National “too scared” to address cannabis issues

Peter Dunne has said that National were ‘too scared” to address dysfunctional cannabis and drug laws – and Labour seem to be barely better.

It’s widely known that cannabis law (and drug laws generally) are not effective and create more problems than they solve. However successive governments have failed to deal with them.

As Associate Health Minister under the previous National led Government Peter Dunne bore the brunt of political criticism over cannabis and other drug law failures, but he has become increasingly critical of the role the National Party played.

Newshub:  National ‘too scared’ for cannabis reform while in Govt – Peter Dunne

Former leader of United Future, Peter Dunne has called out the National Party for only putting forward a medicinal cannabis bill once they were ‘in the safety’ of opposition.

“In government they were frankly too scared – they were really paranoid about the potential impact any change in this area…would have on their rural and provincial support base. They didn’t want to be seen as soft on these things. That was their prevailing mindset.

“I am frustrated that now they’re in the comfort of opposition, the impotence of opposition, they think this is a good course of action to take,” he told Newshub Nation on Friday.

I believe Dunne on this.

I was approached in 2011 to stand as a candidate for United Future. It was always going to be an extremely long shot, but it gave me a great perspective of politics and our democratic system.

One condition for standing was that if I won the equivalent of political lotto (the odds were probably greater) I would be able to promote cannabis law reform. Dunne was happy with this.

I had contact with him over the years, and he always expressed a willingness to try to deal with drug law issues, and he showed frustration that he was being limited by National.

Dunne was used by National as a scapegoat to take attention away from their own gutlessness in avoiding drug law reform.

Labour haven’t been much better. They effectively trashed Chlöe Swarbrick’s Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis and Other Matters) Amendment Bill when it went before Parliament earlier this year – see Chloe Swarbrick’s medicinal cannabis bill fails at first reading.

Also Chloe Swarbrick: MPs out of touch over medicinal marijuana (RNZ are out of touch using the term marijuana):

During the first reading Ms Swarbrick told Parliament something had to change.

“You do not find a solution to a problem by beating it with a blunt and broken instrument.

“The law here is broken and good, kind otherwise law-abiding people are risking jail to help their neighbours and those in their community currently experiencing unnecessary suffering.”

Ms Swarbrick urged National MPs who wanted to support her bill to do so – despite the official party line being to oppose it.

“I would like to invite any National Party MPs who support this to stick their neck out and to be on the right side of history tonight – it will not pass without you votes.”

On Tuesday, National MP Chris Bishop said he would be backing the bill, but voted against it.

Nikki Kaye had been given dispensation to vote for it but also ended up opposing it.

Now Labour have put up their own inferior and flawed alternative.

National and NZ First were the main culprits in blocking this bill, but eight Labour MPs also voted against it. Parliament failed to reflect strong public opinion (in one poll 78%) who supported cannabis law reform.

Current Health Minister David Clark has taken the responsibility for medicinal cannabis law has failed to show leadership on this, as has Jacinda Ardern.

It reflects poorly on National and Labour that the most prominent champion of cannabis law reform is first term *and the youngest) MP Swarbrick to try to represent public wishes on this.

Claim of creationism taught in school linked to National

It is claimed that a school linked to National’s conference in the weekend, and with links to National MPs, has been teaching creationism in preference to evolution.

Newsroom: Creationism taught in science class

A former student of a Villa Education Trust private school claims creationism was taught as a preferred theory of how the world began in science classes he attended.

The student from Mt Hobson Middle School said Darwinism was taught as an unproven theory and students were shown a video purporting to show science had found proof of God’s existence.

His impression was the school backed the concept of creationism “100 percent”.

It’s a concern if any New Zealand school is promoting creationism – a belief system – over the science of evolution, especially in a science class.

The science teacher was Rachel O’Connor, sister of National Party leader Simon Bridges and wife of National MP Simon O’Connor.

That must be an embarassingly close connection for National.

