Mana Party leader Hone Harawira has called for John Key to test his Cabinet for drugs and alcohol before picking on welfare beneficiaries.

"With due respect to beneficiaries an alcohol or drug impaired minister is in a position to do a lot more serious damage than a beneficiary smoking a joint,'' Mr Harawira said.

"Yet Mr Key would see attacking beneficiaries as his priority. It just shows how desperate he is becoming to drum up redneck support.

"But to use beneficiaries who are already under huge pressure as a `whipping boy' shows how low he is prepared to go in his attempt to hang onto power.''


Among moves announced in National's welfare policy yesterday, jobseekers who do not apply for a job because they're asked to take a drug test, or who fail pre-employment drug tests will face having their benefit cancelled, as will benefit recipients on the run from the police.

Mr Harawira said Mr Key's suggestion to take away beneficiaries' payments because of testing by a third party showed how far the Government would go with its attack on beneficiaries.

"The next thing I suspect is that he will be proposing taking beneficiaries' DNA on the grounds that he needs to identify them.

Mr Harawira said the inconsistency of Mr Key "getting in a fit'' that his rights might have been infringed when his public conversation was recorded but not caring for beneficiaries' rights must be clear for all to see.