Youth Minister’s Cannabis Talk Unwise And Untimely
National Education Spokesperson
25 January 2001
National’s Education spokesperson Nick Smith today joined concerned teachers, principals and parents in condemning the Youth Affairs Minister’s comments over softening cannabis laws.
“Three quarters of a million students go back to school next week and it’s an outrage that the Government looks set to spend another school year telling students that cannabis is okay.
“What’s most alarming, is that by moving well beyond the argument of instant fines to one of decriminalisation, Laila Harre has moved Government’s position significantly.
“How can schools and parents take a firm line on drugs when high profile Government Ministers are all talking soft on drugs?
“It is most disturbing that the Prime Minister, the Minister of Health, the Minister of Education, and now the Minister supposedly responsible for young people’s well-being, are all putting their weight behind Nandor’s cause.
“The Government must take heed of what parents and schools are repeatedly saying. Students too are outraged over the mixed messages this Government continues to send out. Let’s not forget that teenagers involved in Youth Parliament last year overwhelmingly rejected a ‘bill’ to decriminalise cannabis use.
“The Government must start this school year by pledging to put young people and their education to the fore. Soft talk on drugs and decriminalisation must be taken off the agenda once and for all,” Nick Smith said.