Matamata-Piako District Council communications officer Nicole Nooyen responds: Matamata-Piako District Council considered all submissions on the Legal Highs Policy from the community, the police and various stakeholder groups in our community.
After considering all locations it was agreed that a high-profile location will act as a deterrent as well as provide prominent police and public surveillance.
We understand this was a sensitive topic for our community.
Given the limited power central government gave us, we were all faced with a tough decision on where legal high stores could be located and we understand that no-one wants these products in their town.
However, we feel the policy we have adopted is the best option given the power we have, to safeguard our community and minimise harm in our towns.
The restrictions adopted in the policy effectively mean there could only be one legal high retail outlet in each town, this was an important factor to the council who felt this was a good balance between recognising the government’s decision to legalise and restrict the sale of legal highs and the concerns of the community to protect their towns.
The council adopted the draft Legal Highs Policy with the following changes:
The council increased the distance between any retail premises selling legal highs from 200 metres to 300 metres.
This was done to give added strength to the policy and reflect the strong community concern about the sale of these products.
The council also decided to reduce the 50 metre proximity buffer around sensitive sites from 50 metres to 25 metres.
We are always eager to listen to our communities’ ideas and views and this is supported by legislation which requires us to consult with the community.
We continue to encourage the community to have a voice in the council’s decision-making and are currently asking for submissions to the council’s draft Annual Plan. Excellence: Year 11 student Benjamin Kingston and year 9 student Patrick Roskam were the winners of two iPads awarded at the Matamata College ACE Club draw last week. ACE stands for Achieving and Celebrating Excellence. Benjamin received excellence in geography and maths whereas Patrick received excellence in social studies, digital technology and English. Prizes are sponsored by local businesses Stanley Group and Matamata Veterinary Services. Benjamin is pictured with Kevin Stanley of Stanley Group and Susan Murray of Matamata Veterinary Services.