Progress made on legal high policy
The long-awaited policy on psychoactive substances, the Local Approved Products Policy, will soon be developed by South Waikato District Council.
And the community is being asked to get behind it.
‘‘ The council has decided to progress a policy. Staff were given direction by councillors based on the discussion,’’ mayor Neil Sinclair said.
‘‘As much as we as a council would like to ban these [ psychoactive] substances entirely, we can’t.
‘‘They are legal under the act. In addition, our jurisdiction relates to outlet location only,’’ Sinclair said.
‘‘ The key question facing the council is where these outlets should be located. We can do this by specifying an area where outlets may establish, or by using buffer zones from sensitive sites,’’ he said.
Sinclair is strongly against the substances.
‘‘ I would ban it tomorrow if I had the power,’’ he said in an interview with Seven Sharp.
The current affairs crew visited Tokoroa on Tuesday as part of a story on the legal highs.
Sinclair said he fears people from out of town might travel to Tokoroa to get their fix.
‘‘I don’t want them driving down to Tokoroa to spend $500 and buy bulk,’’ he said.
The policy will be up for public consultation once the Ministry of Health has approved it.
Julie King, who opposes legal highs, is pleased with the council’s progress.
‘‘I think its incredible, I just admire what they are doing’’ she said.
Although she believed a policy would improve the dynamics of the community, she said the addiction would still be there.
‘‘That’s still going to be an issue to see how it can be supported.’’
Despite progress on the policy, King said the April 5 rally against the psychoactive substances will go ahead to ensure the message against the legal highs gets to central government. ‘‘ It’s also to protect the council and get the community behind it,’’ she said.
The council is still discussing the closures the Ministry of Health imposed in Hamilton, the watch and wait on Hamilton’s legal precedent and which areas outlets in the South Waikato should be located in.
Hamilton City Council’s LAPP is under judicial review following legal action from legal high advocacy group The Star Trust.
Making a stand: Mayor Neil Sinclair in a TV interview on psychoactive substances.