Progress made on le­gal high pol­icy

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

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.

Photo: PET­RICE TAR­RANT

Mak­ing a stand: Mayor Neil Sin­clair in a TV in­ter­view on psy­choac­tive sub­stances.

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