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Come on, Helen - get with the Program: Mild Greens

Election Review: 29/7/2 MILD GREENS

Come on, Helen - get with the Program: Mild Greens

"I say it is time to revisit our current policy on marijuana, and to implement more appropriate and effective policy"
- Helen Clark (Hamilton, 1994).

The Green Party will need to 'sharpen up' on cannabis if they are to retain strength and credibility in the new Parliament, say the Mild Greens - starting this week as negotiations and trade-offs commence with the freshly re-elected Labour minority coalition.

Weak and uninspired advocacy during the last parliamentary term failed to convince the electorate that the Green's cannabis reform policy was such a good idea after all. The outcome is only a marginal improvement in Green voter support from 1999 - versus a retrenching of prohibitionist confidence particularly in the United Future party.

United Future leader Peter Dunne was in the right place at the right time to score a king hit on the Greens while they languished on the back foot on cannabis pre-election.

Reform minded MPs have missed opportunity after opportunity during the last electoral term - and election campaign - failing to score easy points on health promotion, social justice, community safety, law and order, fiscal responsibility, electoral reform and good governance (to name just a few core cannabis-related issues…)

Meanwhile, Centre-Right voters bitter over the National Party's moral defeat on prohibition last election, found new hope in Peter Dunne's right jab during the worm debate. Dunne took out this round of the fight- with a single "bigot capturing" sound byte proving an instant winner: "Parliament must resolve the debate decisively - once and for all against decriminalisation".

"Dunne was lucky his call escaped the context of an open public debate - which the (deliberately stalled) select committee inquiry should have progressed," say the Mild Greens. Had Mr Dunne's timing and content been as poor as Jenny Shipley's in the '99 election, he would be a very lonely MP once more, instead of bringing in an unprecedented 8 MPs from out of the Blue.

Dunne's success thanks to cannabis, can only be seen as wake up call to the Greens, and centre-left social equity values ("Comprendez vous, Helen Clark??").

So as the two "balance of power" parties battle out the centre ground for Ms Clark's coalition favours, no issue divides the Nation philosophically more than drug policy.

Given Dunne's cannabis blow to the Green morale, there will be strong expectation of sustained herbal advocacy and resolution from the Green MPs this time around… particularly with new MP, Metiria Turei, having notable NORML and ALCP credentials.

At the Green Party's recent conference 10 out of 12 focus groups put marijuana in the top 5 issues - it seems party activists rate Cannabis reform right up there with the Green's "big" issue, G.E. - if only the party's publicity would boldly reflect this fact.

While Green co-leader Rod Donald is talking about 'front-footing' marijuana, the Mild Greens fear that cannabis will be put on the back burner yet again, once the fuss dies down.

However, with cannabis on the Government's bargaining table and logic supporting "appropriate and effective" marijuana policy, the post election dealing should deliver courageously on cannabis or stand as yet another moral abrogation of truth, freedom and harm minimisation.

"The Greens, with the Progressive Centre-Left Government, need to stop pussy-footing the dope-reform issue and do justice to the half million++ falsely accused, and fix NZ's corrupt values, appalling health promotion, alienation and criminality."

"- and make legal regulation New Zealand policy, not just Nandor policy".

Come on Greens - we know you have fortitude - let's see some of it NOW.

Helen Clark's 1994 speech @ the Great Marijuana Debate, Waikato University/Hamilton.
see http://mildgreens.com/reports/helenc94.htm

sig. Blair Anderson / Kevin O'Connell
Mild Green Initiatives phone ++64 3 389-4065
Web site http://www.mildgreens.com
"Blair's Brain on Cannabis" PlainsFM 96.9 every Wed 10:00pm

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