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Anderton praises community leadership

Anderton praises community leadership at Joe Walsh anti-P concert

Thu, 7 Oct 2004

Hon. Jim Anderton Associate Health Minister and Progressive leader
Speech for delivery to anti-drugs concert, Otatara Pa, Napier

Kia Ora,

We need people to take a personal stand at a community level against the destruction being caused in our communities by drug use and alcohol abuse.

We appreciate it may mean stress and it may even mean that friends may end walking up on different paths, but leadership is not a popularity contest.

So I would first like to thank the Hastings District Council, Napier City Council and Waiohiki Community Trust for your support to make this day happen. Thank you for showing leadership in the demand-reduction campaign.

The daily work on demand-reduction goes hand-in-hand with the compassionate and intelligent treatment services for the victims of the drug peddlers and it also goes hand-in-hand also with strong laws targeting importers and traffickers - the suppliers of drugs.

Individuals, communities, local and central government, we all have a role to play in showing leadership in the campaign for safer communities.

To the speakers that follow me, and of course to our respected friend and ally in the campaign against drug abuse Joe Walsh, thank you so much for coming all the way to our country with you positive, optimistic and valuable message.

The message is that no matter how severe your addiction, with courage, with help from family, friends and the community, you can get your life back and build a better future for yourself and the ones you love.

Joe Walsh - you are an inspiration for many people all over the world.

During your long and extraordinarily successful career, you have shared with us how you developed drug & alcohol addictions and, inspiringly, how you started the very courageous path to recovery following the friendship and support and love received when on tour in our own country in the 1990s.

Joe, your story is a story we all want to see repeated hundreds and thousands of times over by others who find themselves with drug and alcohol addictions and looking for a positive way forward.

Your visit is being arranged by Mokai Whanua Ora, one of the 15 recently established Community Action on Youth & Drugs or CAYADs that are now working around the country to reduce the demand for drugs.

The word "mokai" is used in the sense that poet James K. Baxter used it when he worked with what he called "the tribe of nga mokai" during the outbreak of amphetamine use in New Zealand in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

May the Lord have mercy On us when we die The tribe of nga mokai Who can do nothing well May he keep us out of hell

The "Tribe of Nga Mokai" includes methmaphetamine users and distributors, their families and their communities. It includes gang members and people who have been in prison. It includes the long-term unemployed and those who are on the margins of society. In this instance, it also includes the rich and the kids of the rich who are just as exposed to P as anyone on the street.

Whanau Ora refers to individuals choosing to build a better future for themselves and their family.

Thank you all for your commitment. Kia ora.


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