Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Dunne Speaks - Psychoactive Substances Act

Dunne Speaks


9 May 2014

Among the many extraordinary Parliamentary events this week was the surge of moral hysteria and sanctimony that accompanied the passage of two very simple amendments to the Psychoactive Substances Act.

To recap: I recommended to the Cabinet just over two weeks ago that the interim approvals for some 41 substances be withdrawn because of questions being raised about the level of risk associated with them, and I further recommended to the Prime Minister last weekend that we take the opportunity to make it clear in the legislation that we would not be requiring animal testing as part of the new regulatory regime for the approval of psychoactive substances.

These two simple decisions – which in reality extend the scope of, rather than diminish – the provisions of the Psychoactive Substances Act have been widely portrayed as a ban by any other name on these substances. Politicians, media, and local authority leaders have clambered over each other to be loudest in what can only be described as the shout of wilful ignorance. And, as the promoter of both the substantive legislation and this week’s amendments, I have been pilloried for my consistent comments, to which I hold, that bans on these substances do not work, and that a better regulatory framework is what is needed. And that is exactly what I have delivered – not once, but twice now.

By now, the remaining psychoactive substances should be off the shelves, pending submission by their manufacturers to the regulatory authority in due course for approval as low-risk. But will the moral panic die? Probably not. The black market and stockpiled products mean a number of the substances will still be around for a while, and then there is always the prospect of at least some of the current products returning to the market, after they have been through the regulatory process. And that is not to mention the strong likelihood that other psychoactive synthetic compounds, not yet known, will be developed, and will pose the same regulatory challenges that led to the development of the Psychoactive Substances Act.

All of which raises the need for calm heads, not grandstanding local and national politicians seeking to make short term capital, as we work our way through the issues. It may be beyond the ability of some of them to comprehend, but this is a far bigger issue than just synthetic cannabis, and my focus has always been on a establishing a viable, future proofed regulatory regime, as I have done. Yes, in retrospect the original legislation last year probably should not have included interim product approvals, and all known products should have been required to be submitted for testing at that time. In the less frenzied atmosphere then, without a pending general election, that would have been a logical outcome of the move to a regulated market, and no-one would have seriously called it a ban. But that was then, and this is now. So, if a week in politics is a long time, a year is an absolute eternity!

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Wage Hike For MPs (and Paul Robeson)

Hard to tell what is more infuriating. Is it the 5.3% increase on the already bloated salaries of MPs, or their pantomime of outrage at being gifted with such a wonderful back-dated bonanza?

As usual, Prime Minister John Key has busily tried to distance himself from the political fallout, even though he happens to be the main beneficiary of the Remuneration Authority’s generosity. Finance Minister Bill English says with a straight face that it would actually be very hard to give the money back...

Even if it were true, it would actually be very easy for English and any other guilty colleagues, to give the extra money away. There are any number of food banks or homeless shelters who would be able to put the money to good use. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

No Designers Or Visual Artists: Flag Panel Members Announced

The Government has appointed 12 New Zealanders as members of the Flag Consideration Panel which will engage with the public about a possible new New Zealand flag, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says. More>>

ALSO:

Labour MP Stands Down From Portfolio: Comment From Carmel Sepuloni

The first I knew of my mother’s charges was when I was called by a reporter yesterday. I spoke to Andrew and we agreed there is a conflict of interest at the present time which means I will temporarily stand aside from the Social Development portfolio. It’s the right thing to do… . More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Whether NZ Troops Are The Least Of Islamic State’s Problems

Given that it has been politically packaged and sold as a training mission, the Iraq deployment announced yesterday by Prime Minister John Key seemed to be mysteriously short of actual trainers... The other wing of the argument is whether a troop deployment is (a) the only effective way and (b) the appropriate time to combat Islamic State. More>>

ALSO:

143 Troops, Possible SAS Deployment, Legalities Unsorted: PM’s Statement On ISIL

Mr Speaker, today I am announcing to the House the Government’s decisions about our contribution to the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL... More>>

ALSO:

Liu Saga: PM's Dinner With Controversial Donor

John Key must front up to New Zealand and say what he discussed with Donghua Liu when the disgraced businessman paid $25,000 for the Prime Minister to come to dinner at his Remuera home, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Roads: National MP 'Concerned' At Overseas Driver Crashes

Waitaki MP and Parliamentary Private Secretary for Tourism Jacqui Dean said she was concerned at the number of fatal crashes involving overseas licence holders and she really felt that the time had come for more to be done. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: Parole Bill Passes

A bill reducing parole hearings deemed to be unnecessary has passed. The third reading of the Parole Amendment Bill was completed by 104 to 16 with the Greens and Maori Party opposed. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news