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Government moves to decriminalise drugs

Simon Bridges - Leader of the Opposition

13 December 2018

The Government has moved towards the decriminalisation of drugs without thinking the policy through or allowing for a proper debate, National Party Leader Simon Bridges says.

“National supports both greater rehabilitation and tougher sentences. Treatment and deterrence should go hand in hand.

“But in an ill-thought through surprise move, the Misuse of Drugs Act will be amended to give Police more leniency when dealing with people buying and using hard drugs including P, heroin and cocaine.

“This is mickey-mouse policy made on the hoof.

“Decriminalising the possession and use of hard drugs is a serious decision and should be up for serious discussion and debate. But the Government is hiding from that scrutiny and sending mixed messages to the public.

“It says it’s putting the decriminalisation of cannabis to the public in a referendum yet at the same time it’s telling Police to use their discretion when it comes to prosecuting users of P and heroin.

“If the Government wants to decriminalise drugs it should try and win the support of Parliament and the public, not simply skirt the process by instructing Police to avoid the law. Instead it’s outsourcing the responsibility for serious decisions on drugs to Police.

“National supports tougher penalties for those dealing the worst synthetic drugs and greater search and seizure powers for Police. But there are so many other holes in this policy.

“When it comes to synthetic drugs, only two strands will be recognised as Class A. We know that those producing these deadly drugs will quickly change the recipe to get around the law and continue selling these drugs which have killed more than 50 people in the past year.

“National consistently increased investment in rehabilitation and pledged $40 million more over four years for drug treatment and education services during the election campaign, including an additional 1,500 treatment beds. We also pledged to clamp down on crime.

“National will fight for safer communities and ensure these issues get the scrutiny they deserve.”


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