Dunne clears the competition for his backers

Written By: - Date published: 11:55 am, July 17th, 2012 - 54 comments
Categories: alcohol, drugs - Tags:

A cynic might ask if Peter Dunne is out to eliminate the competition of his mates and (it is widely thought) donors in the alcohol and cigarette industries by setting ever higher barriers for other legal highs. And I’m that cynic. I’m not against anyone selling something for human consumption having to prove its safety. But why doesn’t Dunne extend that to his the booze and bakky shills? Let’s be under no illusions – if the party pill industry was funding United Future, this law change wouldn’t be happening.

Incidentally, do you know where Dunne worked before becoming an MP? The Alcoholic Liquor Advisory Council.

54 comments on “Dunne clears the competition for his backers”

  1. Mr Tears 1

    He worked at the Alcohol Advisory Council, you twit.

  2. ghostwhowalksnz 2

    I thought ALAC was the crown entity to moderate the effects of drinking. ? You make it sound like a front for Super Liquor

  3. shorts 3

    I await with somewhat baited breath someone to put cannabis through the new process….

    this win for the crown is a bigger win for the illegal drug trade

    public health be damned

  4. Kia Ora

    I think the real winners are probably those manufacturing illegal drugs, who must be secretly rubbing their hands with glee. Demand for their product is going to go up and so will the consequences to society.

    http://willsheberight.blogspot.co.nz/2012/07/party-pills-diversion-from-hard-stuff.html

    I don’t expect many – if any – lives will be saved or hospital visits prevented. The drug line reports a fall in calls, but there will always be a core of people for whom the hard stuff is the good stuff. Whether that “hard stuff” is (il)legal is another story altogether.

    Rob

    • MrSmith 4.1

      Kia Ora, Robert.

      Where there’s a demand, someone will supply; especially if the profit/risk analysis stacks up, and these idiots that are running the country just put the prices up, I hear today they have busted a few pot growers as well, big deal! the prices will only go up and bring more people into the business. Dunny is just trying to look strong in the public eye, when all the while acting like the weak, sniveling, apology of a man he is, he rolls out the same old failed ideas but only because most Kiwi’s lap it up, so we need to look in the mirror here? 

  5. A cynic would be wrong.

    Instead we should be applauding Mr Dunne for following – pretty much to the letter – the advice he received from the NZ Law Commission as part of its seminal review of NZ’s obsolete Misuse of Drugs Act.

    I don’t think we should be dissing a minister for following evidence-based, independent advice.

    Rather, congratulations to Dunne for doing this. If Parliament passes this, NZ will be the first to try a regulated market for psychoactive substances.

    So yeah, there are certainly hypocrisies in our approach to drugs, but credit where credit’s due.

    (Don’t forget the government will soon progress the Alcohol Reform Bill [that’s not too bad – could be better], tobacco tax has increased significantly under National Govt [thanks Tariana], tobacco gets hidden away later this month, $25 million has been invested in methamphetamine treatment…. So while this isn’t happening as part of a coordinated drug policy, it’s not all bad.)

    The next step is for Mr Dunne to follow the rest of the Law Commission’s advice. That might be a bit harder.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      “The next step is for Mr Dunne to follow the rest of the Law Commission’s advice. That might be a bit harder.

      Yeah, I don’t think you can really praise a minister that picks and chooses the bits of evidence-based advice that happens to fit in with their career history while ignoring all the other bits that might harm those involved in their career history.

      In that light, I don’t think a cynic is wrong at all.

    • No, we should not be applauding Dunne. We should be acknowledging that this is a step towards a consistent drug policy with regards to everything but the entrenched addictive drugs- alcohol and nicotine.

      Dunne has always had a soft spot for legal addictive drugs and he should make them liable to the same standards as every other drug. We are giving precisely as much credit as is due: The amount you get for doing a mostly good thing for hypocritical reasons that make the bad part worse- which is very little, especially as this is merely a move to harm reduction for unclassified substances, not a move to harm reduction with classified substances that would be better off being legally sold under regulation than on the black market.

