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Misuse of Drugs (Classification of BZP) Amendment Bill
Friday 14 March 2008, 9:42AM
By Hone Harawira
1283 views, 3 comments

Well, well, well, Mr Speaker, look what’s gone and popped its ugly head up again in our august House of Hypocrisy, our Parliament of Pretence, our very own Den of Double Standards.

Why, it’s none other than the “Misuse of Drugs (Classification of BZP) Amendment Bill”,

known in some circles as “Jim Anderton’s I’m dull and boring, and if I can’t be happy, then neither can you be happy BILL”,

and in other circles as the “They ain’t killing anyone but let’s ban party pills because we’re not getting any money off it, but let’s allow alcohol and cigarettes to continue to be legal, because although they’re killing our kids by the thousands every year, we get heaps of money off them through taxation BILL”.

Mr Speaker, one hundred years ago Sir Maui Pomare said:

“Our effort will be in the direction of the eradication of all things which ensure the demoralisation and decay of the Maori – drunkenness, smoking, gambling, sanitation, diseases of animals – all come within the scope of the new crusade.

In a word, we seek the regeneration of the Maori, and unless we effect that, our race is doomed. We will do it, we must”.

Mr Speaker, that crusade, that statement of intent, is a crusade that the Maori Party is also dedicated to, and I repeat again the words … We seek the regeneration of the Maori, and unless we effect that, our race is doomed”.

We too reject the way in which alcohol, tobacco and gambling are killing our people, because the research is done, and the facts are clear - alcohol, tobacco and gambling are demoralising our people and killing our families.

And that’s the difference between those addictions and party pills – forests have been cut down to detail the evidence, the data and the research on the death and destruction and family mayhem caused by alcohol, tobacco and gambling.

But BZP and party pills - nah mate, not even. Nowhere near enough evidence has been produced to justify this draconian ban on party pills, and nowhere near enough thought has been given to alternative ways of handling them.

Mr Speaker, this Bill aims to make it illegal to possess, use, sell, supply, import, export or manufacture BZP, even though there is no evidence that party pills kill and maim thousands of New Zealanders every year, the way that alcohol and tobacco does.

So to get a bit more background, I looked over a paper written by my whanaunga, Dr Lance O’Sullivan, from Ngati Hau, currently employed at Te Hau Ora o Te Hiku o Te Ika, the first accredited Maori Health Provider in the country.

He talked about seeing the impact of alcohol abuse on whanau; the domestic violence, the unwanted pregnancies, the broken families, the fatal driving accidents, the young men and women with heart and liver disease, and the depression affecting the older generations – the day to day reality of a legal but lethal drug that this legislature has allowed to ravage our communities for more than a hundred years.

Hell – even our tupuna thought so badly of the stuff that they called it waipiro – quite literally – stinking, rotting water.

And Dr O’Sullivan doesn’t need to write another paper for us to know that tobacco is doing even more damage than alcohol.

Mr Speaker, our caucus is new, but already we have built up a good rep in the campaigns against tobacco and ‘P’, and the destructive effects of alcohol and gambling in Maori communities. We have come from, and we continue to live within those very communities, and we know what we’re talking about when we talk about the effects of alcohol, tobacco, and gambling.

And we’d laugh at the ridiculous efforts being given to banning party pills, except we’re still crying at the lack of attention being given to the addictions that are still killing thousands of New Zealanders every year.

Mr Speaker, let me again be clear – the Maori Party is opposed to harmful drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, and we are equally committed to stopping substance abuse.

But just ‘cause it’s election year doesn’t mean we should pander to prejudice. Let’s drop the scaremongering and let’s get to the facts.

Following on from a 2007 Risk Assessment Report by the Scientific Committee of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, on the risks of BZP, last week the Centre called on member states to take measures, “appropriate to the relatively low risks of the substance”.

Those eight member states – Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Malta and Sweden – already regulate BZP under appropriate legislation.

