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Day six: Nandor's silence wilful and perplexing

Monday, 25 July 2005

Day six: Nandor's silence wilful and perplexing

United Future leader Peter Dunne today said that he was "utterly perplexed" that the Greens' Nandor Tanczos continued to refuse to specifically answer questions on highly reputable scientific findings that clearly that challenge his ongoing campaign to legalise cannabis.

"I simply don't get why a parliamentarian would take such a public head-in-the-sand stance. It moves beyond anything that's reasonable and says 'I will not even bring these facts into my thinking and let them inform my position'.

"The unfortunate result of such wilful blindness can only ever be bad law. And that is exactly what Nandor wants to inflict on New Zealanders - and this evidence that he chooses to ignore shows that it will be at a massive cost to the health and well being of young New Zealanders and their families.

"He demonstrates day by day that he is unwilling or unable to answer these questions. They remain before him and they are not going away," Mr Dunne said.

"So again I ask ..."

"If he is going to construct a Member's Bill with one goal and one goal only, to makes drugs more acceptable, then it is time for him to front up and answer some tough questions.

"I want the Greens - these weird people who promote psychoactive drugs and yet are horrified by a GE spud - to actually have the integrity to face up to the evidence that says that cannabis is anything but a harmless drug.

"I want Nandor to address issues like the Swedish study that shows that cannabis use in those under 18 increases the rate of schizophrenia by 600 percent, and trebles the risk of general mental illness.

"I want Nandor to tell New Zealanders why he thinks it is a good idea to legalise this drug when Professor Robin Murray of London's Institute of Psychiatry reports that some 90% of his patients showing a first episode of psychosis smoke cannabis?

And while he's at it, he can comment on these studies:

* A University of Maastricht study confirming anecdotal evidence that cannabis use can treble the risk of mental illness, and confirming that cannabis causes serious psychotic disorders in people with no history of mental illness * A Karonlinska Institute (Sweden) 15-year longitudinal study of some 50,000 military conscripts that showed that the higher the consumption of cannabis in adolescence, the greater the risk of schizophrenia. * A 15-year study of 1920 Americans which showed the cannabis use increased the rate of major depression by 400%

Or perhaps, if he wants something closer to home, he could talk to Dr Anne Walsh, the Hawke's Bay Clinical Director of Mental Health, who revealed last year that most of the patients in the Hawke's Bay mental health unit suffering severe psychiatric illness were cannabis users.

"Or would he prefer to comment on this year's Canterbury University study that shows that daily cannabis use almost doubles the risk of psychotic illness?"

"Let me make it very clear. The cannabis of today is far stronger than that of the 60s, 70s and 80s. It is a serious psychoactive drug and it is being actively promoted by the Greens.

"And I make one last point on the Greens and drugs: They were the only party that opposed the drug P being made a Class A drug. I think that about says it all.

"They are the pro-drug party and, as such, they are dangerous to the health and well-being of young New Zealanders; they are destructive of families," Mr Dunne said.

ENDS

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