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Peter Dunne "Two-Faced" on Cannabis Reform

Peter Dunne "Two-Faced" On Family Commission And Cannabis Reform

"Peter Dunne is two-faced and hypocritical when it comes to instigating a Families Commission but denying the present Government the opportunity to end cannabis prohibition", said NORML NZ South Island Co-ordinator Stephen McIntyre today.

The United Future leader was in Christchurch this week saying that family breakdowns cost New Zealand taxpayers more than $5 billion annually in welfare and other payments.

"Dunne says that the Commission will strengthen families, but cannabis prohibition - of which he is a committed supporter - rips families apart every week. Mothers, fathers and children get imprisoned, creating an enormous burden on the taxpayer - both from incarceration costs and welfare benefits to the rest of the family", said Mr McIntyre.

New Zealand continues to have the highest arrest rate for cannabis in the world. The Health Select Committee's inquiry into harm minimisation strategies for cannabis heard that at least $5 million is spent annually on DPB to families where a parent has been imprisoned; a further $40 million goes to keeping those people in prison each year; and the Government loses an estimated $600 million revenue loss from cannabis growers and dealers not paying tax or GST.

"We don't want to be wasting millions of dollars every year imprisoning people for cannabis. We should be using that money wisely on drug education and treatment for those who do have problems from using cannabis", said Mr McIntyre.

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