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Advisory: Hemp Working Party To Be Re-Established

ADVISORY: HEMP WORKING PARTY TO BE RE-ESTABLISHED

Below is a message forwarded from Mac MacIntosh, Chairman of the NZ Hemp Industries Association, that includes a letter from the Minister of Customs advising that a working party will be convened to look into getting a New Zealand hemp industry off the ground.

The working party, comprising representatives of the Ministry of Health, Police, Customs, Agriculture, Federated Farmers and the Hemp Industry, was one of the recommendations of a report by Bob Boyd of the Ministry of Health in September 1997. The other recommendation was to start to consider applications to grow hemp in New Zealand, and to use the working party to determine any conditions that would need to be met to approve licence applications.

The working party has had only one meeting, and now new Minister of Customs Phillida Bunkle has advised that it will be re-established in order to complete the process. Hopefully this will mean that we can have our first hemp trial crops in the ground by September this year.

The Hemp Store's parent company, Tasman Hemp Corporation, will be applying later this year, once the working party has reported back, to grow industrial hemp in New Zealand. We hope that by doing so we can capitalise on the many environmental and economic benefits of locally-grown industrial hemp.

For more information, please contact:

Chris Fowlie 09 302-5255 or 025 297 6843
The Hempstore / Tasman Hemp Corporation
Mac MacIntosh 04 938 4879 NZ Hemp Industries Association http://www.hemp.co.nz/nzhia

Office of the Hon Phillida Bunkle

Minister of Customs.The Beehive. WELLINGTON. NZ
Minister of Consumer Affairs
Associate Minister of Economic Development
Associate Minister for the Environment.
Associate Minister for Womens Affairs

17 Jan 20000

DJ MCINTOSH
Chair
New Zealand Hemp Industries Association Inc
PO Box 3158
Richmond
Nelson

Dear Mr Mcintosh

I have received from the New Zealand Customs Service a detailed report that explains the structure and purpose of the National Drugs Intelligence Bureau (NDIB) and details the position of the Customs Service in relation to Industrial Hemp.

The NDIB was established in 1972 by the Police, Customs and Health Departments as an Intelligence Bureau to record, disseminate and analyse all information relating to the illicit drug traffic obtained through various sources within New Zealand and overseas.

The NDIB is managed by a Board of Control compromising of the Chief Executive Officers of the three parties.

The composition of the bureau means that any amendments to the structure or role of the NDIB requires the agreement of the three agencies and that any product of the NDIB is the considered product of the three agencies.

The "NDIB 10 point paper" that you refer to has been bought to my attention, and I am aware that in February 1998 there was an initial meeting of a working party on Industrial Hemp. It would appear that the "working party" has not been reconvened again.

Detective Sergeant Porter, previously a Police representative at the NDIB was nominated as the Police spokesperson for Industrial Hemp and as a consequence provided statements from the NDIB.

Detective Sergeant Porter has advised that it has been made clear that the Police would remain firm on their stance until the Hemp Association or any other interested party could satisfy them that the concerns raised as issues could and would be overcome. Detective Sergeant Porter advised that as at 30 December 1999 he had not heard from any representative of the Hemp Association in an attempt to provide input into the issues.

It appears from your letter that you do not share this view.

By way of establishing a forum to provide opportunities to resolve differing opinions on Industrial Hemp I have approved the New Zealand Customs Service to facilitate the re-establishment of the working party. It has been recommended that the working party once again be chaired and co -ordinated by the Ministry of Health.

The position of the Customs Service on Industrial Hemp developed through involvement in the NDIB, is consistent with that of the Police. This position has developed as new information becomes available and possibly explains why you were originally told that Customs had "no problems regarding Industrial Hemp" but "now supported the Police position."

I trust that you approve of the re-establishment of the working party and look forward to your valuable input into that forum.

Yours Sincerely
Hon Phillida Bunkle.
Minister of Customs.

ENDS

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