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Government fails to slow speed, says Nandor

Government fails to slow speed, says Nandor

Green MP Nandor Tanczos has criticised the latest Government move to reclassify methamphetamine as a class A drug.

"There is no doubt that speed - especially 'P' or crystal methamphetamine - is a menace. We need to take urgent action, but simply changing the penalty won't do it. It's just a sop to make it look like the Government is doing something," said Nandor.

"Research has shown that it is not the penalty that is the greatest deterrent, but the likelihood of being caught. These changes will not catch more people making the stuff, they will just slightly increase the sentence if they ever get caught."

Reclassifying methamphetamine from the second schedule (B) to the first schedule (A) will increase maximum penalties for possession from three months prison and / or $500 fine to six months and / or $1000. Maximum penalties for manufacture, importation or supply increase from 14 years to life. Conspiracy to commit an offence will attract a maximum of 14 years, up from 10.

"We need to get our priorities right. Police waste more than a quarter of a million hours a year on cannabis offences - mostly adults for personal use - at a cost of more than $20 million. This is more than on all other drugs combined. If those officers were targeting the manufacture of speed, it might actually do some good."

Nandor said he agreed with comments from Jim Anderton today that we should target the dealers and producers of speed and help treat people who use it.

"But this reclassification will do nothing to achieve either of those aims. No more speed labs will be busted as a result, and no new treatment facilities will open. It is just window dressing.

"I have warned the Government a number of times in the past that New Zealand faces an epidemic of 'P' if we do not target our resources more effectively. Crystal methamphetamine is causing very real problems in all sections of the community.

"This move is a lame arse response to that warning."

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