The trust runs two private schools and two charter schools. Currently its charter schools, including one visited by National Party members yesterday, are in limbo waiting to hear if their application to transition to designated character schools will be approved.

It isn’t a great advertisement for charter/partnership schools either.

“They [O’Connor] said, we’re going to watch a video. They didn’t tell us anything about it, they just started showing it. What followed was a documentary of twisted quotes trying to prove how scientists had discovered God.

“I’m watching, thinking, hang on this is really weird. I respect anyone’s religious beliefs, I have no problem with that, but this is a science class.

“This felt really wrong to me. I do respect the process of science, for them to twist – really twist – these quotes, especially from Albert Einstein, someone loads of people, including myself really respect, it made me quite angry.”

Religious studies are expected and fine in a religious school, as long as parents know thaat’s what they are putting there children into.

But science classes should stick to science.

‘Synthetic cannabis’ crisis requires urgent action

Synthetic drugs, inaccurately referred to as ‘synthetic cannabis’, have been causing major problems for years. The National government got spooked by bad publicity and neutered a ground breaking way of dealing with them in 2013  – Psychoactive Substances Bill a ‘game-changer’ but National lost the plot after some adverse publicity.

But these drugs are still a major problem – in part because of Parliament’s failure to address the ongoing failure of current drug laws, especially for cannabis which is far safer than synthetics.

National have tried to address things through a Member’s bill, but this has been slammed: ‘Naive nonsense’ – Peter Dunne slams Simeon Brown’s bill increasing synthetic cannabis penalties, saying it just won’t work

Former Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has slammed a member’s Bill proposing to increase penalties for dealing synthetic drugs, saying penalties simply will not solve the problem.

Numerous deaths, especially in the Auckland region, were attributed to deadly batches of synthetic drugs last year.

Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown’s Bill, which would amend the Psychoactive Drugs Act 2013, would increase the penalty for dealing the substances from two years in prison to 8 years, and has passed its first reading.

National’s Mr Brown wrote that “this Bill is necessary in order to protect our communities and young people from these harmful drugs, to deter those who are supplying them into the market, and to give Police stronger powers to crack down on suppliers”.

Mr Dunne, speaking this morning with TVNZ 1’s Breakfast called Mr Brown’s Bill “naive nonsense” and put it down to being an “easy win” for him.

“It’s been the easy one over the years – make the penalties tougher, hit those who are supplying,” Mr Dunne said.

“There is a case for changing the penalties, because they are a bit out of line with the Misuse of Drugs Act, but to suggest that is the answer is simply naive nonsense.”

Mr Dunne said synthetic drugs were under control in 2013, but parliament had backtracked due to “moral panic” from the public about the drugs.

“These drugs had actually been on the market for years – we’d brought them under control,” he said.

“Parliament then backtracked and decided to change the law and the consequence of that, plus the unrelated but pretty important issue of a ban on animal testing of these substances, meant the law has been stymied for the last four years and the market’s gone underground.

“The only way to get on top of it is to go back to what the Psychoactive Substances Act was all about – have products tested for the level of risk and sold properly through regulated stores.”

Mr Dunne said increasing penalties would  be popular with Mr Brown’s constituents, but it would not solve the problem.

“The problem is, because this market is underground and is expanding, we’ve lost control of it.

RNZ:  Govt departments urged to find solution on synthetic cannabis

Government agencies have been asked to urgently find ways to reduce the harm caused by synthetic cannabis.

Figures from the Coroner show 40 to 45 people died in the year to June because of synthetic cannabis, compared with two deaths in the previous five years.

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters said the ministers of health, justice, police and customs would seek advice from their agencies and put their heads together to find the best solution.

“There has been a lot of work on this in the past but I think we have to be honest in that we haven’t come up with the kind of solutions which have seen a turnaround or a victory against the people who are peddling this stuff.”

Mr Peters would not rule out including part of National Party MP Simeon Brown’s bill, which would increase the maximum jail sentence for selling or supplying synthetic drugs from two years to eight.

“The police say that that would not work.”

