Council still working on legal high policy

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The Waitaki District Council will move forward with the local approved products policy on psychoactive substances, despite the Government’s impending ban on legal highs.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said the Government’s move to ban remaining legal highs had overtaken the council as they moved forward with a local policy.

Speaking at the council’s Community Service Committee meeting yesterday, Mr Kircher said “the need for a policy is still there”.

Under recent government legislation, there were opportunities for substances to pass through an approval process to be able to be sold legally.

“My belief is we still should be developing a local approved products policy for them.”

Councillor June Slee said legal highs started youth on a lifelong track of addiction and dependency, and needed to be dealt with.

Cr Melanie Tavendale said she would like to see the first working group meeting fast-tracked, as the group would be useful in dealing with addicts after legal highs were gone.

“There’s still going to be a need for some kind of policy,” she said.

Mr Kircher said the policy was about putting something in place to get rid of the legal highs altogether.

At the meeting, it was moved that a working group would be established to work on the policy.

After voting, it was established that Crs Melanie Tavendale, June Slee and Jim Hopkins would take part in the working group, along with Mr Kircher, a community safety and development facilitator, a community services group manager and representatives from the police, the mental health sector, Child Youth and Family and more.

By DAVID DE LOREAN