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National Party grandstanding on ‘P’ – Sharples

National Party grandstanding on ‘P’ – Sharples
Dr Pita Sharples, Maori Party Co-leader


Maori Party Co-leader Dr Pita Sharples has accused National’s leader John Key of grandstanding on ‘P’, with his call for a tougher line on gangs involved in drug dealing.

“Over the past year or more, the police have been much more proactive against gangs dealing in ‘P’. Only last week I publicly congratulated the police in South Auckland for their successful operation to disrupt a ‘P’ ring involving two gangs,” said Dr Sharples. “And there have been other high-profile police campaigns targeting P in Northland, Porirua, Rotorua and Tauranga this year”.

“The Maori Party has always said that where gangs are clearly involved in any sort of crime, including the P trade, then crack down on them by all means.

“With whanau and communities everywhere ravaged by ‘P’, we would obviously welcome a focus on the ‘P’ trade - whether it involves are a gang or not. We know that not all P dealers belong to gangs, of course, and not all gangs are involved in the P trade,” he said.

“The key point in all this is that the police must target the crime - not the patch. That is what they have been doing very successfully, I would say.

“John Key, on the other hand, seems to be deliberately confusing the two issues, drugs and gangs, for political point-scoring.

“His proposals for making gang membership a crime, and an aggravating factor in sentencing, could create legal loopholes around the definition of a gang, for example. That is why it is better to focus on the crime, not the gang patch.

“P addiction can often lead to violence and desperate behaviour. So while we are targeting the crime and the offenders, we must also put in place measures to support families as they suffer the consequences of this drug.”

“The Maori Party is calling for a far stronger interagency approach to stamping out P, which includes cracking down on transnational drug trafficking syndicates, education and prevention strategies, working with families and health and social service providers, as well as drug enforcement and surveillance,” said Dr Sharples.


ENDS

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