RNZ:  Synthetic cannabis crisis: ‘They are looking for help now on the ground’ – Drug Foundation

The Drug Foundation wants the government to come up with a practical response to the synthetic cannabis crisis, not a bureaucratic one.

Executive director of the Drug Foundation Ross Bell said his fear was that officials would look at policy responses or suggest tougher penalties – neither of which was a solution.

“We need action on the ground now, if you see a lot of the community voices, the parents who have suffered tragedy here, they’re not looking for policy responses, they’re not looking for tougher penalties, they are are looking for help now on the ground.”

Mr Bell said there were practical things that government agencies could be doing now, or should have been doing last year in response to this.

He said part of that was sharing information much more quickly.

“So that St John Ambulance for example, knows what the hell is going on, getting resources on the ground, helping those communities that are experiencing these issues, getting resources there around harm reduction, drug treatment and making sure people who need help don’t have to sit on a waiting list for so long.”

Mr Peters said it couldn’t be denied that governments had tried and failed to address the issues around synthetic cannabis.

“We have to look at what we’ve been talking about in the past and reviewing in the past, and with a multiplicity of agencies set out to provide some serious solutions and as fast as possible.”

But continuing to fail to deal with laws and policing related to natural cannabis is  apart of the problem.

Winston’s insistence of a referendum won’t cut it – it needs urgent and decisive action from those in power in Parliament.

2/2 The challenge now is to make that Act work as intended, not waste time reinventing the wheel while people die

National’s primary teacher policy

The new policy announcement made by Simon Bridges at National’s conference in the weekend seems a strange choice – a promise to increase the number of primary school teachers and lower class sizes.

Typically National really struggles with teacher related policies. It is fairly well known that Labour works very closely with teacher unions, and the unions don’t like working with National.

I guess it signifies a change in direction for national under Bridges’ leadership. Press release (edited):

National commits to more primary teachers

National Party Leader Simon Bridges has announced National’s commitment to increasing the number of primary teachers to reduce class sizes and give kids more teacher time.

“With the right education we can overcome the challenges that some children face purely because of the circumstances they were born into,” Mr Bridges said at the National Party’s annual conference in Auckland today.

“There is one thing every child needs to help them achieve their potential, from the one that struggles to sit still and follow instructions to the bright child that wants to be challenged to the gifted child that doesn’t know how to channel their talent.

“And that’s attention from one of New Zealand’s world class teachers who can cater to the needs of each child, and spend more time with each of them.

“More teachers means more attention for our kids at a stage of life when they need it most.

“To achieve their potential and reach their dreams our kids need less Facebook and more face time with teachers.

“National is committed to delivering that by putting more teachers in schools to ensure smaller class sizes for our children.

“We’re also committed to attracting more teachers and ensuring they are highly respected professionals in our communities. Part of that is pay, and it’s also about conditions such as class sizes and the investment we put into teachers to deliver quality learning to our kids.

Mr Bridges said National would spend the next two years working with teachers, parents and communities on the details of the policy, along with the others it will take to the electorate in 2020.

“This year is about listening to our communities, next year about getting feedback on the ideas we put forward and 2020 about delivering the concrete plans that show New Zealanders we are ready to lead.

“We will make every day count. National will bring strong leadership, the best ideas and the ability to make a difference. I’m backing New Zealanders and I’m starting with our children.”

Labour used to propose reducing class sizes (2014 campaign) and criticised National on class sizes, but I can’t find anything specifically in their education manifesto on this.

Chris Hipkins two years ago (July 2016): Bigger class sizes on the way under National

Hekia Parata’s refusal to rule out bigger class sizes as a result of her new bulk funding regime speaks volumes about the real agenda behind her proposed changes, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Hekia Parata has proposed that schools should have the ‘flexibility’ to spend money that currently goes towards teaching salaries on other expenses. That can only result in bigger class sizes, a reduction in the number of courses on offer, or both.

