Video - The Prime Minister's comments on drug tests look like an excuse for not doing anything about youth unemployment, Labour Party leader Andrew Little says.
Prime Minister Bill English said the government was still hearing from employers struggling to find enough New Zealanders to fill job vacancies, in many cases because they would not pass a drug test.
Mr Little told Morning Report National was not looking for solutions to get young people into work.
Employers, such as horticultural growers in Hawke's Bay, had told him they wanted Work and Income to give young people two weeks' preparation for getting into work.
"If they test postive at the beginning of the two weeks, give them a couple of weeks to clean up and get it out of their system."
He said most employers took a responsible attitude and were entitled to have a safe workplace and drug-free staff.
Mr English had been responding to the latest migration figures, which show a record run of people coming to New Zealand to live or visit in the year to January.
Mr Little said the more than 42,000 coming into New Zealand ... on work visas will not all be filling the skills gap that could not be filled in New Zealand.
"Some of those will be people doing work that New Zealanders are fit for and can do."