I have read the clip in the paper about the council suggesting shops in Matamata sell legal highs and I am deeply concerned.
I really don’t think this would do Matamata any favours. What good could come of it? Nothing! It would be a danger to everyone. Even though it may be legal doesn’t mean it is any good for you, it is toxic and dangerous.
I am 100 per cent against this!
Matamata-Piako District Council chief executive Don McLeod responds:
Last week two of your readers wrote expressing concerns at the prospect of legal highs being sold in the main Central Business District of each of our three main towns.
We share the views of many in the community in regards to the undesirability of the sale of these products but it’s important the community understands that councils do not have the power to ban the sale of legal highs.
As your correspondents rightly identified, it is central government that has legalised the sale of these products, subject to certain restrictions and safeguards.
We cannot ban them and we cannot put unrealistic restrictions in place so as to in effect ban them – that would be contrary to the law.
All we can do, through consultation with our community, is determine an area where they can be sold.
We could have chosen to do nothing, however we felt it was important on behalf of the community to do as much as we could legally do to control the potential sale areas as much as possible.
In considering possible locations we took the following into account:
1) We wanted to propose as small an area of available premises as possible – hence only a portion of the central business district has been proposed. Premises have to become available and landlords must make them available. In our view these proposals are not unlawfully restrictive.
2) We wanted the area to be as high profile as possible, we chose areas with prominent police presence, high volumes of vehicle and pedestrian traffic, and public surveillance.
3) We wanted the outlets to be away from sensitive sites (schools, churches and community facilities).
We accept and understand the disquiet with respect to this matter. But no location will be entirely satisfactory and in the end many factors have to be taken into account and balanced against each other.
We would encourage your readers to provide feedback to assist us to make the best possible decision. Submissions can be made at mpdc.govt.nz/news-a-events/haveyour-say or you can pick up a paper submission form at any council office or library.
The biggest problem is, Matamata youth are over their friends getting mugged and the next step is taking matters into their own hands. It’s time police youth officers took a stand and dealt with this before it’s too late.
I am a parent, tax payer, home owner and concerned resident and want to feel safe. This is not America; this is a small great town we live in with a high tourist income and after every weekend we hear of another person robbed or confronted on the way home from a night out.
Matamata Police Officer in Charge Graham McGurk responds:
Police did investigate this matter [where a phone was tracked] at the time it was reported. The victim, who was intoxicated at the time, chose to continue drinking and the crime was reported by his flatmate some three hours later. By then the last recorded polling of the phone location was more than two hours old and only showed