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Dunne: legal highs bill to be even faster-tracked

Hon Peter Dunne
Associate Minister of Health

23 May 2013

Dunne: legal highs bill to be even faster-tracked

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne wants to push the Psychoactive Substances Bill through Parliament faster than planned when it returns from the select committee in mid-June, with the aim of having the legislation in place in July.

“As I have said, we need to get this law right. It is about the health of young New Zealanders using legal highs, and it is world-leading legislation. No one else has done anything like it,” Mr Dunne said.

“What we are looking to do is make the legal highs industry prove their products are safe and make sure they bear the cost of the testing process, not the taxpayer.

“The bill is currently before the Health Select Committee in an already truncated process. Usually that lasts up to six months, but it will have been well under two months when it is reported back to Parliament on 14 June.

“Given the importance of this legislation, I have had talks with the Prime Minister, John Key, and the Leader of the House, Gerry Brownlee, about even further fast-tracking the legislative process.

“The bill will now get its second reading on Thursday 27 June, and then move through the final stages into law in July.

“In the meantime, I will be taking it up with Parliament’s Business Committee and other political parties to see if the process can be even further accelerated,” Mr Dunne said.

“It is complicated legislation and we need to get it right and leave no loopholes for this industry, but we were already pushing this legislation quickly and it is now getting quicker.

“We are fully aware of the concerns of New Zealanders around these products and this industry,” he said.

The legislation needs to be in place by August 13 to take over from the Temporary Class Drug Notice regime, which currently bans 35 legal high substances, the first of which will expire on that day.

ENDS

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