Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne says it is time for communities to name, shame and boycott businesses that prey on young people with unethical marketing of legal highs.
“In six months this will be sorted with law that will make the industry prove its products are safe before they can be sold, and will put restrictions on how and where they can be sold,” Mr Dunne said.
“In the meantime, I think consumer power and very public opprobrium is a very appropriate response to the likes of the Hawke’s Bay dairy selling a legal high and lollies together.
“It is not illegal, but it is clearly a low-life and unprincipled way to go about your business and it is preying on your own community.
“Personally, I would not want to give a cent to such a business and I think that kind of consumer power is a legitimate response to unethical trading – particularly when it is exploiting young people,” he said.
“If you do not like that kind of behaviour from a business, then don’t give them your money. Get your bread and milk elsewhere.
“Profit is clearly the only thing they understand or care about, so hit them where it hurts. Let them know that you do not want them to operate in that way in your community,” he said.
Mr Dunne said the temporary class drug notices he brought in 18 months ago had taken more than 30 substances and more than 50 products off the market.
“As successful as that has been, we are to an extent playing catch-up until the permanent law comes in in the middle of this year. Consumer choice would just back this up,” he said.