Contrast that with some of these other statistics on death:

Tobacco smoking kills more than 4,600 New Zealanders every year;
By 2020, tobacco will kill ten million people every year, worldwide; that’s one person every 8 seconds;
30% of young smokers will eventually be killed by tobacco; and
Tobacco will kill more people than the combined deaths from alcohol, drugs, murder, suicide, road crashes, air crashes, poisoning, drowning, fires, falls, lightning and electrocution.

The Victoria University Students Association, members of which would be prime users of party pills, supports increased regulation and control of manufacturers of party pills, who have targeted the student body through commercial marketing and on-campus promotion of their products as ‘energy supplements’, with ‘medicinal properties’ and ‘life-enhancing effects’, or the most bizarre claim of all – that their pills are ‘replacement brain-fuel’.

The Students Association says that the industry is the one that should be targeted, not the users, and that reasonable standards should be imposed on manufacture, distribution, labelling and advertising of party pills.

And yet for all the facts, it would appear that National and Labour are committed to this ban on party pills.

Mr Speaker, the facts we have gathered reinforce the Maori Party view expressed in the minority report to the select committee commentary, that a strictly enforced, strongly regulated regime, with tighter regulations, health warning labels, controlled access, and quality and quantity controls, is a far better first step than prohibition.

Mr Speaker, the Maori Party remains staunchly opposed to this Bill; and passionately in support of the call to seek the regeneration of our whanau, hapu and iwi through dedicated efforts to restoring our health and wellbeing.


J. James, 15 March 2008, 10:19AM

I agree with Hone – regulate rather than the knee jerk out right ban – it solves nothing, lest we forget why the rise in party pills in the first place, wasn’t it to stop the use of so called A class, i.e Acid and ecstasy – again the death toll of alcohol out strips the deaths on any of these so called illegal substances.

Its becoming increasingly clear how inept and out of touch politicians and their narrow minded bureaucrats can be on issues like this.

One could well wonder if there is a conspiracy going on with the alcohol and tobacco industries which enable their dirty toxic and deadly drugs to be the only legitimately approved drugs knowing full well their usage will add bodies to the illness industry which in turn makes billion$ for big pharma – I can see the connection – can you – these two industries as Hone has pointed out contribute the most death disease and destruction than anything else, - opps, I forget, they could have stiff competition with pharmaceutical drugs and entering hospital which kill just about as many people according to latest reports.

Regulate the dosage of BZP the stuff can be over taxing on the body in ways real Acid and real Ecstasy have never been and ad drug education into the mix, after all it’s the 21st century and so many millions of us with first hand experience know the reality is nothing like the propaganda – its way past time for New Zealand to mature around the issue of so called ‘drug’ use – after all both A class drugs A and E have decades of scientific research behind them – banned from public knowledge because of vested interests more interested in fear mongering and ignorance than anything else – party pills came on the scene as a replacement, so that people were not made into ‘criminals’ by buying, selling and ingesting A class

I also notice that this was a directive from an outside source rather than Mr Anderton waking up one morning and having an original idea, decided to be the party pill pooper – NZzzzzz is getting a few of these ‘offshore’ directives in that our politicians are not coming up with it themselves, rather they are being ‘directed’ by an outside source and further – in many cases they fail to disclose who it is they are representing – because I can see its really not the people of Aotearoa

Not a fan of seven second sound bytes ;-)

Infonews Editor, 15 March 2008, 7:46PM

I personally think it is time Mr Anderton realised he was out of touch with solving problems in the real world. Him along with the 110 other MPs who voted for the ban. Time to retire Mr Anderton. Tis a pity he can win a seat in his electorate with only a drop in the bucket of the party votes.

liam mcmahon, 16 March 2008, 6:44AM

Hone I the man; everything he said is absoutely true.

Jim Anderson is a curmudeonly old fool with a dwindling career and nothing else to live for but to destroy our communities; he will pay the price in the days to come. INDEX