Banks calls Dunne “puppy-hater” on Psychoactive Substances Bill

John Banks clashed with Peter Dunne during the second reading of the Psychoactive Substances Bill yesterday, interjecting frequently. During Dunne’s speech Banks called him a puppy hater.

Hon John Banks: Will it happen, yes or no? Will animal testing—

Hon PETER DUNNE: Can I say again to the member it was never the intention. How many words does he need to explain it? I am not going—

Hon John Banks: No, you won’t, you puppy-hater.

Hon PETER DUNNE: That is absolute, ridiculous nonsense. If the member for Epsom wants to go out there and oppose this legislation, he can answer to his communities, he can answer to the parents and to all of the people affected by it, and he will be the one who will be reviled as the person out of step with public opinion.

At some stage Dunne tweeted “John banks idiot”.

Banks’ criticism of Dunne may be misdirected. Associate Health Minister Todd McClay:

Mr Dunne asked that committee for advice on non-animal tests, clearly articulating his strong preference for a regime that excluded animal testing. The committee’s advice was that some animal testing would be necessary at first to ensure that the risk of products was accurately assessed.

And Green MP Kevin Hague:

The fact is that the previous Associate Minister of Health encouraged people to make submissions about animal testing. The committee did receive advice from the Clerk that amendments that absolutely ruled out animal testing per say would be out of scope. We received no advice that those submissions were out of scope. So the chair was wrong to rule those submissions out of scope. The National majority was wrong to not hear those submissions.

The bill is seen as world leading and ground breaking and has near unanimous support. Banks is the sole opponent.

Banks interjected through Dunne’s speech. First he corrected Dunne saying “looks like enjoying the unanimous support of this House”:

Hon PETER DUNNE: I am delighted to speak on the second reading of the Psychoactive Substances Bill ….. I am very pleased with the work that the Health Committee has done in terms of its consideration of the legislation and the bill that has emerged and looks like enjoying the unanimous support of this House.

Hon John Banks: No, no, no.

Hon PETER DUNNE: I am sorry. I should have known better perhaps than to presume that the ACT Party would be in line with public opinion.

Banks gave more detail about his opposition in his speech:

Hon JOHN BANKS (Leader—ACT): I rise to oppose the Psychoactive Substances Bill , and I will oppose it at every turn until it ends up on the statute book with the numbers, except for myself, in this House.

This bill is well-intentioned—there is no doubt about that—and it is aimed at ensuring that psychoactive substances sold in New Zealand are as safe as possible. I want to pay my respects to the new Associate Minister of Health, Todd McClay, for his noble intentions with this bill, which he inherited from the ex-Associate Minister .

However, I simply cannot support it. I find it totally unacceptable that this bill fails to rule out—rule out—testing these recreational drugs on innocent animals. Protecting animals is ingrained in my soul.

I think that most New Zealanders will be outraged at the idea that chemicals people use just for fun can be, and likely will be, tested on harmless animals. Animals will be put to extreme pain, animals will suffer, and animals will die.

Dunne had previously explained “one of the great red herrings of this debate, the animal testing issue”.

Hon PETER DUNNE: Let me deal with one of the great red herrings of this debate, the animal testing issue. There was never any intention ever to embark upon a programme of animal testing associated with these products—never ever any intent. What happened was simply this—what happened—

Hon John Banks: There was going to be.

Hon PETER DUNNE: If the member would just give me the courtesy of some silence, I will explain to him what actually happened.

Dunne provided an explanation until Banks started a series of interjections:

That was why I worked with the Health Committee through the expert advisory committee to make sure that the instances where animal testing might be even a possibility were minimised and reduced. But I say to the House it was never the intention—

Hon John Banks: Is there any animal testing? Is there any animal testing?

Hon PETER DUNNE: Mr Banks, if you ask a question, it is customary to let the person answer it before you come back with the next one.

Hon John Banks: Is there any animal testing?

Hon PETER DUNNE: I am just in the process of explaining to the jabbering preacher to my left the answer to his question. It was never the intention to embark upon an animal-testing regime as part of this legislation.

Hon John Banks: Will there be animal testing?

Hon PETER DUNNE: Can I explain again. This is becoming like a routine. It was never the intention to embark upon any form of animal testing. The expert advisory committee has given very clear advice to the select committee. The reality is that a lot of the stuff—and I am still getting emails today in Cyrillic script, in various different languages, from around the world from people saying “Don’t test psychoactive substances on dogs.” That was never the intention.

Hon John Banks: Will it happen?

Hon PETER DUNNE: It was never going to happen. The member says: “Will it happen?”. Can I say it was never going to happen.

Hon John Banks: Will it happen?

Hon PETER DUNNE: Dear me. You can only go so far in terms of legislating—

Hon John Banks: Will it happen, yes or no? Will animal testing—

Hon PETER DUNNE: Can I say again to the member it was never the intention. How many words does he need to explain it? I am not going—

Hon John Banks: No, you won’t, you puppy-hater.

Hon PETER DUNNE: That is absolute, ridiculous nonsense. If the member for Epsom wants to go out there and oppose this legislation, he can answer to his communities, he can answer to the parents and to all of the people affected by it, and he will be the one who will be reviled as the person out of step with public opinion.

I say to the ACT Party that if it wants to show any form of relevance, it will grow up, it will respect the conscience of New Zealanders on this issue, and it will support this legislation. He is welcome to be on a limb; it will be a very lonely place, I assure him.

Banks later devoted his speech to the animal testing issue. He concluded:

I want to thank Mojo Mathers for her work on this bill and her Supplementary Order Paper, which I will be supporting. I am sure other parties will support it as well.

But I say to her and the Green Party, if your amendment fails at the Committee stage to get the numbers, you should vote against this bill anyway. The Green Party has an excellent set of credentials around animal rights and animal welfare and I applaud you today for those.

We are sacrificing animals at the alter of recreational drug use. It is a disgrace to this country. It should not happen. It does not need to happen. We could stop it. It could be world-leading education. I repeat these words: as the most powerful creatures on this earth, humans have a responsibility to protect all animals from senseless, worthless, and shameless cruelty at all times and in all places, and I am starting with this legislation here today in this Parliament.

This will be addressed later in the debate when another Green MP Mojo Mathers speaks.

The other issue that I address in the minority report, and that has to be addressed, I believe, by this House—and my colleague Mojo Mathers will speak more about this—is the animal testing issue.

We must adopt Mojo Mathers’ Supplementary Order Paper in the Committee stage, in order to have that world-best practice—that model for the rest of the world. Thank you.

Animal testing is an emotive issue. There’s more to come on it.

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  1. Peter Dunne praised in Parliament | Your NZ

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