The Cannabis Party (previously known as the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party) has announced that Abe Gray will contest the My Albert by-election.
I think this is a smart move. This is a good opportunity to push Jacinda Ardern and Julie Anne Genter and the Labour and Green parties on how serious they are about supporting cannabis law reform, or at least whether they would support and enable a referendum to let the people decide.
The Cannabis Party is entering the race for the Mt Albert by-election after radio personality Abe Gray threw his hat in the ring.
Gray is a well known radio DJ with a weekly slot on Radio Hauraki’s popular breakfast show, hosted by Matt Heath and Jeremy Wells.
Gray is leading the charge for a binding referendum on cannabis laws in New Zealand, which was vocally promoted by the late Helen Kelly.
He worked closely with Helen Kelly to draft the specific legislation required to create the binding referendum, prior to her death. However, no MPs in Parliament have adopted the legislation.
Gray questions whether the Greens and Labour are serious about cannabis law reform, given they turned their back on Helen Kelly’s referendum legislation.
The by-election gives Gray the opportunity to keep questioning them through the by-election campaign, as I’m sure he will do.
“A binding referendum on the questions of medical and recreational cannabis is my top priority,” he said.
“It should be the democratic right of all New Zealanders to have their say on this important issue.”
Gray promised to submit Helen Kelly’s referendum legislation to the private member’s ballot on day-one if he is elected to Parliament.
Gray’s main opponent will be the media if they refuse to give him equal coverage (Ardern is already getting media favouritism).
If the media decides that cannabis has headline potential it could work in the Cannabis Party’s favour. Even if Ardern does cruise to victory as predicted the campaign is a good opportunity to highlight an issue that New Zealand politicians seem to be paying lip service to at best, while many other countries are seriously responding to social and health pressures on cannabis.
Gray is a good choice for the Cannabis Party, he has a lot of campaign and public activism experience.