If you believe in it, put something on the line

Written By: - Date published: 7:21 pm, August 25th, 2009 - 54 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, maori party, Maori seats - Tags: , , ,

It’s a strange day when you’re praising Tau Henare. But at least he’s standing up for Maori seats, unlike the pathetic display from Pita Sharples. Henare’s email brought to public attention Hide’s bullying threat to resign over the seats. Today, he kept up the fight having a go at Hide for his wag the dog tactics and at Sharples for asking National’s (few) Maori MPs to turn on their party by voting for Maori seats but not putting his own ministerial position on the line.
 
Sharples in contrast has been absolutely pathetic. He sounded like he had battered partner syndrome on Morning Report ‘yes, John hits me, but I understand why he does it, and I don’t want to leave him, sometimes he’s really nice’, and in Question Time he had a bumbling, inconsistent Lockwood Smith to shield him from any tough questions.
 
Turia, well, when she stood to speak during the debate today, there was some confusion on the speaker’s part as to what she wanted. “I’m standing to speak, let me speak” she said in a small, broken, plaintive voice. Sums it up.
 
Sharples and Turia have got to decide whether the baubles of office are worth this public destruction of their mana, and their party’s mana. It’s not too late to grow some courage and walk away from this government if it refuses to give Maori their voice.

54 comments on “If you believe in it, put something on the line”

  1. RedLogix 1

    Sad. I always had some liking and respect for Dr Sharples. He’s intelligent, thoughtful, and I believe, a decent man who if given the opportunity would do good things for this nation.

    But right now he’s bent over a barrel with his trousers down around his ankles, for the merriment of a bunch of Tory racists.

    You’re right. Life in the ministerial limo is an muffling, alienating thing. A dawn visit to to a few Saturday markets might be the cracking cold dose he needs right now.

  2. Pascal's bookie 2

    I suspect they are waiting for the F&S to get sorted.

    • The Voice of Reason 2.1

      They’ll be waiting a long time. Now that they’ve been exposed as a busted flush, there is no way Key will need to do anything for them. They can keep pulling down the salaries, continue to enjoy the view from the back of the limos and just get used to achieving bugger all for the people who voted for them.

      • gobsmacked 2.1.1

        Certainly Sharples has shown his political naivety (or honesty if you like) in his promise to stick with the gov’t regardless. Not much of a negotiating position, before the F & S decision.

        A more practised pollie would be saying something like: “I don’t make childish threats to resign, I’m here to deliver, and I’m confident that the government will do that, on the seabed and foreshore. I have John Key’s assurance on that.”.

        Don’t just give it away.

  3. gobsmacked 3

    Seashore & forebed, innit?

    Getting your hands dirty is part of power, and I don’t blame the Maori Party for doing so after the election.

    But in return, the Maori Party now has to win big on its foundation policy. We’ll find out next month.

    Otherwise they’re just Alamein Kopu, minus the cups of tea.

    • RedLogix 3.1

      OK that makes sense. After all ACT always saw the S&F thing as a matter of ‘private property rights’, so maybe there is a deal going on here. Sharples rolls on this one, Hide on the S&F… and we’re all back to one big happy family.

  4. Tau Henare performance today was a disgrace, what a repugnant little man he is.

    There is sticking up for what you believe in, and then there is being a downright idiot.

    We are a sad bunch of people if we support what he did.

    Heck, the USA has someone Brilliant in Obama.

    We have Tau Henare.

  5. Ron 5

    The interesting thing to me is that Sharples and turia don’t have to put much on th line at all. They could easily be a LOT more vocal about the Maori seats and make a lot of noise and challenge the “different but together” image that Jonkey is trying to sell.
    Couldn’t they even cross the floor if they really wanted to show some chutzpah? JK would then have to either man up or look very sad. Either way it would be close to breaking the guvmint.

  6. toad 6

    Kia ora Tau. This is one of the the few things you have got (at least somewhat)right since the days we knew each other as fellow unionists and you then entered Parliament.

