You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

English kills the buzz on dope reform

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 28/05/2017

Prime Minister Bill English has poured cold water on the suggestion cannabis should be available through a controlled market.

United Future leader and Ohariu MP Peter Dunne hit the headlines over the weekend with his suggestion New Zealand move to a Portuguese model for drugs.

Anyone caught with less that seven days worth of Class C drugs wouldn't be prosecuted, but fined and sent for treatment.

Class C drugs could also be regulated under the Psychoactive Substances Act, which meant they would have to be tested and sold through licensed retailers.

"I think there's a public appetite for getting drugs out of control of the gangs," Mr Dunne said.

But Mr English isn't smoking from the same joint and says there are no plans to change drug laws.

"This is a drug that does real damage to people, particularly when it is combined with mental health problems and mental illness," he told Newshub on Monday morning.

"We don't want to create anymore damage."

Gangs made money through a range of criminal activities and did not just rely on selling dope, he said.

"I think he's making a lot of assumptions that all those things would follow from a decision to have it as a licensed trade."

Mr English denied the "war on drugs" was failing.

"Some aspects are working quite well," he said.

Police and customs were intercepting more drugs and there were greater treatment options, he said.

"There's always more to do when it comes to drugs that are damaging families and damaging people."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon