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Greens shooting from the lip

Hon Jim Anderton

Member of Parliament for Wigram
Progressive Leader

20 February 2008 Media Statement

Greens shooting from the lip

Associate Minister of Health Jim Anderton says that Green Party Associate Health spokesperson Metiria Turei should check her facts and engage her brain before she pens press releases.

“She accuses me of not giving priority to New Zealand’s drug policy because I am not attending the 2008 Parliamentary Drug Policy Roundtable being held in Wellington today.

“As it happens I met last night for over an hour with two of the distinguished keynote speakers: Professor David Nutt, who is an internationally renowned psychiatrist and pharmacologist and head of the Department of Community Based Medicine at Bristol University; Associate Professor Alison Ritter, who is an Associate Professor at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre in Melbourne and Vice President of the Australian Professional Society on Alcohol and Drugs.

“They expressed admiration for our evidence-based policies and for our reclassification processes.

“On Friday I will be meeting with the other two international guests attending the roundtable: Michael Perron. Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, and Gabor Somogyi, Associate of the Beckley Foundation Drug Policy Programme and coordinator of much of the work of the global network, the International Drug Policy Consortium.

“I should also like to point out to Ms Turei that, although I have been unable to attend the roundtable today because of the need to attend Cabinet Committee meetings (which I explained to the keynote speakers) members of the New Zealand Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD) and senior health officials are at the roundtable. These are people who report directly to me,” Jim Anderton said.

“Neither I nor this government lack commitment to provide New Zealand with the best possible drug policy. If the Greens spent more time checking up on their facts and less time firing off incorrect and insubstantial press release, they would be able to make a stronger contribution to this important area of public policy.”


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