From today the Police will be directed not to prosecute all drug users as the Government sneakily introduces the decriminalisation of drugs, National’s spokesperson for Drug Reform Paula Bennett says.

“National supports both greater rehabilitation and tougher sentences, treatment and deterrence should go hand in hand. However this Bill means Police will not be able to individually prosecute people who are buying and using hard drugs including P, heroin and cocaine.

“The Government says it’s putting the legalisation of cannabis to the public in a referendum, yet at the same time it’s telling Police not to prosecute when it comes to prosecuting Class A and B drugs.

“The Government has a million and one questions it needs to answer about marijuana and the Prime Minister’s referendum to legalise its personal use, before it starts saying Police should not prosecute for wider and harder drug use.

“Both the Police Association and the NZ Drug Foundation presented at Select Committee and agreed the Bill amounts to de facto decriminalisation of drug use. Police are not social workers, it will be up to them to help people try to find services that simply don’t exist.

“National consistently increased investment in rehabilitation and pledged $40 million more over four years for drug treatment and education services during the election campaign, including an additional 1,500 treatment beds. This Government has been big in talk but we haven’t seen any action.

“National will fight for safer communities and ensure these issues get the scrutiny they deserve.” 

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