Bill to crack down on synthetics passes
New Zealand First has welcomed the passage of legislation to tackle the escalating issue of synthetic drug use.
The Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill is a core component of the Government’s response to the crisis of synthetic drug abuse in New Zealand, which was initiated in 2018 by the then Acting Prime Minister Rt Hon Winston Peters.
The Bill shifts two key synthetics into the Class A drug category and creates a temporary category, C1, allowing new drugs to be easily brought in under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
“Over the past decade, synthetic drugs have haunted this country because of flawed legislation brought in under the last National government, costing hundreds of lives,” says Darroch Ball, New Zealand First Spokesperson for Law and Order.
“The new law gives police greater powers of search and seizure, and the courts serious sentencing options - up to life imprisonment.
“The law also codifies the discretion police can use in deciding whether to prosecute offenders or refer them for treatment and therapy, if such an approach is in the public interest. It is backed by funding of $16.6 million to boost community addiction treatment services.
New Zealand First negotiated an amendment to the Bill to give police greater clarity as to whether or not to prosecute offenders, ensuring the police can continue to prevent harm and keep communities safe.
“Instead of virtue-signalling by proposing minor tinkering to the law like the National Party, we’re taking strong action to disrupt supply and support those in the throes of addiction,” says Mr Ball.