Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


ALCP: Coroner wrongly blames cannabis

24 August 2005

Coroner wrongly blames cannabis for fishing boat deaths

The ALCP is disputing a coroner's conclusion, reported last week, regarding the loss of a sea vessel, the Iron Maiden, and its two-man crew.

The Party is calling for coroners' reports to be published on-line to assist public discussion and scrutiny. It also says fundamental law reform is needed to enable drug-related education and harm reduction in the workplace.

Aotearoa Legalise claims the Northland coroner, Robin Fountain, is categorically wrong to blame cannabis for an apparent bad decision by the skipper which resulted in the sinking of the Iron Maiden in heavy seas south west of Cape Reinga last July.

According to Mr Fountain, "the only logical explanation was that, affected by cannabis, the skipper got it wrong" when considering whether to sail ahead or wait.

The ALCP does not dispute the possibility cannabis use may have played a part in 24 year-old David Thirkettle's fateful decision. However, people can make illogical decisions - especially under stress - even when completely drug-free. Did the coroner allow for that possibility?

"Coroners seem to be going out of their way to point the finger of blame at cannabis as the cause of accidents when it is discovered in the blood of victims, even if it means excluding other more likely reasons for the accident."

The skipper was in a potentially high-stress situation where he was under pressure to deliver the boat to a deadline.

It appears too, that the Environmental Science & Research agency could well have a conflict of interest in advising coroners, related to its stakehold in 'drug testing'.

ESR reported Thirkettle's post-mortem blood THC level of 0.7mcg per litre "consistent with smoking a cannabis cigarette from about one to eight hours before death." The ALCP say this was only a metabolite measure that cannot accurately indicate when the cannabis was consumed, and demonstrates neither intoxication nor impairment.

Regarding the coroner's call for legislation banning workplace cannabis use, Aotearoa Legalise says there can be no credible guidelines in the workplace while there exists a general rejection of Government's health promotion double standards (c.f. alcohol and cannabis).

The prohibition law is promoting dangerous indifference to any possible risks of cannabis use in the workplace in NZ. It is therefore well within the bounds of possibility that cannabis LAW played a decisive role in the sinking of the Iron Maiden. The Party believes that even if cannabis did adversely influence the skipper's decision, the decision would have been subject to a chronic 'criminalisation-related' health promotion obstacle, which is putting all young New Zealanders at risk.

It was pathetic of the 2000-2003 Parliamentary Cannabis 'health promotion' inquiry not to isolate and fix this impediment, despite being highlighted in the unanimous conclusions of the 1998 Cannabis 'mental health' inquiry.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced


Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election