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Dunne blamed for kids on cannabis


29 August 2002

Dunne blamed for kids on cannabis

Green MP Nandor Tanczos today said Peter Dunne must take full responsibility for children continuing to access and use cannabis as a result of blocking the introduction of legislation which would reduce children's access to cannabis.

"Right now cannabis is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, anywhere in New Zealand, to anyone with twenty bucks, regardless of age. Under the laws that Mr Dunne is now so staunchly protecting nothing is going to change."

In response to the United Future / Labour agreement not to address New Zealand's cannabis problem Nandor has said he will introduce a private members bill. The bill will set an age limit of 18 for possession of cannabis, allow adults to grow small amounts for personal use, and instead focus police resources on people supplying cannabis to kids.

"Peter Dunne has publicly admitted that the cannabis law is failing. Yet he is now directly responsible for keeping this law - and all its effects - in place. He must now take responsibility for the consequences."

In Peter Dunne's submission to the Select Committee Inquiry into Cannabis during the last parliament he acknowledged the cannabis laws were failing and said he would like a system whereby young people caught with cannabis were given treatment and education rather than criminal convictions.

"That was not very far from where the Greens are at. It was a pretty cynical move to turn his back on the truth at the last minute because it suited his election campaign," said Nandor.

"The Prime Minister, key Ministers, the Greens, members of the Government and the opposition - and Peter Dunne himself - have all acknowledged the failure of the cannabis laws and have previously expressed the will to find a better way. That was why the Select Committee inquiry into cannabis was established.

"However at the insistence of Peter Dunne this government is set to pre-empt that inquiry, and ignore its responsibility to pass laws for the good of all New Zealanders, in favour of cheap political point scoring."

Nandor said Peter Dunne's approach to cannabis showed the same lack of regard as his approach to tobacco and alcohol. His record in parliament showed that he had voted against raising the age limit on tobacco to 18 in 1997, and voted for lowering the age limit on alcohol from 21 to 18 years in 1999.

"Peter Dunne supported increased access to cigarettes and booze for young people. He is now trying to stop us reducing young peoples' access to cannabis."

ENDS

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