Le­gal highs at­tract wide in­ter­est

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

Sub­mis­sions on the Draft Le­gal Highs Pol­icy were open from Jan­uary 17 to Fe­bru­ary 17 and a to­tal of 291 res­i­dents made a sub­mis­sion to the pro­posed pol­icy.

‘‘We are very pleased with the num­ber of res­i­dents who made a sub­mis­sion and the qual­ity of the sub­mis­sions,’’ said Mata­mata-Pi­ako District Mayor Jan Barnes.

‘‘It was im­por­tant the com­mu­nity un­der­stood that we don’t have the power to ban le­gal highs.

‘‘All we can do, through con­sul­ta­tion with the com­mu­nity, is con­trol the num­ber and lo­ca­tion of them.’’

Mata­mata- Pi­ako District Coun­cil pro­posed to limit the sale of le­gal highs to a sec­tion of Broad­way in Mata­mata, Thames St in Mor­rinsville and Whi­taker St in Te Aroha.

‘‘We share the com­mu­nity’s con­cerns and agree that there is no ideal place for these prod­ucts to be sold,’’ said Mrs Barnes.

‘‘How­ever, given the limited power cen­tral govern­ment has given us, we be­lieve a Le­gal Highs Pol­icy is the best way to safe­guard our com­mu­nity and pre­vent re­tail­ers from sell­ing these prod­ucts near sen­si­tive places like res­i­den­tial ar­eas, schools, and churches.’’

The law pro­hibits the sale of le­gal highs in dairies, con­ve­nience and gro­cery stores, ser­vice sta­tions and liquor out­lets.

‘‘ A pol­icy that ef­fec­tively says ‘ no’ would not stand up in a court of law be­cause it is be­yond the pow­ers given to us by cen­tral govern­ment,’’ Mrs Barnes said.

‘‘ If we don’t set a pol­icy there is noth­ing stop­ping re­tail­ers set­ting up shops any­where in our district.’’

There are cur­rently no le­gal high stores in the district and no pend­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for le­gal high stores to open in the district.

‘‘Look­ing at the sub­mis­sions we can see that the com­mu­nity is quite di­vided in where they think le­gal highs should be lo­cated.’’

Coun­cil­lors will now con­sider all the feed­back on the pro­posed pol­icy and lis­ten to pre­sen­ta­tions from sub­mit­ters at a pub­lic hear­ing on March 5, at the Diprose Miller board­room in Te Aroha.

The hear­ing will 9.15am.

‘‘ We will take all this feed­back into ac­count and do our best to put a pol­icy in place that will min­imise harm in our com­mu­nity,’’ Mrs Barnes said.



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