    But you’re still wimping out. Stick up for what you believe in, and cross the floor. The bravado and the stauch language don’t count jack shit – it’s actions that count Tau.

    What is more important? Your personal integrity as a representative of your people, or your loyalty to a party that has always given your people shit (even more so than Labour), and appears to be cowtowing to ACT’s racist demands that they again give your people shit?

    • gobsmacked 6.1

      In fairness to Tau (gulp!), it’s hard under MMP to cross the floor on party votes.

      It’s one area where NZ’s parliament is lacking, compared with Congress, House of Commons, etc. Backbench MPs regularly vote against their party in many other jurisdictions. Here it’s a big deal, and we’d have a better democracy if it wasn’t.

  7. Brett 7

    I think Labour should really make compulsory Maori seats on all local boards the main platform for the next election ,its a sure fire vote winner

  8. Colvin 8

    The Maori party coalition is a tricky one, but I am getting annoyed by Labour having a go at the Maori Party so much instead of getting stuck into the people actually making the decisions here. I think the left is still dismayed about the coalition because they think the Maori Party should only side with them. I think Turia and Sharples often act with dignity, and this is another case. They are sort of like the Greens in this way. They don’t go around like babies. It’s effectiveness can still be argued for both parties…

    In the long term though, I think it will be good for the Maori Party to show they aren’t just Labour’s poodle.

    • The Voice of Reason 8.1

      Colvin, the Maori Party have never been Labour’s poodle. Turia left Labour to help form the new party, but that’s about as close as it gets. Helen Clark effectively ruled them out of any coalition under her leadership, but to me, they’ve never looked like they would go with anyone but National since their formation.

      The weird thing about them is that the MP’s are far more conservative than their voters. Even socialists like Matt McCarten were fooled into thinking the Maori Party would be a left wing voice for Maori, but the reality is the Maori Party doesn’t really exist to advance Maori. It’s an electoral machine for the advancement of a couple of chancers and a couple of deluded idealists who must be feeling very, very sick today. If there is a poodle, it’s clearly Peter Sharples.

      • RedLogix 8.1.1

        The weird thing about them is that the MP’s are far more conservative than their voters.

        What is weird is the blinkers most Pakeha have around how highly class oriented Maori society really is. From the outside we do tend to make the mistake of lumping all Maori in as one big brown proletariat, but from the inside they see a far more finely nuanced, graduated iwi system… in which whakapapa (lineage) is the foundation of who you are.

        Of course we have always been aware of the obvious blue-bloods of the Maori world, the Tirikatene-Sullivan’s for instance, but what we have not been willing to see is that like most Polynesian cultures, Maori are in Pakeha political terms, far more innately conservative than the left is wont to fondly imagine.

        Labour and Maori happily co-operated for decades when their economic class interests co-aligned, but at the point that Labour became more focussed around socially liberal identity politics, the rift inevitably gradually opened, culminating in the formation of the MP.

        What is of real concern in the longer run, if John Key really does let the MP be screwed over, will be the question of where Maori political aspiration will go. Back to Labour? No open signs of that ground being prepared. Maybe the Greens I would love to think, but that configuration would struggle with a huge socially conservative/liberal chasm to bridge.

        Go even further right and snuggle up with ACT, pursing sovereignty along a pure ‘property rights’ line?

        The worst outcome would be if Maori lost faith with the political process altogether. That would hand this nation an unpinned social grenade.

        • The Voice of Reason 8.1.1.1

          I see what you mean, Red, but the voting patterns still suggest that most on the maori roll see Labour as ‘their’ party, too. That suggests to me that the Labour party values and history are more in line with what maori want generally, but that the Maori party offer some specific policies that are also worth voting for. MMP allows, even encourages, this approach. That’s kinda kewl, ay?

        • Lew 8.1.1.2

          Damnit, lost half a comment. Let’s try again.

          What is weird is the blinkers most Pakeha have around how highly class oriented Maori society really is.

          It’s a funny sort of class, though, more symbolic than the material sort you Marxists are usually on about.

