No way

Matamata Chronicle - - Opinion -

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 at­our-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

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