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United hypocritical and ill-informed on drugs

9 June 2005

United hypocritical and ill-informed on drugs

Green Party Drug Law Reform Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos said United's drugs policy, released today, exposed the party's ill-informed thinking in this area.

"They call for the regular review of drug classifications to make sure they accurately reflect the evidence, but would only allow the evidence to be followed if it means harsher punishment," Nandor said.

"What happened to evidence-based policy making?"

Nandor said that this disregard of evidence was reflected in the unwillingness of Peter Dunne to publicly debate drug policy issues when challenged to do so.

"Mr Dunne must think drugs are important because he's now developed a policy on them, but he's unwilling to front up and debate the issues."

Nandor also accused United Future of hypocrisy on drugs.

"I'm disappointed that United's policy largely ignores the two drugs causing the most harm in New Zealand, alcohol and tobacco," Nandor said.

"United Future is well known for opposing any restrictions on alcohol or tobacco while scapegoating cannabis. This policy just reinforces their hypocrisy on this issue."

However, Nandor congratulated United Future for being the second parliamentary party to develop a drugs policy and welcomed their adoption of a number of Green proposals.

"Drug law is an important political issue and we are pleased that United have joined the Greens in formulating policy in this area," Nandor said "At the moment, it seems like all other parties are prepared to leave drugs in the 'too hard basket'. We may disagree on what New Zealand's drug regime should be, but at least United and the Greens both give the issue the attention it deserves.

"Some of the ideas in United's policy, such as drug education for those caught with illegal drugs, and incorporating drug treatment into sentencing, were suggested by the Greens when we launched our 'integrated drug strategy' last year," Nandor said. "We are pleased to see United Future pick them up."

ENDS

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