          I can see the argument (and Daveo’s more crudely made) that the elites are just in it to get while the gettin’s good so they can divvy it all up along whakapapa lines; but I don’t buy it. It’s simplistic thinking along the lines of ‘what would whitey do?’ You can’t just apply the motives of colonisers to the actions of the colonised. They simply aren’t driven by the same forces.

          I know you’re just itching to squeal ‘noble savage’ at me again, RL, and that’s never been my argument. There are greedy and corrupt Māori, as anywhere else. Often they are those who work tirelessly for their people, such as Donna Awatere-Huata, who did genuinely good and important things before falling from grace. But these people exist everywhere. What’s different is that the role of Māori elites, as with indigenous elites everywhere in the colonies, is to try to represent their people to the dominant cultures and classes in order that they’ll be better understood and more accepted; and more importantly, to enable their people to participate in dominant culture without being assimilated by it. Money, status, and the ‘baubles’ are an important part of that, because they are signifiers of mana in Western society just as in indigenous society; without them neither side sees success or pays much attention. The Carrolls and the Ngatas and the Ratas and the Latimers and Te Heuheus and all of those folks – and even those in parliament and leading the military and running Sealord today – are demonstrating that Māori can succeed, and do so without sacrificing their identity.

          I’ve spent a fair bit of my life in and around marginal Māori communities – remote, impoverished, traditional and transient – between marae and state house. The biggest problems facing these communities – at either end, out on the ancestral land and in the urban slums – are to do with acceptance by Pākehā who control the economy and society, and who norm Māori out to the margins. Māori have demonstrated by their actions that they are not prepared to sacrifice their identity to economic or social success, so the two must meet or things will continue to be bad and ugly. Solve the acceptance problems which force many Māori to choose between identity and success – and the social and economic problems solve themselves.

          This is why the māori party shouldn’t fall on its taiaha for failing to extract tactical policy concessions from National. Yes, mana whenua seats in Auckland is a big deal, but there are bigger deals than two (or so) seats on a board elected at-large by First Past the Post. One is the Foreshore and Seabed Act; the other is normalising kaupapa Māori politics and proving it can succeed without sacrificing its identity. Jury’s still out on both those.

          I agree that the worst possible outcome is Māori becoming disillusioned with politics and opting out of it. The results would be catastrophic. Māori loyalty to Labour (via Ratana) has been responsible for the pin not being pulled so far – ironically, it’s Labour’s betrayal which led to the māori party being formed. What further role will they play?

          L

          • RedLogix 8.1.1.2.1

            It got too late last night to make a decent reply to the above Lew, but it’s a fine effort and I appreciate the thought that went into it.

            I may not wholly agree with the conclusions you have drawn, and that will surprise neither of us, but at this point you had me wholly nodding in agreement:

            I’ve spent a fair bit of my life in and around marginal Māori communities remote, impoverished, traditional and transient between marae and state house. The biggest problems facing these communities at either end, out on the ancestral land and in the urban slums are to do with acceptance by Pākehā who control the economy and society, and who norm Māori out to the margins.

            Back in the 80’s there was a period in my own life that sounds a little similar and no doubt equally influential in forming our views of the world.

            I don’t think we disagree on the root causes of this issue, but I’ve always felt that in the long run Maori and all those others who have emigrated here more recently, will eventually have to mutually assimilate (that misunderstood word) each other before this nation becomes one.

            • trippycarpet 8.1.1.2.1.1

              I still fail to see how the super city council is going to adequately represent anyone let alone Maori and “all those others” as you put it.

              We have gone years with not only inadequate representation but suppression and so to have many others who have chosen to reside here in Aotearoa. There is no country that could be described as one nation. But silencing our differences through assimilation can only get us further from it. The Maori seats are needed.

  9. Colvin 9

    Yea, the “Labour’s poodle” maybe isn’t quite correct on my behalf. Maybe the Maori Party are more conservative than their voters, but I wouldn’t call their leadership conservative. I also really don’t think they are just after the “baubles of office” (well no more than most MPs). They are a type of “electoral machine”, the same as any other party. These are just terms you could label any party with.