  6. Ben 6

    Peter Dunne has long campaigned on two things: “fairness” and “choice.”

    In this latest move, he explicitly prevents people from making free choices over what substances they allow into their own bodies. This shows he believes he can choose for other people. “Fairness” and “choice”?

    Dunne has been recently quoted as saying “I respect that in an open society people have got choices.”* And yet he’s doing everything he can to stop people from making a free choice. “Fairness” and “choice”?

    He’s content to allow a recreational herb which has been used by millions of people for thousands of years to continue to carry the “criminal” tag, tying up value police and court time in pursuit of prosecuting people for a victimless “crime”, resulting in convictions which ruin their lives over nothing. “Fairness” and “choice”?

    Dunne is a slimeball and I am thoroughly ashamed that he’s “my” MP.

    There will have to be some level of “drugs already classified cannot be put through this new process” because cannabis would pass whatever toxicological (etc) tests with flying colours, and everybody knows it.

    *Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7289264/Researcher-questions-if-safe-legal-high-feasible

  7. weka 7

    I’m not against anyone selling something for human consumption having to prove its safety. But why doesn’t Dunne extend that to his the booze and bakky shills?
     

    How much research has already been done on the effects of alcohol and tobacco on the human body? How much research has already been done on party pills. You’re comparing apples and oranges. When a decent amount of research has been done on party pills, then you can call Dunne on his hypocrisy (and yes he is a hypocrite, but you’re point is not the right one).

    • Deano 7.1

      yeah, but alcohol and tobacco aren’t going to be banned until they can be shown to pass the safety tests, are they? Yet party pills will be. Alcohol and tobacco will be exempted from these requirements.

      • weka 7.1.1

        I’m fairly sure that alcohol and tobacco have both been subject to enough scientific and sociological research that we know the dangers of them 😉
         
        Like I said, Dunne is a hypocrite, for the reason you mention (he’s against drugs but not others, based on his own ideas about normality), but I don’t have a problem with party pills being banned until the necessary research has been done. Why shouldn’t they be?
         
        I am curious if the bar is being set ridiculously high for the research standard though.
         
         
         
         

        • Ben 7.1.1.1

          “Why shouldn’t they be?”

          Because no one has the right to stop any person making a free choice to put any given substance into their body. Simple.

          The body I occupy is mine and I will never recognise anyone’s authority to tell me what I may or may not put into it, in my own time and on my own terms, and while harming no one else.

          I detest any number of drugs (methamphetamine, tobacco and alcohol among them), but at some point consenting adults need to be left to make their own choices, for better or worse.

          If we are not sovereign over our own bodies, can we be sovereign over anything at all?

          • Urban Rascal 7.1.1.1.1

            There is a difference between chemically adjusted cattle drench, anti-anxiety prescription meds and unknown additives being put together and sold over the counter at dairies and liquor stores who routinely sell to under-agers.

            It’s got little to do with your adult right to do what ever the hell I want. I’m sure little to know one cares if you go get some Cattle drench and swig it down, but this is different from allowing an industry to produce unregistered, untested and unknown formulations available freely on the market just for adults to get their kicks.

            Decriminalize everything, sure i’m a fan of that.
            But I can’t agree with allowing them sold openly.

            • Ben 7.1.1.1.1.1

              So it’s better for people to get their kicks buying unlabelled product from some dodgy person on a street corner? Because that’s what will happen.

              I’ve met some extremely dodgy dealers in my time who would sell just about anything to just about anyone. At least if they’re being sold by retailers (and perhaps they should be licenced?) there’s some chance that there’ll be a come-back on them if things go completely haywire.

              I’m all for regulation: a mandatory declaration of ingredients and a licencing system for retailers would be a good start, and anyone found to be in contravention of any requirements regarding regulations should be publically flogged.

              People want to get high, and they’ll find a way. No matter how many lawmakers may think they can legislate that part of the human psyche away, the law doesn’t enter into that equation, at all. The only argument I’ve ever heard in favour of synthetic cannabis is “it’s cheaper than a conviction.” Make the legal highs illegal and people just go back to the illegal stuff, causing more people to get convicted, more police / court time, etc etc, and more people buying dodgy shit from dodgy dudes.

