Legislation to strip beneficiaries of their welfare payments if they miss out on jobs because they won't take a drug test, or fail one, could be introduced to parliament as soon as next month, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says.
She's preparing to implement National's election campaign policy and says final details are being worked out.
Under current law there are no penalties for beneficiaries who don't get jobs because they won't take a drug test, or if they take one and fail.
Under the new law if they say they won't take a drug test for an employer they will be told to come back in two weeks and take it then - and if they don't their benefit will be cut.
"We have employers who constantly tell us they would take employees if they could pass it," Ms Bennett said on RadioLive on Monday.
She expects to have the bill ready next month or in September.
Ms Bennett says Finance Minister Bill English was right when he said on Sunday there were many jobs available in his electorate in the forestry and meat industries, but they often couldn't employ locals because they couldn't pass drug tests.
"Back in the election campaign we made a commitment to have a policy where people who are meant to be available for work should be in the position where they can pass a drug test," he said.
Labour's social development spokeswoman, Jacinda Ardern, says it's the wrong approach.
"What we need to do is make sure we're working with drug and alcohol programmes to ensure that person is able to be employed," she said.