Friday, November 9, 2018

Government by stuffed shirts


The Drug Foundation has released an economic report making the case for legalising all recreation drugs and treating them as a health issue requiring regulations, as per alcohol and tobacco, rather than criminal sanctions.  Apart from the compelling logical case, it estimates this would result in hundreds of millions of dollars of benefit to society.

Newshub asked National's Mark Mitchell what he thought of the report (see from 1:28 in this news item).  Mitchell says that if he took a recommendation to decriminalise drugs to the National caucus the response would be "No way."  Not "Well, perhaps we'd better have a look at the report and compare its evidence against evidence provided by others" - just "No way."  This pack of stuffed shirts was running the country only a year or so back, and boy was it obvious.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

A 'health issue?" If the current government is to be believed the NZ health system is already under immense pressure due to the "neglect" of the previous government. Yeah right!!!!

Cadwallader

Anonymous said...

Utterly impossible..... The Mongrel mob, Black power, Bandidos, Hells Angels, Headhunters etc,etc,etc are now an integral part of the NZ economy and we would not want to deprive this sector of an income. Think of the ramifications, a drop in the luxury car and motor cycle market and the corresponding drop in taxes. This would also raise the spectre of lengthening dole queues.

The Police might have to actually accept that in spite of their Judge Dredd uniforms they have been spectacularly and expensively unsuccessful in their attempts to curtail a social phenomenon that has been fuelled by denial and sanctions.

Lord Egbut

George said...

Does this mean that those drug tests before employment are going to be phased out?

Anonymous said...

No...not unless you are stupid and lacking in imagination.

Henry

The Veteran said...

PM ... drival and you can't even get your facts right. The report called for the decriminalisation of ALL drugs ... not just recreational drugs as you so quaintly put it (unless you classify heroin, methamphetamine et al as 'recreational' ... perhaps you do).

As for the reaction of Mitchell ... I would be very suprised if that were not the unanimous view of the National and NZ First caucuses and the majority view of the Labour caucus. To do what the Drug Foundation suggests would be electoral suicide and I do hope that Chloe Swarbrick's endorsement of the report reflects the Green Party position.

Noel said...

It's from the Drug Foundation.
We are going to face all sorts of non peer reviewed studies from them in the build up to the referendum.
I loved the one they were promoting about cannabis use and when you got to the disclaimer it was revealed that the study was not a representation of the views of all New Zealanders but those who had a selfish reason for change.

Anonymous said...

Noel.....overlooking the even more selfish reason not to change....aah yes, that covers Veterans "electoral suicide" remark.

The present attitude and system costs millions but does provide employment but at a huge ongoing social cost that increases year by year.

Instead of criticising what has worked in other countries how about coming up with a another plan apart from doubling jail time, psychiatric care, domestic violence and racial tension. The results are out there in the real world...please do a bit of research before adopting a party political stance. Can't wait for the lefty righty thing to start.

Lord Egbut


Anonymous said...

The Portuguese experiment would be a good place to start if the Govt had the guts.

https://mic.com/articles/110344/14-years-after-portugal-decriminalized-all-drugs-here-s-what-s-happening#.zn1MYKx6e

Lord Egbut

David said...

Electoral suicide? If Labour, national, and Green all agreed, and all went out in full explanation mode, do you seriously think NZers would elect a full on Winston govt?

Sometimes a bipartisan policy is the best policy, not the "they want it therefore we don't" politics as usual.

New Zealand's drug policy is based on doing, once again, what the US wants.

The Veteran said...

David ... pretty difficult to seek a bi-partisan position based on a stupid premise. This ain't cannabis we're talking about. What is proposed is the normalisation of hard drugs. You really want that?

This ain't left vs right. This is right vs wrong.

David said...

Veteran, it should be neither left or right, right v wrong, but simply a matter of following the science and legislating based on harm minimisation. Drug addiction must be treated as a health issue, just like lung cancer and liver disease, not a criminal matter.

Some drugs, eg cannabis and MDMA are quite harmless when compared to alcohol and tobacco. The usual source of harm from those drugs is impurities, not the active ingredients themselves.

Alcohol and tobacco impose enormous cost burdens on the health system, costs borne by the entire community. You may argue that some of those costs are covered by the taxes paid. Cannabis and MDMA mostly impose costs on the legal system, minimal costs to the health system. Legalise and tax, and far more of the revenue would be available for things other than law enforcement and health.

Ever wondered why you can't get a cop to show up when your house is burgled? They're all too busy looking for grass.

If you haven't already, I urge you to follow Egbut's link above and then read Chasing the Scream by Johan Hari. It is not perfect, but it is a good run down of how we got here and where we need to go.

Noel said...

Buttarse I'm all for the referendum and will accept the result. Will others?

The Veteran said...

But David ... they're not talking just about cannabis and MDMA. If they were I might, just might, be prepared to look at the issue. But 'they're' talking about Class A drugs.

There are two sides to the Portuguese experiment and while the number of drug related deaths decreased initially the rate is now almost at the same level as it was before the change in policy. But more importantly the lifetime use of all previously illicit drugs has increased from 7.8% to 12%; cannabis usage from 7.6% to 11.7%; cocaine use has more than doubled from 0.9% to 1.9%; ecstasy from 0.7% to 1.3% and heroin from 0.7% to 1.1% ... and I repeat ... this is lifetime usage. You're arguing for that?????

