Dunne: find a doctor who is open to medicinal cannabis

Peter Dunne has been reported as effectively encouraging patients wanting to use medicinal cannabis to find a doctor who will consider this in their interest.

This is in Mum desperate for medicinal cannabis for her sick son:

Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne has made it clear to GPs and the Medical Association that conservatism about using medicinal cannabis isn’t always in the best interests of their patients.

If a doctor wasn’t open to medicinal cannabis then families had the option of finding another doctor, he said.

“I’m not going to encourage or discourage that because it’s not my role, but it’s an option for them to consider.”

This looks like a carefully worded but significant statement from Dunne. This was in response to discussion about other parents wanting to try medical cannabis for their children because other drugs weren’t helping and follows the approval of the Ministry and Dunne to allow Alex Renton to be treated with Elixinol.

His family’s fight to get doctors to apply to the Ministry of Health has triggered another mother, Julie Dixon, to share her experiences battling for CBD for her son, Matthew.

The Christchurch 27-year-old has suffered from refractory epilepsy since he was aged 3 and has spent much of his life in and out of a hospital.

“We’re desperate,” Dixon said.

Matthew’s seizures are uncontrolled by medication and he too has spent time in hospital in an induced coma.

The Government allows oral treatment of a drug called Sativex, which contains cannabis extracts that include CBD and requires ministerial approval.

When Dunne approved Elixinol for Alex Renton it was the first time that particular product had been approved.

“The last time we visited the specialist we asked about Sativex and the doctor’s response was, why would you want to try that when it hasn’t been proven to work,” Dixon said.

“For us there is an absence of any other treatment options. We are regularly advised there is nothing left.”

Dixon said doctors have never discussed anything outside of conventional treatments with her and it was only when she started doing her own research she came across Sativex and Elixinol.

She and her husband, Kelvin, have written to Dunne asking for approval but without the support of Matthew’s doctor, Dunne is hamstrung by the procedure, which isn’t one he plans to change.

“At the end of the day cannabis oil is just another drug – no different from the powerful drugs being used to keep Alex comatose and the powerful drug that our son Matthew takes every day of his life, which does not control his seizures,” she said.

And Dunne seems to be following these cases and recognises the difficulties the families are having with treatments.

While Dunne said he had considerable sympathy for the families involved, “I’m not a clinician and I’m not in any position to override the clinical judgment.”

But he is open to broadening access to medicinal cannabis despite Prime Minister John Key saying he wouldn’t support a parliamentary debate on the matter.

“We are watching closely the trials that are being undertaken in Australia. Essentially if they prove to be effective we would obviously seek to take advantage of them in New Zealand.

“But the real issue beyond that is manufacturers being prepared to make those drugs available, in some cases they’re not interested because they don’t see the market as big enough.”

For it to go beyond a case by basis a manufacturer would have to apply for interim or general approval of use of their products here.

Perhaps the New Zealand market isn’t big enough – but if a manufacturer had their products approved in the New Zealand market and proved their worth here that would do a lot to help them establish wider markets.

Pressure on Dunne – another mother wanting medicinal cannabis

There is pressure on Peter Dunne with another mother applying pressure to be able to use medicinal cannabis to treat her 7 year old daughter.

The Rotorua Post (via NZH) reports: Hope for Zoe in cannabis oil

Zoe has neurodevelopmental disorder and refractory seizure disorder, due to her brain being deprived of oxygen during birth.

Mrs Jeffries said doctors had given her 24 hours to live but, seven years on, Zoe was still fighting. “It’s the ups and downs that make it hard. You can only live each day as it comes … As a family, we are extremely happy Mr Dunne has shown considerable compassion and approved the use of Elixinol for Alex (Renton).

“In regards to Zoe, she has had a list of seven pharmaceuticals to trial this year. There is one left to try and she still continues to have hundreds of seizures daily”.

Dunne has made it clear that approval for Alex didn’t set a precedent:

Mr Dunne stressed the use of Elixinol in Mr Renton’s situation wasn’t a precedent and shouldn’t be seen as a “significant change in policy”.

But that is contradicted.

Mr Dunne said doctors had been able to apply for medicinal cannabis products for many years but it was the first time that avenue had been used for that product.

More products are available now, and more testing is being done, and more anecdotal evidence is becoming available. And there’s quite a bit of research pending.

What Mrs Jeffries will need to do is apply to the Ministry for approval to use a product.