“I’m not surprised that Hekia Parata has refused to rule out bigger class sizes. In Western Australia, where she has drawn inspiration for her new model from, at least the Minister for Education was honest enough to admit class sizes going up was a likely consequence of bulk funding.

NZH a year ago (July 2017): Modern classrooms in all schools by 2030: Labour’s election pledge

Ahead of the 2014 election Labour focused on reducing class sizes to one teacher to 26 students at primary and a maximum average class size of 23 at secondary schools. Those specific goals have been dropped.

Hipkins told the Herald the 2014 policy to cut class sizes would have been funded by scrapping National’s flagship education policy, Investing in Educational Success (IES).

“A lot of money is committed now. It remains a goal to reduce class sizes and we will have more to say on that in due course.”

In due course hasn’t arrived yet. National seem to have taken over a Labour policy.

This looks a bit like more Tweedlenats and Tweedlelabour.

HDPA infuriated by medical cannabis debate

Heather du Plessis Allan, like many people, is a tad annoyed about how politicians and parliament are stuffing around on the medical cannabis issue.

NZH: Medicinal marijuana debate continues to infuriate

Doesn’t the medicinal marijuana debate infuriate you? Just the fact we are having the debate. Still.

The first time I felt properly angry about it was when Helen Kelly was still alive. Dying of cancer is probably a better way to describe her situation at the time. Or maybe “illegally procuring weed”.

It infuriated me that she had to break the law to enjoy her final days.

Final days would hardly be enjoyable, but less unenjoyable (legally) would have been good.

She said cannabis was the only thing that took away her pain. It was the only thing that gave her a full night’s sleep. Nothing else could do that. Not even morphine.

So there she was, with a broken back and cancer in her lungs, and she was supposed to suffer. Her final days were supposed to be agonising. Because cannabis is illegal. And rules about plants are more important than a human’s final days with her family.

Well that makes me furious. To this day it still does.

Parliament’s health select committee has just decided that they can’t decide on what to do with the cannabis bill they have just been considering.

And National just proposed an alternative bill. It may well be better than the current bill, but the timing of their announcement was widely seen as political rather than a genuine proposal to solve a problem.

Which means I have precious little time for the games the National Party is playing with medicinal cannabis. And please, every time I say “medicinal cannabis”, feel free to swap that out for “better life quality” if you like.

Last week, the National Party pulled its support from the Coalition Government’s bill to legalise medicinal cannabis. Instead National announced it had drawn up its own bill. A competitor bill.

National said its bill is better. National is right. Its bill is better. It’s far more detailed. It stipulates who can access medicinal cannabis. How they can access medicinal cannabis. What form that medicinal cannabis will be in. Plus, the bill helps more sufferers.

One would have hoped they could have come up with this at the start of the process with the current bill in Parliament.

But, that bill isn’t going anywhere fast. It’s been dropped into Parliament’s Deka-bought biscuit jar. That’s where it will stay for a short time or forever. It’s impossible to predict. It’s what’s called a member’s bill and member’s bills are only occasionally drawn from that jar in a lucky-dip scenario. So, as I said, it might never come out.

Which is excruciating and cruel to sufferers who needed pain relief yesterday. Those who died in agony today. Or will die in agony tomorrow. And the day thereafter, and the day thereafter, and so on until we get lucky and a hand grabs the right piece of paper in that jar.

Playing lotto with people’s quality of life and with their lives is not a winner for National.

And there are aspects of their bill that are worse than Labour’s. I think it would leave smoking cannabis as illegal for dying people.

To be fair, I’d give National a mark of A+ for clever politics. It totally upstaged the Government. It showed how much more experienced its MPs are. It stole the limelight on what should’ve been the Government’s day to feel proud. It even managed to look slightly progressive, which is handy given the party is led by someone so Conservative he makes Muldoon look like a gay pride parader.

But clever politics won’t make anyone’s life better. It’s no pain relief for someone’s dying mum.

It’s just cynical and infuriating. So A+ for playing politics. F for looking after New Zealanders in pain.

