ac­tion, or lack of, has as­tounded.

‘‘It has been up for nearly three weeks and I have only had one phone call from some­one with no ex­pe­ri­ence,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a pretty high-skilled job op­er­at­ing ma­chin­ery and tree felling, so if some­one has those skills it would be bloody good.i’m not go­ing to be pay­ing peanuts ei­ther,’’ he said.

He put the lack of in­ter­est down to a mix of not enough peo­ple be­ing trained to cater for in­dus­try needs, and skilled work­ers in­creas­ingly be­ing turned away due to drugs.

‘‘The skill base in Toko­roa has be­come very thin so it’s hard to get good work­ers, and you usu­ally have to wait un­til they fin­ish up with some­one else be­fore you can find any­one,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve also known some de­cent bush men who had gone side­ways with P and other hard drugs, and it’s such a waste of their skills.’’

The Drug De­tec­tion Agency’s Waikato/coro­man­del branch gen­eral man­ager Graeme Smith con­firmed there had been a rise in test­ing over re­cent years, but said com­pa­nies had no choice.

‘‘Drug tak­ing is an is­sue right across the coun­try and it is no dif­fer­ent for the forestry in­dus­try. They are not try­ing to be the fun po­lice, the de­ci­sion is not a moral one, they have a le­gal obli­ga­tion un­der the Health and Safety Act to pro­tect peo­ple,’’ he said.

LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIRFAX NZ

A job va­cancy sign out­side G Hale Log­ging in Toko­roa.

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