              …so what’s the point of this again?

              • weka

                Like Urban Rascal, I see this not as an issue of drug regulation, but of regulating unscrupulous commerce. I’m reasonably pro-decriminilisation of drugs in general, depending on how it was done, but the party pills issue is more akin to selling alcopops. Worse, actually, because at least with alcopops we had a reasonable idea of contents and risk. The party pill industry has shown itself it be highly irresponsible, so fuck ’em.
                 
                I don’t really buy the I have a right to ingest whatever I want argument. I have no problem at all with govt regulating something like antibiotics, where there is a clear public health interest in not allowing humans to have free access to them. As with most ideologies, absolutes are only useful up to the first example that proves otherwise.

                • Guest

                  I see this is as much as “regulating commerce” as it is regulating untested, powerful psychedelic drugs.

                  The simple fact that potentially powerful drugs have/are being sold over the counter is madness.

                  I once tried an over the counter product (Kronik, foolishly before it was banned) and it’s many times stronger than any smoked substance I’ve ever had. It made me feel sick, paranoid and done right horrible to the point that I nearly passed out.

                  That said, I can imagine a group of kids ‘scoring’ a bag of this stuff from the local dairy and getting themselves so out of it they OD, make themselves sick and generally put themselves at risk. No doubt this has happened before and will happen again unless strict regulation is put in place.

                  • bad12

                    Yeah the kids really thank you all for your concern, they will all now go back to ‘huffing’ CNG cylinders or cans of ‘Rexona”…

                    • weka

                      hmmm, I think you would need to prove that restricting party pills creates more harm than it prevents. And that lack of party pills is the main criteria for kids using gas or rexona cans. Not sure how you could prove that though.

                    • Ben

                      Well Rexona and CNG are legal substances, so based on the argument that “making some things illegal will stop people taking them”, the fact they’re legal means people will take them…

                      Not serious, it’s just a curious way of looking at it.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    as it is regulating untested, powerful psychedelic drugs.

                    Tens of thousands of young adults and teenagers are on antidepressants, ADHD meds etc. Our society is fine with drugging up young kids brains. The fact you put a license on one kind and not another is a minor detail.

                    btw i don’t think you have any idea what the word “psychedelic” actually means.

                    • weka

                      And lots of psych meds are used off label, so they’ve not necessarily been tested for what they’re used for. 
                       

                      The fact you put a license on one kind and not another is a minor detail.
                       

                      Except that making some drugs prescription only is kinda useful.

                  • Ben

                    “It made me feel sick, paranoid and done right horrible to the point that I nearly passed out. ”

                    This isn’t an unheard-of side-effect of the chemical involved – JWH12 or something it was called. This was never mentioned on the label, though (from memory the contents listed a bunch of herbs, they didn’t say they’d been coated with this particular substance).

                    So if there was a requirement to label the product to say it contained the active ingredient “x” then people could investigate the risks and decide whether or not it was for them.

                    Agree a labelling regime is an excellent idea.

              • Urban Rascal

                Look, as it stands these products are exactly (if not worse) than buying an unlabelled drug from your street dealer. They have no requirement to list what’s in them, there is no requirement for them to be made in a sterile environment. They can just as likely be made right along side a meth production.
                Essentially your arguing that the drug dealer sells the same kind of product legally, in which case make them all legal IMO.

          • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1.2

            Because no one has the right to stop any person making a free choice to put any given substance into their body.

            Actually, considering that we’ll be picking up the bill when it goes terribly wrong, we do have that right.

            The body I occupy is mine and I will never recognise anyone’s authority to tell me what I may or may not put into it, in my own time and on my own terms, and while harming no one else.

            That’s also part of the point – some of these drugs make people more violent and so you could end up hurting some one else. P comes to mind.

            …but at some point consenting adults need to be left to make their own choices, for better or worse.

