‘Model drug law’ seeks feedback

The NZ Drug Foundation has put out Whakawātea te Huarahi – A Model Drug Law to 2020 and Beyond, and they are seeking feedback.

Our thinking is based on evidence and research from New Zealand and around the world about the best way to reduce the harms caused by both drugs and our current drug law.

‘Whakawātea’ means to clear, free up, cleanse or purify spiritually, while ‘huarahi’ is a pathway, road or track. The title of our model drug law is intended to signify a fresh start for the debate on drug policy and a sense of movement towards a better future.

The key to moving towards an Aotearoa free from drug harm is to start treating drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal issue. Our model drug law proposes:

  • Removing criminal penalties for the possession, use and social supply of all drugs
  • Developing a strictly regulated cannabis market
  • Putting more resources into prevention, education and treatment.

The document is intended to be a conversation starter. We’d love to know what you think.

Download: Whakawatea te Huarahi – A Model Drug Law to 2020 and Beyond (July2017)( PDF 3.2mb )


There are many possible paths to reforming New Zealand’s outdated drug law. The ideas we’ve presented are based on solid evidence and public health principles. 

To ensure Whakawātea te Huarahia – A Model Drug Law to 2020 and beyond is as as good as it can be, please tell us what you think. We welcome all constructive feedback.

These are the sorts of questions we’d like to hear from you about.

  • Are our proposals workable?
  • What parts would you change and why?

As well as commenting below, we will be bringing as many voices together as possible this year to develop consensus around a workable model. We’ll be holding community hui and talking to iwi, politicians, service providers, people who use drugs and many others. Watch this space.

Tell us what you think