Helen Clark and Ruth Dreifuss on decriminalising drugs

Recent coverage of the failure of the ‘war on drugs’ continues on Nation this morning.

Yesterday on Breakfast:

The coalition government has promised a referendum on legalising cannabis, but what about decriminalising all drugs?

The Global Commission on Drug Policy members Helen Clark and former Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss told Jack Tame how doing so would reduce harm and regulate black markets out of existence.

From Newsweek:

The global “war on drugs” is a “spectacular” failure that has led to thousands of murders, public health crises and human rights abuses, a new report showed.

Released on Monday, the report from the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), a global coalition of 170 nongovernmental organizations working on drug policy issues, overviewed the failure of the 10-year global strategy from the United Nations, which intended to eradicate the illicit drug market by next year.

Instead of curbing the problem, “consumption and illegal trafficking of drugs have reached record levels,” Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand and a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, wrote in the report’s foreword.

This morning on Newshub Nation:

Emma Jolliff asks former Prime Minister and former President of Switzerland Ruth Dreifuss if decriminalising all drugs could reduce harm, and what New Zealand can learn from other countries.


Leave a comment


  1. David

     /  27th October 2018

    Looking at that top photo they both look like they could use some mind altering intervention, a couple of E,s would work.

  2. Thx for putting this up PG (I missed it on TV)

    “Bravo Helen & Ruth !” finally some open, honest & RATIONAL discussion on ending the Drug War & moving to harm reduction & regulation.. without all the usual Fear-mongering & hysterical nonsense ! 🙂

    • Zedd

       /  27th October 2018

      The Nation:
      It was interesting to hear Helen say (when asked why she didn’t do more on this, when she was PM), that as part of the Conf./Supply agreement with U/F, that they stay away from any drug reform !

      Now Dunne seems to have done, a 180deg turn & is saying he supports cannabis reform; he is reportedly, on the board of a Med-cannabis company.. ‘follow the money’ ? :/

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  27th October 2018

        Not at all. Don’t you ever change your mind? If he hadn’t, would you be accusing him of being stuck in a rut and being closed-minded?

        • @KCK

          Yes I do change my mind.. but rarely 180degs.

          I accept that Dunne ‘may have finally seen the light’ BUT how much harm has occurred in the interim ?

          It was his drug reform that saw Synthetics made legal, (45+ deaths in last year from this poison).. while refusing to move on natural cannabis. 😦

          It is time to stop the sidestepping & face the FACTS

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  27th October 2018

            It has to be accepted that the people who have died willingly and knowingly took the ‘synnies’.

            • ‘true’ kitty.. BUT would they have done so, if it was natural Herb, that was made legal in 2013, rather than ‘synnies’ ?

  3. david in aus

     /  27th October 2018

    I hope we don’t forget why laws have existed in the first place.

    Yes, there is a cost in policing illicit drugs, on the courts, crime etc.

    But more than >100 years when these drugs were legal and they cause human misery on an industrial scale. Opium dens cratered whole generations of people. We have issues now with prescription opioids, imagine the rise in harm when these drugs become more available.

    We have make judgements on the cost and benefits of prohibiting certain drugs. The cost of prohibiting alcohol, from experience, outweighs the benefits. Cannabis, the jury is out on this.
    I do not think legalizing all drugs is desirable for society, the harms will outweigh the benefits.

    • I dont think they are saying ‘Lets legalise all drugs’ (a free for all).. BUT rather that Zero-tolerance/Prohibition has failed to achieve its stated outcomes & in fact in many cases has made things worse: unregulated black-market run by gangs/organised crime, lack of treatment options for addicts, criminalising people for possession/personal use.

      As Helen & many others are now saying, this has been a total failure (as it was with alcohol in 1920s USA) & it is time to look at alternatives, as is already happening in many other countries. Education, harm reduction & treatment for addiction being the words they are using 🙂

      It is time to stop all the fear-mongering & negative misinformation; remove the WAR On DRUGS blinkers & look outside the tunnel !

  4. PartisanZ

     /  27th October 2018

    Enuf said FULL STOP …

    What we’ve got now is an ongoing talk-fest … possibly designed to carry us through to the next election … as people go on dying … and with ONE lonely MP committed to genuine sensible action, Chloe Swarbrick …

    The volumes of scientific information and international best practice on this subject possibly outweigh those of climate change!

    We need to GET THE FUCK ON WITH IT!

    And that means each of us in the 74 – 78% in favour asking ourselves: What is required of me so we can GET THE FUCK ON WITH IT?

    • tautoko PZ.. agree 100%

      we do not want to leave it to the MPs to ‘sort it’.. more public debate & even protests needed !

      “What do we want ? LAW REFORM”
      “When do we want it ? NOW !!!” 🙂


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