This year’s hikoi to Waitangi highlighted ‘P’ problems, which are a major issue in Northland. It’s a good choice for the hikoi, addressing problems that the community can and should do something about.
Northern Advocate: Northland hikoi from Cape Reinga to Waitangi demands end to P scourge
Marchers in an anti-P hikoi from Cape Reinga to Waitangi say they succeeded in raising awareness about the drug’s devastating effect on Northland – and where people can go for help.
More than 500 people took part in the final stage of the hikoi yesterday from the campground next to Te Tii Marae to the Treaty Grounds, where they were given a rousing welcome at Te Whare Runanga (the carved meeting house).
A day earlier about 50 people arrived at Waitangi after a five-day walk from Cape Reinga, with more joining in each time the hikoi passed through towns on the way.
While past hikoi have focused on environmental or land issues, this year’s called on Government and iwi leaders to do more to combat methamphetamine, also known as P.
The hikoi was also unusual in that it had wholehearted backing from the police, and some of the marchers called on the Government to boost police numbers so they were better able to fight the class A drug.
The Government recently announced a significant increase in police numbers.
Hikoi leader Reti Boynton, of Kaitaia, said in parts of Northland it was easier to find P than it was to get cannabis, and addicts had to wait three to six months to get into rehab. By then it was often too late.
The drug made people aggressive and willing to sell anything to get it, he said.
“It turns women into prostitutes, men into thieves, and takes food out of cupboards. And what is the Government doing about it? Nothing.”
I don’t think it’s true that ‘the Government’ is doing nothing about it, but ‘P’ has become a major problem.
And it’s not just up to the Government and the police to deal with social issues, society itself, and communities, need to take some responsibility in speaking up and acting.
Which is what this hikoi has done. Good on them.