Ministry of Health advice was “50/50 saying that there’s no compelling evidence that this product will work. On the other hand there’s no compelling evidence it will do significant damage to him”.

She needs to show that there is reasonable evidence the product might work, and that there is no compelling evidence it will not do any damage to Zoe.

Ideally approval for the product in general can be obtained to save parents from going through procedures and more stress.

It will help if more doctors and specialists ask for these relatively safe products too.

Mrs Jeffries said UICNZ was working constructively with the Ministry of Health to change that. “We hope to be able to implement a methodical regime here in NZ. Ideally compassion for one can equate to compassion for all in need.”

” Zoe is my inspiration for becoming a trustee with United in Compassion NZ (UICNZ), a sister branch of the Australian organisation who worked with Rose Renton on Alex’s case. As a non-profit we are working towards the goal of medical cannabis in NZ, and doing so from an angle highlighting education, compassion and logic.”

UICNZ now has charity status and has set up a Givealittle page to raise funds. For more information visit unitedincompassion.org.nz/2015/06/13/united-in-compassion-is-officially-registered-and-seeking-donations/

Karen Jeffries is far from the only parent desperate for something that will effectively treat their child.

Dunne approves medicinal cannabis for teen in coma

Just breaking –

Assoc Health Minister Peter Dunne has approved cannabidiol (medicinal cannabis) for Alex Renton

Good news for Alex and his family.

Minister approves one-off use of Cannabidiol product

Hon Peter Dunne
Associate Minister of Health

9 June 2015

Minister approves one-off use of Cannabidiol product ‘Elixinol’

Associate Minister of Health Hon Peter Dunne has today approved on compassionate grounds the one-off use of Elixinol, a cannabidiol (CBD) product from the United States to be administered by clinicians treating Wellington patient Alex Renton.

The Minister said that “despite the absence of clinical evidence supporting the efficacy of CBD in patients with Mr Renton’s condition status epilepticus, my decision relies on the dire circumstances and extreme severity of Mr Renton’s individual case”.

“I have considerable sympathy for the family of Mr Renton who face an incredibly difficult situation. Understandably they want to do the best for their son, and they believe that this option is worth trying.

“I have also considered the absence of any other treatment options, the low risk of significant adverse effects, and the conclusion reached by the hospital ethics committee from an individual patient perspective.

“Ministerial approval in this case does not extend beyond Mr Renton’s application and should in no way be construed as setting a wider precedent,” he said.

Mr Dunne said the advice he has received was that there remains a lack of clinical evidence supporting the use of CBD products in sufferers of Mr Renton’s condition.

“The fact that Elixinol does not have a supporting pharmaceutical testing regime means this application has been reviewed as a stand-alone case and weighed against the severity of his condition.

“My officials will be closely following the outcome of studies overseas, including those due to commence next year in Australia, on the efficacy of different products. Those results will help to inform future legislative and regulatory considerations here in New Zealand.

“I am satisfied with the way the DHB and the Ministry have handled this matter. After exhausting all recommended and standard treatment options, CCDHB made a clinical decision last week to complete the necessary documentation to apply for approval to use a non-standard medicinal cannabidiol treatment for Mr Renton. That application was lodged with the Ministry yesterday afternoon. Ministry officials considered the application as a matter of priority and briefed me this morning.

“I hope for a positive outcome for Mr Renton and his family,” Mr Dunne said.

Party positions on medical cannabis

In DHB delays treatment application for teenager in coma Stuff  canvases parties to gauge their position on allowing the use of medical cannabis.

Labour MP Damien O’Connor wants action.

O’Connor is also calling for Parliament to debate the issue of access to medicinal marijuana, particularly in cases such as Alex’s, where all conventional medications have already been tested.

Peter Dunne (UnitedFuture, Associate Minister of Health):

If the application to the ministry is successful, the ultimate decision comes down to Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne.

He would not comment on Alex’s specific case, but said he was already doing work around the possibilities of making medicinal cannabinoid (CBD) more readily available.

“While the evidence to date wasn’t strong … we have begun assessing from New Zealand what the situation should be.”

“I don’t know how long this process will take, but we are gathering evidence. I’ve had a series of meetings with officials around what it might look like and the process is ongoing.”

Labour leader Andrew Little…

…agreed with O’Connor that it was time for a debate, and would support a bill on the matter.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei…

…said Alex’s case was another example of the law not working.

She said the current process put up too many barriers for doctors and families, and it was time to consider opening up access to medicinal marijuana.

