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Address to CAYAD First National Hui - Anderton

Hon Jim Anderton - Address to CAYAD First National Hui

Address to the first national Community Action on Youth And Drugs (CAYAD project) hui, at Sorrento in the Park, Auckland.

Kia ora and greetings.

Many thanks for inviting me to be here today.

I have looked forward to meeting you all in person and extend a warm welcome to you in joining the Community Action on Youth & Drugs project to combat illicit drug use.

The Labour Progressive government's war against drugs is multifaceted. At one level, we are aiming to reduce supply by toughening up the penalties on the peddlers of dangerous drugs and their precursors.

At another level, we are increasing treatment services to reduce the harm drugs cause.

And at a third level it is a campaign aimed at reducing the demand for drugs and that, of course, is where these community programmes come in.

The CAYAD project initially started in the late 1990s with 5 sites.

Based on the success of those sites, the Progressive Party sought support for new funding to enable the coalition government to establish further sites around the country.

I was very proud in April last year to announce funding to enable the establishment of a further 15 CAYAD sites.

A range of various data sources were used to select the CAYAD sites, including Police apprehension statistics, information from treatment centres, school drug suspension and stand-down statistics and Ministry of Social Development data on social deprivation and youth unemployment statistics.

Last month, I announced in the Beehive the locations and providers of 14 of the 15 sites.

Today, I would like to welcome the remaining site which is to be based in Helensville and managed by the Maori Health Services arm of the Waitemata District Health Board.

Each of your communities were selected for a variety of reasons to be a part of the CAYAD initiative and it's wonderful that you as providers have put up your hands so enthusiastically to be a part of the project.

The cohesion and well-being of our communities are vulnerable to the corrosive effects of drug misuse and the misery it causes.

The impact ranges from the nuisance and anti-social behaviour associated with drug dealing and the activities of those under the influence of drugs.

Drug problems are most serious in those communities where social exclusion is acute and where people lack the will or the resources to control or manage drug problems.

The CAYAD project focuses on strengthening communities.

This is not only through action aimed at reducing drug-related crime and supply but also through community development.

Community development is about building active and sustainable communities based on social justice and mutual respect.

It is about changing power structures to remove the barriers that prevent people from participating in the issues that affect their lives.

Drug use is a community development issue.

Drugs affect whole communities - the parents of users, users themselves, those whom some users offend against, schools, local business and just about everyone involved in local community life.

Drug use and deprivation are closely linked and problems are most acute in communities with little community infrastructure or social capital.

Many people in those communities affected most severely by drugs feel dis-empowered and unable to take on the challenges needed to address these issues.

However, where effective community grass roots associations can take root, a real momentum for change can be achieved.

To tackle drug use, New Zealand as a country needs to be supported by the development of strong communities such as yours.

As this year progresses I will be visiting various communities throughout New Zealand to see what is happening in each area and would welcome the opportunity to meet with you at 'your place' to discuss your progress.

I did recently visit Huntly and met with the provider there. I found the visit very informative.

Please keep the national coordinator and Ministry of Health staff informed of any major events being held in your community with relation to CAYAD. I intend having an active role in this project and give it my full support.

I certainly hope to meet with you all over the coming year.

Finally, I would like to give a warm thank-you to all the staff at SHORE and the Ministry of Health who have organised this hui for us.

I know that you will come away from it with a deepened understanding of the CAYAD project.

I look forward to working with many or all of you this year. Your work is critical to our social as well as our economic development and I thank you as a New Zealander for what you are doing to make our Nation stronger.

Thank you.

ENDS

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