            They need to be able to make up their own minds while having full information which this process will help them to have. In fact, that’s what I think is the main reason for regulations – allowing people to act with full information even when they themselves don’t have that information.

            • Ben 7.1.1.1.2.1

              “Actually, considering that we’ll be picking up the bill when it goes terribly wrong, we do have that right.”

              I guess you’re “for” the regulation of things like Coca Cola, then?

              “That’s also part of the point – some of these drugs make people more violent and so you could end up hurting some one else. P comes to mind.”

              There are laws which deal with harm to others already.

              “They need to be able to make up their own minds while having full information which this process will help them to have. In fact, that’s what I think is the main reason for regulations – allowing people to act with full information even when they themselves don’t have that information.”

              Actually, it stops them from making up their own minds full stop: Someone else assesses the risks involved in ingesting a particular substance and determines whether that risk is acceptable for anybody. Some people might be OK with that level of risk. I do agree more information is a good thing, hence labelling requirements etc. At least then people can read it and say “that has ingredient X in it which has never been tested on humans so no thanks.” Or not. Their choice.

              I also take the point (made elsewhere in this thread) that there is genuine public interest in the regulation of antibiotics, etc.

              • Urban Rascal

                Labelling requirements are something this industry should have had from day one. Instead the industry has shown time and again to be irresponsible and not acting in the benefits of their core users safety.

                • Ben

                  “Labelling requirements are something this industry should have had from day one. ”

                  Agreed.

                  And please don’t mistake my opposition to laws like this as defending party pill producers / retailers – I’m not. I just like the freedom to make my own decisions when it comes to drugs.

              • Draco T Bastard

                I guess you’re “for” the regulation of things like Coca Cola, then?

                Last time I looked, Coca Cola was already regulated via the relevant food regulations.

                There are laws which deal with harm to others already.

                It’s usually better to prevent the harm in the first place if at all possible which it mostly is with psychotropic drugs.

                Someone else assesses the risks involved in ingesting a particular substance and determines whether that risk is acceptable for anybody.

                Yeah, it’s specialisation and is a normal part of any community as nobody can know everything. If everyone had to go round doing the reading/research to find out all the information that they need to make decisions then nothing would ever get done. To get over this major inefficiency that you want to impose upon us we get scientists to do the research and then put in place regulation that makes it so that everyone effectively knows that information.

      • Reality Bytes 7.1.2

        Without bothering to read the new legislation, I recon it must be a virtual certain there is some exemption for alchol+tobacco+legal-drugs to meet this benchmark. There has to be, we could get in big trouble and majorly sued as a country if we don’t respect the IP rights of alchol+tobacco marketeers.

  8. Urban Rascal 8

    In a fair society that Dunne believes in there can be no excuse for other pschoactive drugs not being put through the testing. But with a reasonable knowledge of the cost to manufacturers in regards to running clinical trials etc, this legislation is really an execution to the party pill industry. They simply won’t be able to afford the trials for each and every substance they use, unless backed by far wealthier “overlords”.

    Nutriceutical Companies selling Vitamin C or other natural supplements that have 100’s of years of anecdotal evidence are still unable to afford the medical trials and testing that I assume these pills will now go through. Good on Dunne, in this case these substance were extremely risky and unknown.
    If someone managed to put cannabis, mushrooms or mesculine through the process we’d have to accept the truth of those substances and the great potential they have for medical discovery.

    Alas too much cash, government blocking and pharmaceutical scare tactics will continue to hold off any development in that area. God-forbid someone could use a plant to treat their mental health instead of Prozac.

  9. Matthew 9

    ALAC – the advisory board that tells problem drinkers to ‘just have a couple’.

