I watched a TV interview this morning, with the Police & Corrections minister.. on this Govts. approach to Drugs & Gangs, in light of recent discussions. It seems that her/this Govt. attitudes are basically unchanged (since the 1970-80s)! She talked about:
1) Police do not focus on arresting every person who smokes a joint, BUT they are still totally unwilling to decriminalise/regulate the personal use of cannabis. ‘Its illegal & the Prime Minister has signalled that’s not going to change, anytime soon‘ (paraphrased)
2) She stated that; the drug trade & gangs, in Aotearoa/NZ are mostly ‘welfare beneficiaries & criminals’ (majority Maori & Pacifica people)
3) There is a move toward, treatment for drug addiction & harm reduction, BUT mostly alongside the criminal justice system
4) When asked about the rise in Meth/P use, she said it was mostly ‘another gang’ BUT diverted the question toward the street level dealing by ‘established dealer networks’. Ignoring the allegations that it is likely the Chinese Triads bringing the precursors into NZ. There has been allegations, that some of the ‘legitimate’ Chinese business interests in NZ, could be on the back of this drug money ?
5) She said that Meth/P is now becoming more widespread than cannabis.. even amongst ‘wealthy’ families.. not just ‘GANGS’ (old school stereotypical attitude)
This minister still seems to have the blinkers on, regarding her attitudes to the illegal drug trade/use in Aotearoa/NZ.. ‘using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut’ & refusing to really look beyond the WAR on Drugs; which interestingly she said she does not use this phrase. No wonder NZ still has such a high drug use & arrest rate (& rising ?) when the Govt. either ignores changes, occurring elsewhere & has their heads still stuck in the sand (preferring to stick with the outdated; Misuse of Drugs act 1975) & this effectively zero-tolerance approach to ‘solving it’ 😦