A game-changing pilot to tackle meth use in Northland is at risk of shutting down as Police Minister Stuart Nash remains silent on whether it will receive funding committed by the previous Government to continue, National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“Northland DHB and Police were funded $3 million by the previous National Government to deliver the Te Ara Oranga pilot programme which has proven to be a huge success in getting people off meth, yet the new Government won’t commit to continuing its funding.
“We know the Government is strapped for cash after spending it all on tertiary students and is desperate to find money to fund the rest of its costly election policies, but it can’t be at the expense of a programme that is the best hope we have to eliminate meth use in our country.
“Meth use is destroying lives and those who peddle the drug are a scourge on our society. That’s why National had committed $82 million to the Methamphetamine Action Plan, which would not only allow Te Ara Oranga to continue in Northland, but would enable the programme to set up in other parts of the country in desperate need of help to tackle meth.
“Stuart Nash must immediately adopt National’s policy and provide the funding needed for Te Ara Oranga to continue after the current funding runs out in March. Hopefully he will make that commitment after meeting with the Te Ara Oranga team today and seeing first-hand the difference that the programme is making.
“Failing that, perhaps his Deputy Leader Kelvin Davis can convince him – Mr Davis has spoken publicly about his support for the programme and even attended the launch last year.
“Labour talks a big game about reducing the number of children in poverty, and we know that drug use is a major factor in child poverty so it should put its money where its mouth is and continue National’s plan to keep funding the Methamphetamine Action Plan.”