What are our values?

UnitedFuture wants to ensure that New Zealand’s drug laws focus on healthcare and harm reduction. We endorse heading towards a Portugal-style model to achieve this.

Our model of reform is based on the principles of tolerance, compassion and innovation.

We do not want to see people subjected to the criminal justice system if they are suffering from an addiction or drug use that would be better treated through the health system.  Therefore, we want to see healthcare become the primary motivator behind our drug policy.

We want to see a new framework for drug policy introduced that is firmly based on evidence.  That evidence exists from the Portuguese experience, where a health-centred approach is used in the first instance of low-level possession infringements, while still retaining tough constraints and sanctions on the supply side.

  1. The use of healthcare options in the first instance for possession
  2. Place health care and treatment at the centre of drug policy
  3. Create a regulated market for drugs that are proved low-risk
  4. Shut criminals out of the market
What will we do?
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Introduce health-centred solutions in the first instance

We would introduce a health-first approach for low-level possession.  This would mean introducing new sentencing guidelines, which would allow courts to implement assessment and rehabilitation for people caught with a small level of Class C drugs (no more than a weeks supply for an individual).

Widening the scope of how courts can deal with this type of offending provides much-needed flexibility in the way we deal with low-level drug possession. It allows a middle ground between ignoring the law and using heavy handed criminal sanctions.

We would retain penalties for the sale, supply and cultivation of drugs listed under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.

This approach stops people who are caught with low-levels of drugs being forced through a criminal system that often does not provide a long-term benefit to them or to society at large.

Superannuation

Health care and treatment at the centre of drug policy

We would provide a large boost to our treatment and assessment services for rehabilitation.  This will naturally occur as a result of the change to how we deal with sanctions, but we would further expand the resourcing for healthcare and treatment to ensure that front-line drug support services continue to provide the quality help and support that people need to improve their futures.

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Create a regulated market for drugs that are proved safe

We would remove current Class C drugs from the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 and place them under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013. This will allow suppliers to submit drugs for testing to ensure safety.  Once the Ministry of Health is satisfied that a drug is low-risk that supplier may be granted a license to research, retail, import or manufacture.  This process is tightly regulated to ensure a safe, evidence-based, legal mechanism for licensing low risk recreational drugs for sale.

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Shutting criminals out of the market

No criminal organisation will be ever meet that standard or be granted such a licence, which would completely exclude gangs from this market. Instead, we would have a regulated market for all drugs, synthetic or otherwise, that the Psychoactive Substances Authority considers pose a low risk to users. The possession and supply of all other drugs would remain illegal.

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