    They’ve never looked like going with anyone but National because Clark ruled them out – not because they were against a coalition with Labour. If they hung in the balance, I reckon they would’ve gone with Labour (well, if they didn’t they sure would have felt the wrath of their electorate) They exist to advance Maori probably more than any other party currently in parliament. It’s not yet a year in coalition, and hopefully Turia and Sharples are hanging in there because they know they will be able to make advances for Maori (and the poor). Particularly interested in if they can get through advances for more Maori community control of resources.

    Maybe it’s best for them to say “oh well, we’re with a Government doing things we don’t agree with, but at least we can get through some of the policies that our voters put us here for rather than sitting in opposition”. The things happening now would be happening even if they weren’t in this coalition…

    Being against this Government myself, I’ve always been unsure about them getting ‘in bed’ with them. Maybe it’s worth a try though…

    • The Voice of Reason 9.1

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there. The Greens have taken an ‘issue by issue’ position with both Labour and National with some success. The Maori Party have taken a more direct route and it’ll be interesting to see if they actually achieve more of their policies that way. On the evidence so far, probably not.

      The benefit of the Green’s approach is distance from any unpopular or anti worker/anti maori policies of any government it makes occasional deals with. The Maori Party have to accept they support those same ugly policies, just by being part of the current government.

      If they can succesfully spin the lack of policy achieved and the downside of association with an anti-maori government some of their MP’s may get re-elected. But I think Labour must now be sensing an opportunity to get the majority of the maori seats back.

      • Colvin 9.1.1

        I don’t think Labour should be too worried about winning the Maori seats. Whether they do or not, they still end up with the same number of MPs in parliament. They do need to keeep getting a high party vote with Maori though.

        Not being Maori, or particularly involved in Maori communities, I’m not sure how they are reacting to Labour having a go at the Maori Party all the time. They need to be careful though. The Maori Party is obviously still very popular, and Maori may get a bit annoyed at Labour having a swipe at ‘their party’ so often.

        I’m looking forward to the Foreshore and Seabed stuff opening up again. Could get the right-wing kneejerk again if they feel any of their property rights are under threat, and it could be the issue for the Maori Party to really get stuck in and possibly leave.

        Actually, as a supreme tactician, I thought the Maori Party should go with National – get a couple of wins where you can, but storm off once things are going bad for the Government when Key doesn’t do what you want on a big social issue. They’d look awesome then! Maori Party would look stupid if they stormed off now – Key still looks like ‘the nice guy’ to most/a lot of the country. Also why Labour has laid off the personal attacks against Key.

        • Daveo 9.1.1.1

          “Their party”?

          Don’t be fooled by the branding, more Maori voted Labour than Maori Party.

          • Colvin 9.1.1.1.1

            Sure. Labour is still currently the most popular. I’m just saying that because the name (I’d guess) would suggest to some people that it is ‘their party’. I don’t think Maori will be going against the Maori Party when they have appeared to fight for an issue but haven’t come up with a great win in these early days. Getting stuck into them may be seen as a bit arrogant actually. What have Labour done for Maori in this parliament?

            • Daveo 9.1.1.1.1.1

              They’ve voted against National’s right-wing budget that took money directly out of the pockets of poor Maori through a tax rise on low incomes and put it directly into the pockets of the wealthy through tax cuts for the rich. That would be the budget that the Maori Party voted for.

              Labour has also advocated for real action on jobs in the face of government inaction, better protection for the unemployed and introduced legislation for minimum redundancy protection. Given their gross overrepresentation in unemployment stats this is a core issue for Maori.

              Meanwhile the Maori Party’s done nothing but apologise for National’s inaction while egging on the privatisation of core infrastructure so the Maori business elite can get its hands on our national assets.

              The Maori Party aren’t a left-wing party, they’re a vehicle for Maori business interests that’s completely comfortable within a neoliberal framework. They make a bit of noise about the flag now and then to keep the plebs onside, but that’s about the limit of it.

