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Anderton: BZP decision-making process

20 December 2006

Anderton responds to attacks on BZP decision-making process

Jim Anderton, Associate Minister of Health and Leader of the Progressive Party, responded today to continued accusations by National MP Jacquie Dean and others that he is taking too long to make a decision on whether or not to recommend that Parliament ban BZP 'party pills'.

“These people say that New Zealand youth need immediate protection from these pills, but I seriously question their credibility when you look at their track record."

Mr Anderton said he had had little support from the National party when he fast-tracked legislation through Parliament to ensure immediate R18 restriction around BZP.

"I had even less support when a measure that would have made a real difference to protecting our youth was before them in the House this year. That measure was the Progressive members bill that aimed to raise the purchasing age for alcohol to 20 years. It was voted down 72-49."

"MPs like National MP Jacquie Dean, who continually calls on me to act, should look at her own inaction and that of her colleagues. She had a chance to make a difference. Instead she was one of those who voted against the bill," Jim Anderton said.

After tobacco, alcohol is the number one drug that harms New Zealand's youth. "We should not forget that. Unfortunately the holiday season will be rife with stories that will make sure we don’t."

With respect to BZP, he added "I do not intend to get my decision wrong by acting outside the law which Parliament has made. I will release my decision as soon as I reasonably can, once I have considered all the relevant evidence, advice and views required under the Misuse of Drugs legislation and principles of administrative law," Mr Anderton said. "Others like Jacquie Dean may have the luxury of pretending they are above the law but as a Minister of the Crown, I do not."

ENDS

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