National have long been conservative on cannabis – conservative as not wanting to do anything about a shambles of a law in practice.

And they have made a hash of compassionate conservatism.


At least Bridges is getting some publicity

Simon bridges has been nearly as invisible as Jacinda Ardern. The latter has been on maternity leave. The former has been touring the country meeting and talking to as many people as possible, but apart from local news that tends to be boring repeat speeches for the media.

As acting Prime Minister Winston Peters has been enjoying the limelight, and substantially overshadowing Bridges.

National are having their first conference in opposition for a decade, so Bridges is at least getting some publicity. Some of it self inflicted:

Not a great way of looking like a fresh new leader.

Newshub: Battle lines drawn at National Party conference

The battle lines have been drawn between Winston Peters and Simon Bridges, suggesting there’s little chance that National and New Zealand First could work together at the next election.

Mr Bridges is facing one of his biggest challenges yet as leader of the Opposition, convincing his own party he’s the man for the job.

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard opened the National Party conference with a big ole whinge about last year’s election result.

“A very disappointing and unjust, unfair political result,” he called it.

That was very unhelpful for National. It’s time they moved on from being jilted by Peters at the post-election matchmaking, but, Bridges made things worse agreeing with it

“That result was a little hard to take.”

“I don’t expect the prime ministership to be handed to me on a platter.”

But Peters has been dominating Bridges, as he did again yesterday.

If, like last election, Mr Peters has anything to do with it, it won’t be.

“The chances of Simon Bridges lasting the next election – on the past National Party record – is not good,” says Mr Peters.

“I’ll tell you why Simon’s gone – Simon’s discovered so much of his past, a bit like Columbus discovered America, by accident.

“All of a sudden he’s decided that he’s a Māori. Nobody knew that before he got there.”

Mr Bridges responded, saying, “Winston gets weirder and weirder by the day.”

Mr Howard is his idol.

“John is my absolute hero – absolutely.”

I doubt there will be many Kiwis who give bridges any credit for worshipping a past it Aussie politician.

Stuff’s headline was negative for National: Fresh hostilities erupt between Winston Peters and National

Bad blood between Winston Peters and the National Party has erupted in a fresh war of words after the NZ First leader warned “the jackals” would soon be circling deputy Paula Bennett.

As National gathered for its first party conference since last year’s defeat, Peters also predicted leader Simon Bridges would be gone before the next election.

National president peter Goodfellow didn’t help: National dodged a ‘whisky-swilling’ bullet in Winston Peters

National Party President Peter Goodfellow has mounted an attack on Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters, saying National had “dodged a whisky-swilling, cigarette-smoking, double-breasted and irrational bullet”.

Speaking at the National Party conference, Goodfellow said that in hindsight National had a lucky escape in Peters’ decision to side with Labour after the election last year and to send National into Opposition.

Senior MP Nick Smith later echoed Goodfellow’s sentiments, saying his worst time in politics was when he was around the Cabinet table with Peters in the 1990s.

National missed getting the numbers to form a government without Peters last year.

It is a very challenging goal if their aim is somehow sustain their support through a term in opposition and then grow it enough to form a government on their own in 2020, because at the moment that looks like their only option.

Bridges may be working well with James Shaw on climate change, but I don’t think Green party members will ever accept a coalition with National.

So National Party conference a bride short of a wedding

The National Party conference is something like a wedding with a nervous groom, something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.

The blue came in the new hues of blue on the conference programme, more calm and muted shades than the bright teal preferred by former Prime Minister John Key.

That programme cover promised the ‘new”. “new team, new ideas, new zealand ” it read, all in trendy lower case. The other ‘new’ was National’s place in Opposition rather than Government.

The old came in the form of Key himself, as well as reassuring noises for the more traditional National supporters from leader Simon Bridges that the party would stick to the old when it came to economic policies.

The borrowed was in the form of the announcement to restore and expand charter schools – a policy that was initially the Act Party’s.

