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Back to school for Nandor?

4 December, 2003

Back to school for Nandor?

Green MP Nandor Tanczos accepted a challenge last night from Wellington College principal Roger Moses to meet him and other principals to discuss cannabis law reform.

Nandor, the Green spokesperson for Cannabis Law Reform, was debating Progressive leader Jim Anderton in the Ohariu-Belmont electorate when Mr Moses, a member of the right-wing Education Forum group, challenged Nandor to address secondary school principals about cannabis.

"I welcome the opportunity to talk with New Zealand's secondary school principals about cannabis law reform and how it would affect young people," said Nandor.

"Most New Zealanders are concerned about cannabis abuse by young people and I am a strong advocate for cannabis to be R18. Media reports do not always make this clear so I am looking forward to setting the record straight with them.

"Young people should defer the decision about whether to use cannabis or not until they are at least 18 and education is the key to ensuring this. However, it is clear that prohibition not only fails to discourage young people from smoking but is also a barrier to an effective education program.

"We must all work together to determine the most effective way to minimise the harm associated with all drugs, including alcohol and tobacco. Leaving cannabis in the control of gangs is not the way to do this.

"I look forward to meeting with Mr Moses and any other school principals that would like to discuss these issues with me," said Nandor.

About 150 people packed the Johnsonville Community Hall in Peter Dunne's electorate of Ohariu-Belmont to hear Jim Anderton and Nandor debate whether cannabis should be decriminalised.

"I thank Jim Anderton for helping give the people of Ohariu-Belmont the debate their own MP didn't want them to hear. There are many things Jim and I agree upon, although we have different ways to achieve them but I appreciate the passion and courage Jim brought to the debate.

"It was a return to community-level grassroots political debate and I believe the audience were informed, entertained and engaged. Special thanks to Wellington City Councillor Helen Ritchie for moderating the debate."


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