Darroch Ball, Law and Order Spokesperson
New Zealand First has negotiated a strengthening of the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill, ensuring clarity for police officers when dealing with offenders found in possession of a controlled substance.
The amendment, tabled today by Minister of Health Hon Dr David Clark, ensures that a health-centred or therapeutic approach should only be taken where such an approach would be more beneficial to the public interest than prosecution.
Previously, it was not clear in the legislation whether such an approach should be taken when it is “more beneficial” to the individual, or “more beneficial” to the “public interest”.
“This will mean that prosecution remains available to police if the offence is serious enough, ensuring police can continue to prevent harm and keep New Zealanders safe,” says New Zealand First Spokesperson for Law and Order, Darroch Ball.
“The New Zealand Police have advised that this change will more closely align the Bill with their current practice, giving both them, and the public, greater certainty,” added Mr Ball.