It is a potentially risky conference as National’s first in Opposition in a decade and with Bridges struggling to get traction as preferred Prime Minister.

There was no open questioning about Bridges’ leadership or blood-letting about the election outcome.

But nor did anyone seem to question whether gunning for Peters was really a good idea given the one thing missing from National’s wedding party was a bride to walk up the aisle with in 2020.

Bringing the Popular John Key back into the limelight was a risk for Bridges, who is a big contrast in appeal.

Last night on TV news Bridges showed all the charisma of a wet fish.

Image result for cartoon wet fish

The National conference will resume today, and Bridges has a big chance for impact with his keynote address.

If he studies how Helen Clark transformed herself from an unimpressive also-ran into a three term leader – very rapidly – he might start to appeal as a PM-in-waiting, but I doubt that will have happened overnight.

Talking about ‘my people’ and ‘my health team’ makes him sound like a try-hard leader rather than an actual leader.

He could hope that voters don’t care how he looks until the next election campaign.

But his problem (apart from himself) is the media, who are at risk at writing off his chances and covering him accordingly. They can be the death knell for political leadership, as Daavid Shearer, David Cunliffe and Andrew Little found out.

Bridges has already tried the family/kids thing but no one cares about that. He can’t have a baby so is stuffed on that approach.

He may somehow surprise today. He sort of has to to make any progress.

Nation: Simon Bridges

Simon Bridges has struggled to be noticed and to impress since taking over as National leader and Leader of the Opposition.

He has failed to get anywhere against Winston Peters in Parliament, he comes across poorly or at least unimpressively  in media appearances, and he and National have introduced some questionable policy positions recently, one being the timing in particular of a medical cannabis alternative after withdrawing support for a flawed Government bill currently before Parliament.

This is an important weekend for Bridges as National has it’s first conference in opposition this decade.

Bridges is interviewed on The Nation this morning.

It’s really difficult to stay focussed when Bridges is speaking. He may be saying good things, his words make him sound like he knows about what he is talking about, but his delivery is monotonous.


Politics pissing on people over cannabis bills

Parties playing politics are taking precedent over popular public opinion on cannabis laws.

Newsroom: Cannabis bill more politics than policy

National has drawn up its own medicinal cannabis bill, but the real story isn’t the policy, but the politics behind it, Thomas Coughlan reports.

National has released its alternative medicinal cannabis bill, which it says will make cannabis medication products more widely available.

The party also says that the bill adds some much-needed regulatory detail to the Government’s bill, which largely delegated such detail to officials.

But the real story of the day was a political one, with National blindsiding Labour, whose medicinal cannabis bill returned from select committee today.

Surprised Government MPs were unable to comment on National’s bill, which they had only been made aware of after it was reported by Newshub on Wednesday night.

The bill puts pressure on the Government’s support parties, particularly the Greens, whose own medicinal cannabis bill brought by Chlöe Swarbrick was defeated in January.

I don’t think it puts pressure on the Greens. They are the only party to come out of this shemozzle with any credit.

If National’s bill is drawn from the ballot and found to be popular, pressure could mount on the Green party to break ranks with the Government and support it.

The obvious problem with National’s bill is that there is no chance of it getting anywhere in the short term and there’s a low chance of it being drawn in the medium term.

In the House, Bridges accused the Government of not “doing the work” and said National’s detailed bill was evidence of a “Government in waiting”.

But National has been accused of time wasting and petty politicking.

Instead of using the select committee to recommend changes to the legislation, the party opted to draw up its own bill.

Woodhouse said the Government members on the Health select committee were “ambivalent” about National’s proposals, while Bridges said the Government’s bill didn’t even have “the makings of a framework”  to look at the regulations National members demanded.

But Government sources who have seen the bill said the issue was not so much the difference between what the two bills permit, but whether Parliament or officials dictate the regulatory regime.

The Health Select Committee’s Chair, Labour’s Louisa Wall, said the introduction of a new bill on the day the select committee was to release its report undermined the integrity of the select committee process.