            • Lew 9.1.1.1.1.2

              It’s not really the name so much as what it means. It’s not the big-M party where ‘Māori’ is a collective noun; it’s the small-m party where ‘māori’ is an adjective meaning ‘normal’ or ‘ordinary’. The use of the noun form to refer to the people is a Pākehā invention attributed to Williams. The ‘normal’ or ‘ordinary’ state referenced by the name is expressed in the māori party’s kaupapa, its founding principles from which all its policy (in principle) derives – these are self-consciously traditional values, although applied to modern circumstances, and it is a very particular sort of ‘normal’ that they mean.

              Because of this, those who say the māori party is a racial party are either ignorant or trying to discredit the party. It’s a party based in a philosophy, like any other party is – it’s just that that philosophy emerges from a different tradition than any other. It is for this reason that you’re right in a way to call the party ‘theirs’ – inasmuch as Māori voters adhere to or value this philosophy, they can vote for it, and many did. That they voted overwhelmingly for Labour in the party vote demonstrates their remarkable loyalty, and their understanding of the system – they would (in principle) get their Labour-led government, held to account by a group of people operating from within a kaupapa Māori paradigm which represented them.

              Course, it didn’t work out like that.

              L

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    Sharples and Turia have got to decide whether the baubles of office are worth this public destruction of their mana, and their party’s mana.

    Personally, I think they dropped the ball when they went with NACT.

  11. rischard williams 11

    Why should there be race based seats on the new greater Auckland council? I still don’t follow your emotive dog whistle tar’n’feather racist slander on this. Would you explain WHY please, because I may be a bit thicker than you and don’t understand.

  12. Salamander 12

    Why should there be race based seats on the new greater Auckland council? I still don’t follow your emotive dog whistle tar’n’feather racist slander on this. Would you explain WHY please, because I may be a bit thicker than you and don’t understand.

  13. Ron 13

    is it Rischard or Salamander?
    Sigh.
    In 2009 I am amazed there are still people making this sort of comment. The info is there for anyone who wants to understand. Anyone who doesn’t understand by now really oughta to take a long look at themselves.

    I am not going to go into every detail or every argument because the resulting to and fro bores me and I’m not qualified. My best summary is:

    Lets start with: the seats are not race based. They are Treaty based. The Treaty was signed by newcomers to NZ and the people that lived here. The Treaty is between the Crown and the Iwi that signed it. The people who lived here happened to be Maori so they’re Maori seats.

    Before you start on “the Treaty is out of date and not a legal document” – the Treaty of Waitangi has been tested on three separate occassions in major court cases and has been upheld on each occassion.

    So in order to fulfill the treaty obligations on both sides for shared governance (yes, I know that not the best term but is suits for this discussion) we should have Maori seats on every local body but especially on the biggest in the country.

  14. Batholomew Winstanley the III 14

    I say Ron!

    Enough heavy sighing as a way of implying your undying patience and the other chaps implied racism.

    Man not the ball eh.

    Oh, if it quacks like a race based seat it probably is chappie. Don’t drag the treaty into this one!!!

    • trippycarpet 14.1

      Its easy to go against something when you impersonalise it by throwing a race based sticker on it.

      The truth is the seats allow Maori to be represented by Maori on the New greater Auckland council. This enabling Maori world views to influence and guide the choices made by the council.
      To answer the question fully the Treaty does need to be brought up as Ron did.

      • Ron 14.1.1

        Um, yes it does, actually. The Treaty, I mean. there’s no other reason to have the seats.

    • Ron 14.2

      The sigh is same for you, mate. I implied wilful ignorance – not racism. The substance of my comment was no where near the man. And you haven’t addressed any of the issue – just repeated the slogan.

  15. LiberalismIsFascism 15

    specific seats for maori is apartheid.

    • Ron 15.1

      no it’s not – for the reasons above. Apartheid is a completely different situation. Again – you’re just spouting slogans..

  16. Felix:

    My point is, someone with the class and integrity of Obama would of debated Hyde on the issue, and explain his point of view using facts and hard data.

    While Tau Henare calls Hyde a jerk off.