ACT leader David Seymour and Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox…

…were also open to a debate on the issue.

NZ First leader Winston Peters…

…said nobody could stop a debate in Parliament but he’d want to be sure all other legal options were exhausted before considering granting access to medicinal marijuana.

That’s five in favour of addressing medical cannabis and one who sounds reluctant.

Notably absent from that list is National.

But this may not need to go through Parliament. Dunne and the Ministry health are able to approve the use of drugs for medicinal use..

Hope for Alex Renton

Some hope for Alex Renton – or at least for his family, who have been watching over him in a coma for 57 days now.

Stuff reported recently: Family’s desperate quest for cannabis oil 

Nelson teen Alex Renton was hospitalised in early April after a serious seizure. He has been in an induced coma in Wellington’s intensive care unit since April 8.

Alex remains in ‘status epilepticus’, a kind of prolonged seizure.

With a recommendation from one of Alex’s neurologists, his family are now keen to try something new – a cannabinoid oil (CBD) extracted from marijuana that international research has endorsed as a treatment for seizures. But accessing the oil, even with the support of a neurologist, has proved nearly impossible.

This was covered on Seven Sharp tonight. They said the problem was inaction by the DHB, who need to submit a request to use CBD to the Ministry of Health.

They have also said that the DHB agreed today to submit a request to the Ministry of Health. Once they get that in it will be up to the Ministry and Peter Dunne as Associate Minister of Health as it’s his responsibility.

Cannabis oil isn’t guaranteed to be successful, one report was that it gave a 30% chance of improvement.  But for Alex and his family any chance is better than what they are having to endure at the moment.

Dunne on Shaw and the Greens

Peter Dunne has seen a lot of politics, a lot of parties, and he’s seen a lot of party leaders come and go. His latest blog post is on James Shaw and the Greens.

For a moment earlier this week I found myself in agreement with the Greens’ new co-leader James Shaw and his call for the government to work with other parties towards an agreed emissions reduction target as part of our approach to curbing the impacts of climate change. After all, Shaw seems such a sensible chap, and many other countries are moving in this direction, so it seemed a not unreasonable idea to try to work towards such a consensus in New Zealand. At last, I naively thought, the Greens are shedding their dogmatism and have worked out that the way to work with other parties is to co-operate with them, not to badger and harangue them.

But it was only a brief lapse on my part. The more Shaw pushed his ideas before a clearly uninterested Prime Minister, the more it became clear that John Key was not being asked to sit down and talk about a commonly agreed target, but to just adopt the Greens’ pre-determined target.

That seems to be a common problem with the Greens in general. Some Green MPs understand how to work across party lines and work on pragmatic solutions, like Kevin Hague. Others seem entrenched with their own ideologies.

The Greens, after all, as they smugly keep reminding us, are a party of principle, so can never be wrong. All of which explains why as the oldest of our newer political parties they are the only ones never to have been part of a government, and why both National and Labour have been extremely wary of working too closely with them. Their sanctimony would simply be too much to bear. Those who had hopes Shaw might be the circuit breaker will have been sorely disappointed by the outcome of his first foray. Nothing has actually changed, it seems, and the Greens are as isolated as ever.  

There has certainly been quite a bit of that, or at least it’s been a common perception of the Greens.

The big loser out of all this is the environment – the cause the Greens profess to care so passionately about. New Zealand needs an influential Green Party, but will probably now go in to the next round of climate change discussions with a very modest emissions reductions target. UnitedFuture and the Maori Party have shown some environmental credentials, as their stands on seeking to prevent National’s attempts to gut the Resource Management Act have shown, but with only three seats in Parliament between them cannot at this stage sustain the influence a mainstream environment party would have.

An interesting point. If the Greens worked pragmatically with UnitedFuture and the Maori Party then they would have the numbers to influence environmental policy.

Here is the problem in a nutshell. Many New Zealanders care passionately about preserving our environment and worry that successive governments have not been doing enough in that space. Yet these same New Zealanders do not want to put their heads above the environmental parapet, because some of the extreme (and often not-environment related) positions the Greens have taken over the years have attracted so much ridicule and scorn.

There is widespread sympathy on environmental issues – just not on the more extreme non-compromising stance that the Greens often try to maintain, and not with the far left social policies the Greens promote.

I think James Shaw instinctively understands this conundrum, and wants to change the perception, but I doubt the wider Green Party will let him.

That will be a real test for Shaw. Time will tell whether he does understand, or whether he becomes embedded in the Green bubble.

