Today, around 150 people attended a rally at Ucol in Palmerston North to voice opposition to the sale of so called "legal highs" and the sale of them at a premise near the campus.
Mayor Jono Naylor told the crowd that Palmerston North City Council is working on developing a Local Approved Products Policy and was intending on holding the first Councillor workshop on the issue in February next year. However, in the wake of the concern aired today he has undertaken to work with Councillors and staff to see if they can bring that forward.
"Bringing the consultation forward could mean that we will be engaging with our community over summer - Which traditionally isn't a good time as people are generally preoccupied or on holiday."
"I have to make it very clear that the Act does not give Councils the power to ban the sale of legal highs - All we can do is, through consultation with our community, determine where they can be sold."
Mayor Naylor says central government introduced the legislation without talking to Local Government. "We're now reaping the consequences of their abrogation of duty to local councils. So, if you want legal highs banned then you need to lobby your local MPs and the government not local councils."
Alongside this we're dealing with relatively new legislation. The Ministry of Health hasn't even developed the regulation to control the production and supply of legal highs and until that has happened the Police are unable to enforce all the provisions of the Act.
"I, like everyone else, want answers but at this stage they just aren't there."
In the meantime, Mayor Naylor encourages everyone with concerns to contact the Associate Minister for Health who holds responsibility for the Psychoactive Substances Act. This can be done via a new hotline 0800 789 652. Visit http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/psychoactive-substance-hotline-goes-live to find out more.