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Another Gaff From The Prime Minister

MEDIA RELEASE

7 May 2000

Gael Donoghue
Health Spokesperson

ANOTHER GAFF FROM THE PRIME MINISTER

Christian Heritage Party Health Spokesperson Gael Donoghue says she takes issue with Helen Clark’s remarks made in response to Auckland Coroner Frankovich’s ‘warning politicians to think again before decriminalising cannabis’. Ms Clark said the coroner’s comments were illogical and unhelpful in the cannabis debate. Mr Frankovich made the comments when finding a well known Northland surfer died from a huge overdose of ecstasy – another illegal drug. “Ms Clark is wading into situations taking on professionals and specialists as though she knows it all,” says Mrs Donoghue. “I suggest she does not have the expertise of Mr Frankovich. His suggestion that some of our ‘pro-marijuana decriminalisation’ parliamentarians might revise their thinking on this matter if they were to attend a few inquests and see the damage drugs cause, should be applauded. “Ms Clark and Nandor Tanczos should be the first to take up his suggestion,” Mrs Donoghue added.

“Ms Clark should also listen to the Secondary School Principals who are angry about the increase in cannabis use by pupils since Tanczos started his campaign. They believe decriminalisation will lead to even greater use. Their Chairman Mr Brent Lewis said when politicians began saying they favour decriminalisation, it took drug taking from the realm of being illegal to something legal, changing the youngsters’ perception of it.
- 2 -

Road Safety researcher John Bailey issued figures showing again the involvement of cannabis with road crashes – 1995 – 1997. The blood of 35% of those affected by alcohol also contained tetrahydrocannibol, the active ingredient of cannabis.

As a past Health Minister Ms Clark has made her views clear on the health damage of cigarette smoking. It is mystifying that the same person favours decriminalisation of the C Class controlled drug cannabis which has scientifically documented detrimental psychological, physiological and toxic/carcinogenic effects.

I suggest the Prime Minister listens to the collective wisdom and experience of professionals, health specialists, coroners, school principals, researchers, etc, on the serious and escalating problems of drug abuse in our country before making legislative decisions which will have major implications for our society,” concluded Mrs Donoghue.

The Christian Heritage Party is totally opposed to the legalisation of illicit drugs, including cannabis.


Contact: Mrs Gael Donoghue on (06) 347 6000 or (025) 514 980
Party Leader Graham Capill (021) 661 766


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