He has already discovered this week that the moral high ground is not always the place to be if you want to make real change in politics. It is fine if you just want to make a statement, and never be held to account for it, something the Greens have thus far been past masters at.

But if you want to achieve things in politics, you have to be prepared to get on the same ground as others, and work alongside them patiently, compromise by wretched compromise if need be, until you finally achieve your objective.

That’s something Dunne has a lot of experience with.

Moving the Green Party onto that space will be James Shaw’s biggest credibility challenge.  

If Shaw wants to move to where the Greens could have a real influence. And if he does, if the party allows him to.

And that may not be easy. Responding to something else written about the Greens Metiria Turei recently tweeted:

People write all sorts of bollocks about us. Nothing really new here tbh.

I don’t think the Greens are good at taking advice they don’t want to hear.

Dunne states reality on decriminalising cannabis – no chance

In response to Family’s desperate quest for cannabis oil Peter Dunne was engaged in a Twitter exchange. In this he made it clear there has been no chance of successive New Zealand governments decriminalising cannabis.

In response to

Good to hear
Decriminalisation!
Way to go

May I be very clear: decriminalisation is not on the government’s agenda.

It has been the policy of successive Labour & National led governments & is not about to change.

So any valid reform is a lost cause until a major party supports, eh? Change too difficult from the inside?

It’s more that is a government minister and the Cabinet has a position.

It’s also numbers – 61 votes is a majority in Parliament & Nats, Lab & even Greens oppose legalisation.

This the political reality. Dunne cops a lot of flak for nothing being done to change cannabis law but he has a small minority voice in Government and he has just one vote in Parliament. Dunne isn’t in Cabinet.

National look unlikely to try and do anything on cannabis in the foreseeable future. John Key swung significant support behind marriage equality but he looks unlikely to do anything on cannabis –  he recently stated “I just don’t agree with drugs”.

Prime Minister John Key has ruled out relaxing cannabis laws while campaigning for the Northland by-election.

In response to a question from a voter Mr Key said he did not support decriminalisation of cannabis.

The voter accused Mr Key of wanting to lock people up in jail.

“It’s not so much that, I just don’t agree with drugs,” the Prime Minister said.

So a National Government almost certainly won’t initiate anything.

The only other option is via a Member’s Bill and there are currently none on drugs in the ballot so no party is trying to change cannabis law.

Andrew Little sounds like he has no interest in doing anything. In March Duncan Garner asked:

SHOULD WE LEGALISE CANNABIS? GREENS AND LABOUR SAY LET’S THINK ABOUT IT

Garner: We’ve had this debate this afternoon around the legalisation of cannabis, we’ve got a poll up and man it’s been phenomenal, 86% replied (saying cannabis should be legalised), 2000 votes. We’ve had Kevin Hague on, he says it is actually time for this debate to actually occur given what’s happening in America, around four different states either decriminalise or legalised.

What’s your position on decriminalising cannabis?

Little: Yeah up to now I think we’ve, my personal view is I’ve approached it very cautiously. I mean I, when I was a union lawyer I did a lot of cases of the drug and testing in workplaces and all that sort of stuff.

The studies I did of it, the thing that came out of it for me was that a lot of the cannabis in New Zealand, that’s grown in New Zealand has such a high THC level it’s actually different to cannabis sold in other countries, so that’s an area of danger.

But having said that I’d be keen to have a look and see what the experience has been of States like you know Washington and the other states that have adopted decriminalisation more recently and just see what the experience has been and see whether there is something we can learn from it.

I’d never say no to it but I’d say we’ve got to approach this with considerable caution.

This sounds like Little has no interest in doing anything about cannabis.

Garner: Right, considerable caution because it could be politically not viable, it might make you unpopular? Or because you believe in it’s worth having a debate?

Little: Oh no given that my honeymoon’s over, I’m used to the unpopularity…

Garner: Yes it is over, you don’t want a long honeymoon mate, you don’t want a long honeymoon…

Little: I’m more concerned about the public health and safety aspects of it and given the conditions here. That’s the issue for me.

I think since i was up at the Auckland University quad yesterday, part of the ? week, I talked to some of the young folks there and that issue came up.

Unprompted just raised that issue with me. So there’s clearly a discussion going on out there though and you know we need to be part of it.

Garner: When you discuss these things obviously you get those headlines out, ‘Little supports decriminalisation’, I mean is that a fair headline or not?