Her comments implied it was unlikely Labour would support National’s bill, even if it was found to be an improvement on their own.

Disappointing crap from National and Labour.

With polls showing 80-90% support for decent medical cannabis law the public are getting pissed on by politics and parties.


Bridges tries tough talk to get noticed

Simon Bridges has come out of the parliamentary recess trying to talk tough. It looks like a new strategy to try to raise his profile and appeal. While it may appeal to entrenched National supporters and those further to the right, it is high risk for the crucial centre vote.

And it also risks ridicule.

Image result for cartoon puppy snarl

Dominion Post editorial: Mr Nice Guy bares his teeth

So the man standing in front of the image of the happy, attractive young couple is baring his teeth again. But now, the smile is gone.

No more Mr Nice Guy, it seems.

In Tauranga, one of 60-odd stops in a national tour of shaking hands and kissing babies, Bridges blasted the city council’s stance on beggars and the homeless.

They had been “far, far too soft”, he said; such people should be banned, perhaps even prosecuted.

Bridges has also been waging a campaigning against softening sanctions against beneficiaries – that was his focus on his return to Parliament’s question time yesterday – see Parliament back – Peters versus Bridges to nowhere – but he was a lamb slaughtered by Winston Peters.

Also yesterday: Simon Bridges says tobacco tax not to blame for dairy robberies

National leader Simon Bridges says Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters should be blaming criminals for robbing dairies – not high tobacco excise taxes.

That looks to be a repeat of a Judith Collins tweet. Sure, criminals are to blame for crime, but huge increases in tobacco tax and prices has to be a major factor in cigarette robberies and the black market.

And yesterday National announced going against rising public support for cannabis law reform – see National replace support for medical cannabis bill with lottery.

It’s really hard to understand this strategy – I presume it is a deliberate strategy.

So far as National leader Bridges has failed to impress the general voting population. Narrowing his target may shore up some support, but it risks losing the solid party support that National had maintained since the election.

The downfall of many leaders is when they try to be something they are not. People often don’t listen much to politicians, but they can tell a fake at a glance.

Image result for cartoon bridge to nowhere

I had my doubts about Bridges when National chose him to take over from the Key/English era but you never know how someone is going to step up in a leadership role, so I waited and watched.

I didn’t see anything much to give me confidence he had what was required.

Now I am seeing things that are quite disappointing.

Successful leaders learn from their mistakes.

Unsuccessful leaders fail to learn from mistakes.

Never successful leaders never get enough things right from the start.

National replace support for medical cannabis bill with lottery

It was disappointing that Labour wouldn’t get in behind a decent attempt to address hopeless drug laws.

Now National, who voted for the first reading of the Government medical cannabis bill, have decided to pull their support, instead option for their own member’s bill.

Who the hell decided that? Sick and dying people can wait on the chance of a lottery draw?


NZH: National pulls support on medicinal marijuana bill, propose own measure

The National Party will pull its support for a government bill to allow those with terminal conditions to access medicinal marijuana and instead put up its own “more comprehensive” bill on the issue.

The select committee considering the Government’s bill is due to report back on it tomorrow and National had supported it at first reading but said its ongoing support was dependent on what changes were made in select committee.

National leader Simon Bridges said the party had now decided to pull its support for that bill and develop its own measure, which he said would set out a more comprehensive and well researched regime for the use of medicinal cannabis.

“National supports greater access to high quality medicinal cannabis products to ease people’s suffering but we must have the right regulatory and legislative controls in place.

“Among other things, our bill is going to make clear who can buy medicinal cannabis, who can sell it, and exactly how that will work.”

That’s just bollocks Bridges.

And poorly timed with a poll out today showing increased and high public support for something decent to be done.

Now Labour and Greens will be dependent on NZ First to pass a watered down bill.

Extremely disappointing.

And Peters wants to delay things as well by taking cannabis law to a referendum. That’s just about as bad.

We have a Parliament of self interested wimps.