    The most sad thing about this is, most people clapped Tau Henare like they were trained circus seals, perhaps all his supporters watch Springer instead of Cspan.

    There was nothing clever in what Tau Henare did, he wasn’t standing up for anything, and for the life of me, I cannot believe why some of the left thought it was great?

    Heck he reminds me of the right wingers who are protesting the public option in the states, just name calling and no substance, sums up Tau Henare perfectly.

  17. Salamander 17

    Specific rules based on race are racist by definition. No amount of hiding behind the treaty changes this.

    Democracy is for everyone equally, not weighted towards Maori.

    Get with the 21st century guys.

    Ron will you give up on your passive-aggressive tar’n’feather attacks e.g. “spouting slogans”, “wilfull ignorance” is the same as racism in this discussion, it’s juvenile and unsophisticated.

    • Pascal's bookie 17.1

      They are not based on ‘race’, numbnuts.

      If you inherit something off your dad, is that based on race?

      What is based on race though, is the idea that we should ignore the fact that agreements were signed just because they were signed with Maori.

      Essentially you are arguing that because we signed deals with Maori, we have to ignore them because fulfulling them ‘would be racist’.

      It’s a neat trick that. But it’s not pakeha you need to convince. If you want to move on from the treaty you have to renogotiate it. Just wishing it away won’t work, and is injust.

      None of which has anything at all to do with ‘race’.

      • Salamander 17.1.1

        Stop being abusive.

        Race based seats are racist. End of story.

        You guys need to get a grip on reality and realise being Maori doesn’t entitle one to more rights than others.

    • Ron 17.2

      Salamander – I’m sorry if I’ve offended but the Treaty is the Treaty and the “race based” line is a slogan.

      The Treaty will always will be the basis of these discussions whether you like it or not and it has been tested at least three times in the courts.

      A good example is Maori broadcasting. That was before people started using the “race based” slogan but I can see the posts had the blogosphere been functioning then. The result of a very expensive court case is plain to see – you might want to call it race based but the court disagreed. 20th Century law, I’ll admit but it turns out it’s the same in the 21st century.

      You can fight the law if you wanna – but in this case the law will win.

      When I see obviously informed people such as yourself continuing with the “race based” line in the face of the facts of the Treaty then I can only assume your ignorance of the history, structures, legalities and processes of the Treaty is, well, wilful.

  18. Pascal's bookie 18

    Race based seats are racist.

    Not honouring agreements because they happen to be with Maori, is racist.

    End of story.

    Nope. Not by a long shot.

    You guys need to get a grip on reality and realise being Maori doesn’t entitle one to more rights than others.

    You need to a grip on the fact that having an agreement with the crown entitles you to having that agreement adhered to. Even if you are Maori.

    Stop being abusive.

    Fuck off.

  19. Salamander 19

    You are so wrong, on so many levels.

    Stop being abusive.

    • felix 19.1

      Perhaps if you addressed some of the Pb’s points you could show where and how he’s wrong.

      The weight of your reasoning might enable others to see things from your perspective.

    • Pascal's bookie 19.2

      Stop being abusive.

      Yeah, I figured you’ve have another cry about that rather than talk about the topic…

      You are so wrong, on so many levels.

      …and look! I was right.

      Stop telling me what to do.

  20. Salamander 20

    You’re still wrong and still abusive in passive-aggressive manner this time.

    Grow up boy.

    • felix 20.1

      So you know he’s wrong but you won’t say how or why.

      C’mon, share with the group.

    • Pascal's bookie 20.2

      Tell me why I’m wrong.

      I’ve explained my position, you’ve just asserted yours and claimed that if others don’t agree they need to get a grip. Unconvincing. Arguments need more than just conclusions salamander. A helpful tip.

      As for abuse:

      Get with the 21st century guys

      it’s juvenile and unsophisticated.

      Grow up boy.

      It’s all you’ve got. Other than your stupid assertion that the seats are race based. They are not.

      It is not due to the fact that they are Maori that they should get seats, but due to the fact that Maori have a treaty with the crown. It is the treaty that is the reason, not the race.

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