Little: (pause) no that would be an unfair headline at the moment because I, I’m not, I don’t, I know there is an issue there. I’d like to look more closely at it. I’d like to  look at the experience of the American states that have decriminalised.

But I draw on my own personal experience and the research I’ve done when I was a union lawyer, to say there is an issue here that is not as easy just to say let’s decriminalise, let’s open it up.

So my approach is proceed with caution.

Garner: Proceed with caution but at least start to look at what’s happening in America.

Little: Have a look, and lets have the debate. Ah and lets get some facts, lets shine some facts on the issue. Let’s not just react emotionally but lets have the debate, get the facts and proceed with caution.

What debate? No party is promoting any debate, let alone any action.

Greens have supposedly been the pro-cannabis party but have been lukewarm on it. Leading into last year’s election Russel Norman:

“Decriminalisation has obviously been a long-standing Green Party policy, there has been movement on it internationally as well as domestically and it will be on the table in any post-election negotiation, like our other policies.”

Greens never got to negotiate policies after the election.

Speaking after her State of the Nation speech at Waitangi Park in Wellington, co-leader Metiria Turei said they wanted to see the law changed.

“I would like to progress a vast amount of our policy, actually and that would be one that would be very interesting,” she said.

Turei said they believed a drug-free lifestyle was the healthiest, but did not believe adults should be convicted of a crime if they smoked cannabis.

Decriminalising the drug was “the wisest policy,” however it would not be a bottom-line issue for the party in any post-election discussions.

Not a “bottom line issue”. Not an issue the Greens campaigned on. Not an issue the Greens have done anything visible about since. Not a visible issue in the just completed Green leadership contest. Not a visible issue in the Green conference this weekend.

James Shaw seems to have avoided the issue.

I’ve searched Parliament’s Hansard for this term (all MPs) and there’s barely a mention of cannabis or marijuana and no interest has been expressed regarding considering any law changes.

It came up during the Northland by-election – Winston Peters backtracks on marijuana referendum:

NZ First leader Winston Peters promised to hold a referendum on legalising marijuana while campaigning for the Northland byelection but rapidly backtracked on it straight afterwards.

Mr Peters was holding a street meeting in Kaikohe when a man asked whether he would legalise marijuana.

Mr Peters replied: “you want to legalise marijuana? I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll give you a referendum and if the answer is yes, the answer is yes. I’ll give you a vote on the referendum and if the answer is no, it’s no. That fair enough? Wonderful.”

However, later he said he had no intention of putting forward a referendum and his comments were the shorthand required on a campaign trail. “I didn’t say ‘I’m going to give you the referendum. I said our policy is a referendum and if you want one, you’ve got to go and get one.”

So NZ First aren’t interested either.

That’s the reality of reality on decriminalising cannabis in New Zealand – politicians aren’t seriously interested in doing anything about it.

Recreational fishers pushing National on election promises

National has suffered from the wrath of recreational fishers in the not too distant past but seem to have learned nothing from that.

UnitedFuture has warned National of grumpiness amongst recreational fishers due to a lack of progress on promised recreational reserves – and there’s signs of a willingness for action beyond Peter Dunne.

National’s Promises To Recreational Fishers Have Gone Nowhere

UnitedFuture leader Hon Peter Dunne says the government’s promised recreational fishing reserves have gone nowhere since the election.

“One week before last year’s election National announced they would release a discussion paper in November that would consider converting the Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds into recreational fishing zones.

“6 months on from November is absolutely nothing to be seen.

Alan Simmons, UnitedFuture outdoors spokesperson, says recreational anglers are angry that the promised conversation on recreational fishing has never eventuated.

“Commercial fishing interests have made it very clear that they strongly oppose any changes to give recreational fishing greater rights.

“It seems clear that yet again National are listening to their big business mates instead of ordinary New Zealanders” said Mr Simmons.

“The National Party needs to stop bending to the will of commercial interests and honour the promises it made to the recreational fishers of New Zealand during last year’s election campaign” said Mr Dunne.

Simmons, who is prominent in fishing and hunting circles, seems intent on upping the pressure on National. He has posted on Facebook:

In my opinion National were quite dishonest with this promise which was aimed at capturing any recreational fishing votes that were heading to United Future or NZ First. They made the same promise the election before and made no attempt to bring it in. 

I am not sure I want to be propping up a government which is going to do the dirty again on a recreational fishing and is so dishonest with its election promises…

Our Supply agreement with them is a case in point, if we are going to get no benefits then why are we in it… I’m seriously questioning our role in propping up this government if there is no win for our major policy ideas.

