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To recap: I recommended to the Cabinet just over two weeks ago that the interim approvals for some 41 substances be withdrawn because of questions being raised about the level of risk associated with them, and I further recommended to the Prime Minister last weekend that we take the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

Transport: Auckland Looks To Light Rail

The Board of Auckland Transport has called for an investigation into a light rail network, which could relieve traffic congestion on some of the region’s busiest roads.

This stems from work in 2012 (the City Centre Future Access study) which responded to a government request to develop a robust and achievable solution for access to the CBD.

That showed that the City Rail Link, together with surface bus improvement, provided the best regional solution. However, it also identified that the city centre is already facing serious congestion across all major road entry points which, if not addressed now, will worsen. More>>

 

RMA: Smith's Claims Don't Match Evidence - Greens

The Motu group’s research into the impacts of planning rules looked at the costs related to housing development but not the benefits of environmental protections and does not recommend significant changes to the RMA to reduce the cost of new house builds. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Similarities Between John Key And David Cameron

For years now, David Cameron has been the closest available thing to a mentor/analogue to our Prime Minister, such that Key watchers could be interested in an analysis of Cameron that appeared in the British press over the Christmas break. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Ian Fletcher Resignation & GCSB’s New Role

It may well be that after being shoulder-tapped in Queensland for the GCSB job, three years of living in Wellington has been enough for Fletcher and his family, given that the pending review of the GCSB would have required an even longer commitment from him. Three years of Wellington’s weather is enough for anyone... More>>

ALSO:

Ian Apperley: $10m Or $100m For New Wellington Council IT System?

I feel a Tui Billboard coming on. I commented the other day that it looked like the Council’s Ninth big project was a potential $100 million plus... The Mayor has responded: “I am reassured by the Chief Executive and by Anthony Wilson that the proposed budget is in the region of $10 million.” More>>

ALSO:

Southern Ocean:
Navy Intercepts Illegal Fishing Vessels

Foreign Minister Murray McCully today put illegal fishing vessels operating in the Southern Ocean on notice and vowed to take action against their owners. “As part of a multi-agency operation, the HMNZS WELLINGTON has intercepted two vessels claiming to be flagged to Equatorial Guinea, fishing illegally in the Southern Ocean.” Mr McCully says. More>>

ALSO:

Kiwi Pride: New Zealand Takes UN Security Council Seat

“New Zealand’s term on the Security Council will place us at the heart of international decision-making for the next two years,” Mr McCully says. More>>

Greens: CAA Airport Door Report Conflicts With Brownlee’s Claims

The heavily redacted report into the incident shows conflicting versions of events as told by Gerry Brownlee and the Christchurch airport security staff. The report disputes Brownlee’s claim that he was allowed through, and states that he instead pushed his way through. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news