Might there be a degree of correlation between the Portuguese attitude to drugs and the fact it ranks 34th in the 2018 Global Competitive Index Report published by the Worls Economic Forum and New Zealand rated 18th.

Psycho Milt said...

PM ... drival and you can't even get your facts right. The report called for the decriminalisation of ALL drugs ... not just recreational drugs as you so quaintly put it (unless you classify heroin, methamphetamine et al as 'recreational' ... perhaps you do).

My description was accurate. Recreational drugs are called recreational to distinguish them from medicinal ones, ie the purpose of taking it is for pleasure rather than health benefits. The term applies to heroin and methamphetamine the same as it does to tobacco and alcohol.

As for the reaction of Mitchell ... I would be very suprised if that were not the unanimous view of the National and NZ First caucuses and the majority view of the Labour caucus.

Yes, I expect there are some stuffed shirts in the Labour caucus as well. I was just surprised to see an MP state so bluntly that his colleagues rate their personal prejudice so much higher than evidence.

Psycho Milt said...

What is proposed is the normalisation of hard drugs. You really want that?

We already have that. If we categorised drugs based on evidence of harm (how addictive they are, how they affect your health, risk of fatal overdose, social effects), alcohol would be somewhere near the top of the list. It's a very hard drug, it's legal and regulated, and society somehow continues to fail to collapse.

The Veteran said...

Milt ... we can agree that alcohol is an issue for 10-15% of the populace who abuse it ... it's not an issue for the 85% of Kiwis who drink responsibility. But heroin and methamphetamine et al is a problem for 100% of those who use it ... you're kidding yourself if you think heroin and methamphetamine can be used responsibility.

But please please promote this as Green Party policy ... suggest you make it non-negotiable.

Stuffed shirts indeed. I prefer the responsible vs the irresponsible.

Psycho Milt said...

Suppose alcohol were a class A drug. Only a certain sector of society would use it, and those users would be buying illegally distilled and sometimes fatally toxic alcohol, sold at extremely high prices by criminal gangs that wouldn't hesitate to commit violent crimes against purchasers or dupe them into addiction that would require the purchasers themselves to become criminals to fund the addiction. Alcohol under those circumstances would be a problem for 100% of those who used it. The drugs themselves are irrelevant, it's the criminal sanctions that create the problem.

Yes, it would be electoral suicide to promote this as party policy, because popular prejudice trumps evidence for most people. It's nice to see some starting to put it out there, though - maybe in a few decades the rest will have caught up.

Anonymous said...

Simple, classify alcohol as a Class A. Problem solved.

Psycho Milt said...

I can't decide whether you're ignorant of the meaning of the word "problem," or of the word "solved." Are you aware yourself which it is?

Also: speaking of electoral suicide...

The Veteran said...

PM ... so we ignore the evidence from Portugal showing an increase in lifetime addiction rates .... because it doesn't suit your meme????????

Anonymous said...

Veteran.....I can't believe you wrote that. Have you even read the the yearly reports processed over 14 years. Yours is not a rational argument when you cherry pick a single fact from three years ago......before you reply to this please read.

http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/countries/drug-reports/2018/portugal_en

The fact that HIV cases alone have dropped from 500 a year to 30 since 2006. Translate that into NZ terms and the saving in the Health service alone would make a change of policy worth pursuing. Try and see beyond the politics.....mmm, that could be a hard ask.

Lord Egbut

Gerald said...

I've no problem with the decriminalization of drugs but that report favours legalisation.
If the concern is really about those who are addicted decriminalization with increased expenditure on withdrawal programs must surely be more important?

Anonymous said...

How much NZ police time is taken up by drug related crime that is committed in order to pay off the gangs for the next fix?

Portugal had crime stats that were sky high in the 90's and now it is considered the 3rd most peaceful country in the world....the money saved in policing and public health would far outweigh any down side to decriminalising recreational drugs.......and yes there are and will be down sides depending on who drafts the law.

If the system ain't broke don't fix it.......when it is broken, fix it.

Lord Egbut

Gerald said...

Portugal decriminalize all drugs. It didn't legalise them.By default NZ Police have decriminalize cannabis for some time and it has been suggested the Police costs won't be much different if we revitalised tomorrow.

Gerald said...

F...king predictive spelling.
Decriminalize

Noel said...

https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/91904.pdf

https://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/Laqueur_%282014%29_-_Uses_and_Abuses_of_Drug_Decriminalization_in_Portugal_-_LSI.pdf

"Portugal’s Decriminalization Act is not based on a principle of an individual’s right to consume drugs free from state intrusion. The Act still prohibits drug use subject to citation, and cultivation for personal use remains criminally prohibited.
Instead, Portugal’s Decree Law 30/2000 explicitly seeks to extend the protective function of the state by replacing criminal sanctions with the invitation to seek treatment."

Be a lot of pissed off stoners in NZ if the outcome is decriminalisation and not legalisation?

Anonymous said...

http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/countries/drug-reports/2018/portugal_en