Labour and the Green Party have been standing in the way of tougher penalties for peddlers of synthetic cannabis, despite National’s Psychoactive Substances Amendment Bill having majority support in Parliament, MP for Pakuranga Simeon Brown says.
“My Bill passed through the Committee of the Whole House this evening, but will not be debated again before March next year, as Government MPs blocked the passage of the Bill to Third Reading.
“The Government is putting politics ahead of community safety. Over the past year we have seen a dramatic increase in people being admitted to hospital, and over 50 people dying as a result of synthetic drug use. Yet the Government is dragging its feet and blocking my Bill which will make our communities safer, faster.
“My Bill will increase the maximum prison sentence for those caught dealing synthetic drugs from two years to eight years. This has been increased to 14 years following NZ First’s amendment which was a condition of their support for the Bill. This will deter suppliers and give our justice system more power to keep these criminals away from the vulnerable people they prey on.
“While my Bill was drawn from the Ballot eleven months ago, the Government has failed to put any serious policy in place. In July, the Deputy Prime Minister called for urgent action to address this issue, yet we have seen no action from the Government.
“If the Government was serious about taking action it would adopt my Members Bill which would see longer sentences for the people who supply these drugs. Instead the Government is all talk and no action.”