Matamata Chronicle - - Opinion/news -

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.

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