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Policy Being Considered for Psychoactive Substances Premises

Policy Being Considered for Psychoactive Substances Premises

8 April 2014

Another step has been taken on a policy to minimise harm from the sale of psychoactive substances in New Plymouth and Stratford districts.

Tonight (Tuesday) NPDC’s Policy Committee recommended a draft Local Approved Products Policy (LAPP) be approved for public consultation. The recommendation will be considered by the full Council at its meeting on 6 May.

The draft LAPP would restrict the sale of psychoactive substances in the two districts to only New Plymouth’s CBD, where no sales premises may be within:
• 100m of any other premises selling these products.
• 50m of any kindergarten, early childhood centre, school, education facility, youth centre, reserve or playground.

While councils are not required to develop a LAPP, such a policy would require any outlet of psychoactive substances to comply with its rules.

“The question for councils is how to minimise harm to the community from these substances while not bringing in rules that would amount to a de facto ban, which isn’t allowed under the law,” says Mayor Andrew Judd.

“A LAPP can’t restrict the number of premises or the hours they operate, but it can specify locations where psychoactive substances can and can’t be sold.

“We think that restricting sales to New Plymouth’s CBD where we already have CCTV cameras in place, as well as managing their density plus their distance to sensitive sites, could be a reasonable approach within the restrictions of the law.

“However I call on all community leaders, including the health board and members of Parliament, to come to the Council meeting on 6 May to object to this law that doesn’t allow us to ban these products, and send a strong message to MP Peter Dunne that he’s got this wrong.”

The report to the Policy Committee noted that sales of psychoactive substances in smaller New Plymouth communities such as Waitara, Oakura, Bell Block, and Inglewood would probably be inappropriate given the small size of their business areas and their close proximity to residential areas and other sensitive land uses (such as education facilities).

Stratford CBD’s area is only 350m by 270m and is surrounded by reserves and residential land, so managers at both councils consider it appropriate to treat Stratford in the same manner as the smaller business areas in New Plymouth District.

Stratford District Council is already consulting on the draft LAPP, with submissions closing tomorrow (Wednesday). At the end of NPDC’s consultation period, a joint Hearing Committee on behalf of both councils will hear submissions and make recommendations regarding the proposed policy.

ENDS

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