United Futures Agreement with National clearly states that National will progress with UF “giving recreational fishers more opportunities as acknowledged in Nationals recently released recreational fishing reserves”. So I am asking where is that policy and if its not forth coming then we should withdraw from the agreement as they have not met the terms agreed.

United Future have been criticised in the past for not rocking the Government boat – and for being a patsy party.

There’s been some signs this term that Dunne is more prepared to make a stand against Government policies, notably their RMA reforms, and he is also vocal on the intelligence and security review that gets under way this year.

The party has been far less visible, except when de-registered by the Electoral Commission two years ago. That prompted a surge in membership, with hunters and fishers in particular wanting to help a party advocating for their interests to survive.

Perhaps it’s time for United Future to reward that vote of faith with some action.

And perhaps it’s time for National to front up with action on their promises to recreational fishers – if they want to keep onside with their constituency outside Auckland and Wellington.

More pressure against mass data collection

The New Zealand public was assured that no mas collection of communications was done by the GCSB. This didn’t stop speculation and claims that mass collection was being done, in large part due to the revelation that Five Eyes partner the USA carried out mass collection.

It was believed by some that this data was then available to our GCSB, despite assurances only specifically targeted people were investigated under legal warrants.

This has changed now, as NZ Herald reports in NZ to face pressure over mass collection of telephone data.

A decision to stop the mass collection of Americans’ telephone data will put pressure on New Zealand intelligence agencies to stop any similar programmes operating here.

Last week the US House of Representatives voted to end the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records through the USA Freedom Act, which was already backed by the White House.

The bill, which only affects people within the US, would empower the agency to search data held by telephone companies on a case-by-case basis.

It was re-confirmed that mass collection didn’t happen here.

Rebecca Kitteridge, director of the Security Intelligence Service, yesterday told the same conference that mass surveillance did not take place.

“We do not live in a surveillance state where everything you do online is reported – at least not by the Government. So, please enjoy the freedom that the internet gives you – you are free to click on whatever you want on your device, and you won’t pop up on our system.

“Typically we get our leads through our interaction with the public, and information provided to us by other agencies.”

In a speech Peter Dunne says the US change will put pressure on the Security and Intelligence review that starts this year,

In a speech to a privacy and identity conference in Wellington, Mr Dunne said it was crucial that there were robust systems in place to protect the privacy of personal information from a “coercive or prying” state.

“Last week, the United States House of Representatives voted to stop the mass collection of Americans’ telephone data by the National Security Agency.

“I suspect New Zealanders would have a similar view about their telephone records, and that there will now be pressures on our intelligence agencies to stop any mass data collection programmes they have underway, especially if it is being made available on an indiscriminate basis to other countries.”

Asked after his speech if he believed mass collection programmes were operating here, Mr Dunne told the Herald that the recent US action raised questions that should be addressed in an upcoming review of our intelligence agencies.

“I think in context of the intelligence services review, that American decision becomes pretty relevant. If it is illegal in the United States to gather that data…then, you have to say, if it is being gathered in New Zealand – and that’s an open question – and provided, you can’t have it both ways,” Mr Dunne said.

“You can’t say it’s illegal here [in the US] to provide this data about our people, but it’s not illegal for you [New Zealand] to provide data about your people to us. I think that is the question I am raising, and I think that’s something the review needs to consider.”

The review:

Next month a wide-ranging review headed by former Deputy Prime Minister Sir Michael Cullen and lawyer Dame Patsy Reddy will examine both the SIS and GCSB.

The first regular review of the agencies, it will examine the legislative framework governing them, and consider how they are placed to protect New Zealand’s interests and security.

It would be good – and essential – to clarify the issue of how partner countries could assist with data gathering. As far as I’m aware it would still have to comply with our laws and only be done under warrant in specific circumstances.

This Child

It’s very difficult for parents of chronically sick children. And of course it’s awful for the children.

And it’s very frustrating for them when they see there are possible effective treatments that are being denied them due to anti-cannabis political pig-headedness.

A plea to Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has been put into a poem by one mother.

Here is my poem about my little girl and why she needs medical marijuana

ThisChildThere is a glimmer of hope – see Poll supports medical cannabis, Dunne considering.

Parents need more than glimmers of hope. They need to know one way or another whether medical cannabis can be legally used in New Zealand to help This Child.

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