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Nat's Tax Cuts Would Cut Ability To Combat Drugs

16 January 2004

National's tax cuts would cut society's ability to combat drug abuse

Government-funded research and programmes designed to reduce drug problems in society would be decimated in the unlikely event that the National Party ever found itself in a position to implement its promise to hand out large tax cuts for the rich, Progressive Party leader, Jim Anderton said today.

"Yesterday, Dr Chris Wilkins from Massey University's Social and Health Outcomes Research Unit gave a presentation on preliminary findings of an informant study that is part of a larger study of Amphetamine Type Stimulants that is being led by the Police Department and has a steering group which includes government officials from Customs, Health, Justice and TPK.

"The information gathered from such studies helps to inform the coalition government and society as we collectively respond to the challenge such drugs pose to our society with appropriate social and health programmes. This sort of research, and the programmes arising out of it, are vital and yet would be imperiled by a National-led government determined to hand out massive tax cuts to those already on high incomes," Jim Anderton said.

"The coalition government's Methamphetamine Action Plan, which I announced last May, has seen P reclassified as a Class A hard drug and a number of precursor ingredients reclassified to penalize the drug pushers in our society. Other actions under the plan to tackle evidence of increased 'smoking' of methamphetamine include bans on importing or selling P utensils and a Progressive Party budget bid of $2.55 million a year for 15 new Community Action Programmes to focus community ownership and solutions to combating drug problems.

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"The current review of the Proceeds of Crime Act also arose out of the Action Plan. This plan, of course, costs money and is the sort of investment civilized societies make to promote social security and harmony.

They would, however, be casualties of a National government committed to massive tax cuts for the rich and a hands-off philosophy to every social problem," Jim Anderton said.

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