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Target the tinny houses, urge Greens

27 September 2002

Target the tinny houses, urge Greens

News of a big bust of Hutt Valley tinny houses underlines the urgent need to crack down on dealers who target kids, Green MP Nandor Tanczos said today.

Police say 'Operation Student' was launched after it became apparent that many students were easily accessing marijuana and methamphetamine in the Hutt Valley, with students as young as thirteen identified buying drugs by undercover officers.

"Under our current system cannabis is more available to kids than alcohol," said Nandor. "There is no age restriction at a tinny house and, in fact, the huge profits to be made on the illegal market actually encourage gangs to sell it to kids.

"Some politicians in this parliament are too gutless to take any meaningful action and, while they procrastinate, tinny houses will keep springing up."

The Greens support a change to the law to allow adults to grow and use small amounts of cannabis. This would reduce the market for cannabis and free up much of the twenty million dollars currently spent on minor cannabis charges for targeting the tinny houses where young people get cannabis from. It would also free up money for decent drug education.

"By focussing on tinny houses rather than adults with a joint in their pocket, we would be making it more difficult for kids to get cannabis and we would also be cutting back the supply of dangerous drugs such as methamphetamines," said Nandor.

"These busts in the Hutt Valley confirm what I have been saying - that the tinny houses are not just selling cannabis to children. They are also moving into supplying dangerous drugs like methamphetamine.

"But just cutting back supply is not the sole answer. We also need proper, evidence-based drug education and treatment. The Greens have already put significant new funding into this area and we back the PPTA's call for more resources to deal with the problems of drugs in schools."

ENDS

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