Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Drugs and why Dunne did it

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  • Geoff Lealand,

    I read somewhere recently (a Herald profile, maybe) that he was reading Chasing the Dream.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2537 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    Ah yes – here it is:

    I just finished reading Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari. It makes a compelling case for drug law reform which has really given me something to think about although I still have issues with decriminalisation.

    Seems he might have a way to go yet. I do have some issues with Chasing the Scream's theory of addiction (it's not chemical, we're just lonely!), but it does make a persuasive case for why our drug laws are wrong.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The animus towards Dunne is quite reminiscent of the way people kept on hurling invective at his predecessor, Anderton, even as he was doing some quite progressive things.

    I'd have thought that it's the incongruity of Anderton's more throwback views with his wider supposed progressiveness that's historically riled and exasperated many of his critics. While I get that politicians may feel unjustly maligned, my squeamishness is triggered when you weigh in to dismiss their ordinary constituents as a bunch of ill-informed dupes.

    It would seem that it's Anderton's belief in himself as some sort of historical great man that's led him to hold to some of his more controversial views. It probably accounts for his ruthlessness in dumping his former Alliance comrades once he'd secured his own terms for returning to the Labour fold. When he ran for the Chch mayoralty in 2010 a number of these former colleagues swallowed the dead rat and doorknocked thanklessly on the great man's behalf.

    In short, there are a number of reasons why an ordinary constituent might feel animosity towards an old political bruiser like Anderton, and they don't necessarily stem from ill-informed ignorance. For example, someone who once received help from Anderton's office over a health matter was dismayed years later to find that their personal details were online in an old Alliance press release. It's one thing to receive help, but quite another to discover that your privacy was sacrificed to the greater glory of Jim. While the helpful folks at Scoop were reluctant to tamper with what's become a valuable historical repository, they very kindly removed the personal information.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    It would seem that it's Anderton's belief in himself as some sort of historical great man that's led him to hold to some of his more controversial views. It probably accounts for his ruthlessness in dumping his former Alliance comrades once he'd secured his own terms for returning to the Labour fold. When he ran for the Chch mayoralty in 2010 a number of these former colleagues swallowed the dead rat and doorknocked thanklessly on the great man's behalf.

    Jim Anderton was both the Alliance Party's biggest strength and biggest weakness - he led it to double-digit support in the 1990s, but it couldn't survive without him following a series of defections.

    And his prohibitionist views on cannabis are largely emotional and driven by family tragedies. On the other hand...

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    I’d have thought that it’s the incongruity of Anderton’s more throwback views with his wider supposed progressiveness that’s historically riled and exasperated many of his critics. While I get that politicians may feel unjustly maligned, my squeamishness is triggered when you weigh in to dismiss their ordinary constituents as a bunch of ill-informed dupes.

    Yeah, fair enough – I had the odd run-in with Anderton myself.

    But the fact that he won funding (as a Progressive party bid) to make needle exchange free in 2004 – after receiving a report that changed his mind – has saved lives.

    That same year he also proposed the amendment to MoDA that reversed the onus of proof on possession of needles, which helped the exchange system work better.

    When the amendment was being debated in Parliament, Tony Ryall attacked it as “all part of a politically correct, liberal agenda being pushed by this Government and the health authorities under the name of harm minimisation”, which was the most despicable, destructive politicking over people’s lives.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    And his prohibitionist views on cannabis are largely emotional and driven by family tragedies. On the other hand…

    It's a bit of a persistent factoid that Philippa Anderton's death was drug-related. It was deeply tragic, but it was related to mental illness rather than drug use. His son did suffer a lasting physical impairment as a result of heroin use, which I think played some role in Anderton's embrace of harm reduction.

    He remained a prohibitionist, but a lot of countries dream of having prohibitionist politicians who nonetheless throw their weight behind needle exchanges to save lives. It really isn't like that in many other countries.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    When the amendment was being debated in Parliament, Tony Ryall attacked it as “all part of a politically correct, liberal agenda being pushed by this Government and the health authorities under the name of harm minimisation”, which was the most despicable, destructive politicking over people’s lives.

    He taught his acolyte, hippocratic oaf Jonathan Coleman, well then - his dismissing the people's mental health report as ‘left-wing anti-government protesters’ reopened the 'shoot the messenger' season.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    When the amendment was being debated in Parliament, Tony Ryall attacked it as “all part of a politically correct, liberal agenda being pushed by this Government and the health authorities under the name of harm minimisation”, which was the most despicable, destructive politicking over people’s lives.

    I have a dim view of Tony Ryall for other reasons too. When I went to my local MP about a rare and pre-existing dental condition that threatened to send me bankrupt - as previously mentioned on this forum - Ryall's response was straight from what's now known as the Trumpcare manual.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell,

    And one other thing Anderton did, which has been lost to time (And the PSA) is amend the Misuse of Drugs Act to add a 4th category for drug classification: the "Restricted Substances" aka "class D's category which allowed for regulated sales ... sadly Parliament ended up putting BZP into Class C not Restricted Substances category thus outlawing it and precipitating the avalanche of new psychoactive substances. Those were the days.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 168 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Wow: Dunne just announced that doctors will be able to prescribe cannabidiol without restriction.

    I went through the technical argument behind the scenes in January. The Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs – which has been sitting on this for a year – came through. Sue Grey's a champ.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • david westcot, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Interesting ! About a month ago I took a printout of your posting on Sue Grey & the CBD debacle to my MP David Clark [shadow health minister ] . I also did my best to impress on him the usefulness of cannabinoid products generally but esp CBD for the whole range of inflammatory conditions [rheumatoid arthritis MS etc], with particular emphasis on the virtual ABSENCE of any side effects. This as compared to the whole range of accepted anti – inflammatories – ie ,steroids,NSAIDs [ ibuprofen ,voltaren etc ] , & the DMARDS ,all with their quite severe range of potentially organ-damaging side-effects. A very relevant issue for the many people needing medication continuously for years. The NSAID`s are readily available at your local super market ! I spent a good 15 or 20 mins airing these concepts with him – it could be that he lobbied Dunne in the following weeks .

    dunedin • Since Jun 2012 • 13 posts Report Reply

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