The Government has failed New Zealanders by voting down my Bill which would have ensured harsher penalties for those who deal and manufacture synthetic drugs, MP for Pakuranga Simeon Brown says.

“Synthetic drugs have killed dozens of people and destroyed lives. The people who manufacture and deal these drugs are peddling misery.

“Last month, the Coroner released new figures showing as many as 80 deaths were attributed to synthetic drugs in less than two years, with a countless number of people also being admitted to hospitals requiring treatment due to harmful side effects.

“This needs to stop. However the Government has chosen to let the paltry penalties that are currently in place stand. How is it fair that someone who peddles these dangerous drugs that can kill will get just two years in prison but eight years in prison for dealing marijuana? 

“While the Government has introduced legislation that will reclassify two strands of synthetic drugs as class A drugs, drug dealers will quickly change the chemicals to supply new synthetic drugs.

“These substances can change day to day and dealer to dealer- tinkering around the edges by reclassifying two strands is not enough. Blanket penalties are required to get them off the streets and this is what my Bill would have done.

“With National’s support, the Government passed new gun laws in just four weeks following the Christchurch Mosque attacks. We need the same sort of commitment and urgency to address this significant issue after more than 80 deaths from these drugs.

“My greatest concern is for the young people that will continue to be hounded by dealers that are undeterred by the current penalties. Parliament needs to be united in our ambition to care for and protect the vulnerable in our communities. This is what the Government has failed to do.”

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