The Soap Box: Govt can't do much about people taking drugs

Author
Barry Soper,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Friday, 28 July 2017, 5:38AM
There are again calls for cannabis to be legalised, at least with the home grown non chemical weed, people know what they're sucking into their lungs. (Photo \ Getty Images)
There are again calls for cannabis to be legalised, at least with the home grown non chemical weed, people know what they're sucking into their lungs. (Photo \ Getty Images)

Politics is a funny old business and produces some strange ideas but rarely lasting, innovative policies. We'll be on the lookout for those in the final weeks in the lead-up to the election. But this week's had its fair share of the weird and wacky.

Weird is the ongoing business of Metiria Turei and her fessing up to benefit fraud and taking umbrage about being questioned on it, particularly about giving birth being a mother's choice, which has nothing to do with to do with denying the right of the poor to have babies, as she claimed. And questions about others she knows of committing benefit fraud and her astonishment at the notion of dobbing them in.

It's fair conversations between politicians and constituents should be treated in confidence but in my experience politicians stop a conversation, avoiding the detail if an offence is likely to be revealed, but usually go on to offer advice. Turei exploited her knowledge of others doing what she did which, whether she likes it or not, offering them encouragement to continue breaking the law, for a lawmaker that's inexcusable.

It's not as though in her time of welfare abuse she wouldn't have had access to other assistance anyway, the grandmother of her child is former Labour MP and assistant Parliamentary Speaker Anne Hartley.

And on another crisis the cry inevitably went up: What's the Government going to do about it? It's as if the Government has the magic wand that'll ward off all evil.

The death of eight people in Auckland after smoking lethal synthetic cannabis is a case in point. The answer is the Government can't do much about people taking illegal drugs other than having a vigilant police force and one can only hope they track down whoever pedaled this heinous stuff and arrest them.

There are again calls for cannabis to be legalised, at least with the home grown non chemical weed, people know what they're sucking into their lungs. Even Peter Dunne likes the idea of weed being seen as a health issue rather than a legal one but says he can't make that happen with the stroke of a pen. With both National and Labour vehemently opposed to any liberalisation, don't hold your breath.

Former pot smoker now Police Minister Paula Bennett says even though she has some sympathy for the argument, it won't be rushed into Parliament given it's a very complex issue.

Now that's a little difficult to understand, just as her colleague Michael Woodhouse was, on the economics of backing down on the income threshold for migrants on workers' visas. It means they can stay as long as they're needed if they're mid-skilled, with employers required to pay them forty one and a half grand rather than the forty nine it was going to be set at.

"That could well result in wages going up, not down," Woodhouse incredibly claimed!

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