    The biggest problem with this is where the funding will come from. Most industry insiders are already saying that the costs involved will destroy the industry, but Dunne is sure that his regulatory authority will be ‘industry funded’. So when the industry collapses, so does the authority, or will it morph into something that extends its own mandate to ensure its own survival. So we next see a variety of medicinal herbs designated ‘unproven safe’ & required for testing.
    Will this unwittingly (or otherwise) spell the end of the herbal supplement industry as bureaucrats search for other things to test?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 9.1

      abstinence isnt even required for AA. Why do you think ALAC should be promoting it

    • Urban Rascal 9.2

      That would be worrying, but most supplement makers follow pretty stringent SOP’s and run production close to how a pharmaceutical company would. It becomes a bad idea if they begin to force non-psychoactive supplements to prove through medical trials and pharmaceutical standards that their supplements work.
      This already exists in law, for a supplement to make any health claim it must be backed and there are tight rules on what can be said on packaging leaving companies only testimonial evidence and word of mouth. I can’t see them being pulled in mainly as they aren’t psycho-active.
      The FDA in america has time and time again worked on behalf of the Pharmaceutical lobby though so who knows what impact a TPPA would have on this industry.
      I doubt the authority will ever really be fully formed, just the announcement is likely enough to kill the industry.

    • weka 9.3

      The attempt to regulate herbal medicine and supplements has been fought for over a decade. So far the users of herbal medicine and supplements are winning. Google the therapeutic goods act +nz. It’s a bit of a minefield though.
       

  10. felix 10

    So more drugs are illegal? Problem sorted then, no-one’s going to risk taking illegal drugs.

    Well dunne.

  11. prentsdoosh 11

    Where’s Pete George? I enjoy reading him scramble to defend shit like this.

    [Bunji: he’s on a week’s ban for misrepresenting an author]

  12. prentsdoosh 12

    Up to his old tricks, eh?

  13. Richard Christie 13

    How the hell do you determine or prove safety?

    No side effects?
    Minimal side effects?
    Is being stoned safe?
    Exceeding sensible or recommended doses unsafe?

    I bet the bar will shift all over the playing field.

  14. Bill 14

    Social and health effects of alcohol, cannabis, opiates and so on…pretty well known. And many of the adverse social problems can be ammeliorated by legislative changes. (ie legalise or decriminalise etc)

    Social and health effects of party pills and other chemical concoctions? Pretty well unknown.

    Seems to me that if the more natural drugs, that have been consumed for thousands of years and whose health effects are pretty well known, were to be legalised, then the potential health timebomb resulting from untested substances being injested would be avoided.

    • Ben 14.1

      “Seems to me that if the more natural drugs, that have been consumed for thousands of years and whose health effects are pretty well known, were to be legalised, then the potential health timebomb resulting from untested substances being injested would be avoided.”

      I like your thinking.

  15. MrSmith 15

    Coming to a town near you: Prescription drugs in the USA are now killing twice as many people as illegal drugs http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/story/2012-02-20/Whitney-Houston-prescription-drugs/53181038/1

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      But the drug cartels corporations are the friends of government!

      • MrSmith 15.1.1

        Yes CV, you just have to love what that ‘free’ market capitalism gets you, more legal profits for the pushers, and the keys to the back door of the white house, while Politicians like Dunny get tough on illegal drugs only because these illegal drug dealers aren’t contributing to his campaign fund.

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  • The Government knows diddly squat about health funding
    Asked about the funding of the Auckland Regional Public Health Service, the Associate Minister of Health was at sea today on the typhoid outbreak, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “When I asked Nicky Wagner who was responsible for the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Nicky Wagner blames disability workers for Govt’s funding failure
    Nicky Wagner displayed disrespect and sheer arrogance when she insulted disability support workers today, says Labour’s Disability Issues spokesperson Poto Williams. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Parata in denial over special education crisis
    Hekia Parata has her head buried in the sand when it comes to the pressure that schools are under as they attempt to cope with an increasing number of children with severe behavioural and other learning support needs, says Labour’s ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Data-for-funding move hits Privacy roadblock
    The Government’s much-criticised grab for private client data from social service organisations has suffered another defeat after the Privacy Commissioner’s damning report, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “This is a defeat for the Government’s plans to force social ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New research shows need for government-led house building
    Research by economist Shamubeel Eaqub shows the need for the government to lead the building of affordable starter homes, as would happen under Labour’s KiwiBuild policy, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 weeks ago