An Open Letter to Parliament

Thursday 28 July 2011, 4:17PM
By Auckland Chamber of Commerce

The purpose of this letter is to give you the strongest possible support to take immediate decisive action when Parliament resumes next month (2nd August) to urgently pass legislation banning the sale of untested party drug products.

The call for urgency reflects the overwhelming view of Auckland Chamber of Commerce members that as a nation our laws on party drugs are the wrong way round and this is having tragic consequences that only Parliament can fix.

The root of concern is that it is outrageous that the safety of our society and especially the young is at risk because we have a system that uses the public as guinea pigs. Currently, products must be proved unsafe before they are pulled off shelves. It should be the other way round; that no product be allowed to be marketed or sold unless it has been tested and proven safe, as most other products are required to show.

The depth of feeling on the issue has been quite startling and I am convinced that if feedback had been sought across the whole country, the response would have been just as emphatic.

Instances recounted by employers, parents - and some past users - of the damage these products have caused were couched in strong questioning language as to why Parliament has been so slow to act.

The mainstream view is that Parliament needs to get off the fence and act under urgency to legislate to get these products off the shelves of the nation’s shops as soon as possible.

I know from personal contact that many Members of Parliament are as personally concerned to see decisive action on this matter. You can be confident that your collective leadership to act decisively to reverse the onus of proof and make the industry prove its products are safe before they can be sold will be applauded by most New Zealanders.

It is urgent. It cannot wait. Not even another day. As many respondents said in different words:
“It is time to stop this folly… Hopefully the House and all parties will support this. It is not a party line issue but a ‘mainstream’ issue which impacts all.”

Every day these products remain on sale results in a referral to the health system and worse…

Yours faithfully,

Michael Barnett
Chief Executive
Auckland Chamber of Commerce
Email: mbarnett@chamber.co.nz