News, Events and Culture

Where should retailers selling Psychoactive Substances be located in Palmerston North?

Friday January 17 2014

Following last year's introduction of Psychoactive Substances Act 2013, Palmerston North City Council developed a draft local policy which, if adopted, will guide decisions of the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority (PSRA). The PRSA grants retailers with licences to sell approved psychoactive substances.

Mayor Jono Naylor says now is the time for residents to read the draft policy and consider if it is enough, too much or if more needs to be done to safeguard the community.

"While I would personally like to see them banned from the city and the country, the Government has decided that they have a legitimate place in our society. Thankfully, Government has given councils the ability to influence where they can be sold from and that is what Council is currently doing."

The draft policy includes a number of restrictions to areas where premises from which approved products may be sold:
• Restricted to within the inner 'ring road' (the area contained within (and inclusive of) Walding/ Grey Streets; Princess Street; Ferguson Street and Pitt/ Bourke Streets).
• Excluding the following streets: The Square, Fitzherbert Avenue, Church Street, Main Street, George Street, Coleman Place, Broadway Avenue, Rangitikei Street from The Square to Queen Street, Cuba Street, King Street, Queen Street, and Princess Street from Grey Street to Main Street.
• Not within 50 metres of another licenced retail premise.
• Not within 50 metres of a sensitive site including: any public library; public museum; public art gallery; community centre education provider; premise occupied by a social welfare agency such as Work and Income; Child, Youth and Family or similar; place of worship; medical centre; the Palmerston North District Court; hostels and long term accommodation providers (over 15 beds); or, any other organisation providing services for vulnerable people from its premise.

The policy also recommends the Council advocates to the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority for the provision of regulations which promote the health of people in Palmerston North, including advocacy on the opening hours of retail premises from which approved products may be sold.

Policy analyst Julie Macdonald says when considering the draft policy submitters should keep in mind the legislative limitations that have been placed on Councils by the Government.

The Psychoactive Substances Act 2013 enables territorial authorities to provide guidance on the location of premises from which approved products may be sold by reference to:
• broad areas within a district
• proximity to other premises from which approved products may be sold
• proximity to premises or facilities of a particular kind or kinds within a district.

Julie Macdonald says if a local policy is too restrictive then there is a risk that the PRSA will be unable to take the policy into account when making licensing decisions.

The draft policy is being widely distributed to community organisations, businesses, education providers and other stakeholders. The consultation period runs until Monday 24th February 2014.