Meet the inspirational Kiwi gymnast who is aiming for Tokyo 2020, while receiving dialysis four times a day

Katherine Paton is battling more than most as she aims to reach her sporting dreams. Source: Seven Sharp

Drug Foundation wants sanctions ditched for beneficiaries who fail pre-employment drug tests

The Drug Foundation is calling for an end to people losing the benefit if they fail pre-employment drug tests.

The call comes as figures show that a record 47,115 beneficiaries were referred to jobs that required drug testing in the year to June and 170 of those failed the tests.

Past National government's viewed drug use among the unemployed as a major problem and introduced tough sanctions - fail pre-employment drug tests and have your benefit stripped. 

"The reason you can't work is because you elected on Saturday night to smoke a joint," said then-prime minister John Key in 2010.

His successor Bill English said in 2017: "One of the hurdles these days is just passing the drug test." 

The figures mean that for every 277 beneficiaries referred to jobs requiring drug testing in the past year, there was one failure. 

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni says the perception around drug testing and beneficiaries has "gone out the window".

"It actually isn't the dire problem that it was made out to be." 

National's Social Development spokesperson Louise Upston says the fact that there's a relatively low failure rate is a good thing.

"People know their obligations."

The Drug Foundation wants the sanctions ditched. 

"Let the numbers speak for themselves. Acknowledge that this was always a myth and let's stop hammering people who are already vulnerable and disadvantaged," said Ross Bell.

The Government only keeps records on how many beneficiaries were referred for job that requires a drug test, not how many tests are actually carried out. 

And the 170 fail figure includes people who did not turn up to be tested. 

A record 47,000 beneficiaries were referred to jobs that required drug testing last year, and fewer than 200 people failed. Source: 1 NEWS


Auckland Council investigating South Auckland cow attack

Auckland Council is investigating the circumstances of a cattle attack in a park at the weekend.

A man was injured on Sunday when he went to help a woman being attacked by cows in Totara Park in South Auckland.

Auckland Councillor Daniel Newman has since raised questions about whether the leaseholder breached his agreement with the council.

Farmer Peter Linton has leased the land for 19 years.

The most recent agreement with the council was signed at the end of 2015.

It states that the licensee can only graze cattle and sheep on the land and not use it for other purposes.

All cattle on the property must be de-horned and can be no more than two years old, and bulls are prohibited.

Today the cows were eagerly inspecting passersby. Source:

Manurewa-Papakura ward councillor Daniel Newman said he had written to council officers to find out if those conditions were being met.

RNZ understands council staff met this morning to discuss their policies around keeping cattle on public land.

Mr Linton declined a recorded interview with RNZ, but he said he was not breaching any of the rules set out in the agreement.

He said he made the decision with the council to send the heffer and her eight-month old vealer calf to the slaughterhouse after the attack.

Even if the cows were not killed yesterday, it was likely they would have been next week, he said.

Sunday's cattle attack occurred during calving season.

During that time, cows are typically very protective of their young and do not like people getting close.

Animal behaviour specialist Elsa Flint said during calving season cattle and the public should be separated

"They should just go into a safe zone, at least have a fence between them and the area that the people run or frequent.

"Generally, most of the animals that live in the shared spaces are very used to people and so at other times of year, I wouldn't expect this sort of behaviour because they are used to all sorts of things going past them and around them," Ms Flint said.

People would benefit from having signs at the entrance of the park that described how to act around a cow and what to do if the animals become agitated, she said.

An Auckland council spokeswoman said its development agency, Panuku, managed the lease and it would review the attack, including considering any necessary changes.

Mike Small and Caron Lynne’s ramble in Totara Park ended in horrifying fashion as they witnessed the shocking incident. Source: Seven Sharp