Some Dunedin legal-high retailers could be stubbed out if a
substantial exclusion zone is adopted by city councillors.
The Psychoactive Substances Act - passed by Parliament last
year - means local authorities can draft a locally approved
product policy (Lapp).
That gives councils the power to restrict stores from selling
legal high products near such places as education providers,
churches and community facilities.
To date, five local authorities have developed Lapps: Tasman,
Hamilton, Waipa, Napier and Hastings. A third of the
country's local authorities are developing policies.
Debate on exclusion zones has ranged from setting them at 50m
through to 500m, with 100m the most commonly adopted
Dunedin City Council liquor licensing and project officer
Kevin Mechen told the Otago Daily Times his draft Lapp
included ''exclusion zones''.
The draft was set to go before a council workshop by the end
of the month, with details ''to be teased out'' by
councillors, he said.
If a 100m exclusion zone was set - as in the draft policy -
then at least two of the eight legal-high retailers now
licensed to ply their trade in Dunedin would be affected.
Zeng Trading, in Prince Albert Rd, trades next to Supporting
Families Otago, and Sunny Ltd, in Princes St, trades near
Chipmunks Playland and Divo needle exchange.
Supporting Families Otago deputy chairwoman Stephanie
Pettigrew said the agency supported families of people with
mental illness and it was ''distressing for our staff and
clients to have that shop right there''.
''We certainly don't want them as our neighbour.''
An exclusion zone of 200m could potentially affect four other
PT Imports, in Great King St, trades near Dunedin Hospital,
and two George St businesses, Funk That and Cosmic Corner
Ltd, are within a block of Knox Church.
In Mosgiel, GK Imports, in Gordon Rd, is near a doctor's
Adult stores Cupid Shop (Otago), in Princes St, and Peaches
and Cream, in St Andrew St, are the two Dunedin retailers
that appear to be least affected by an exclusion zone of
Licences were issued to individual and specific addresses,
and could not be transferred to a different person or a
Retailers spoken to by the ODT declined to comment
until the policy was released.
Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne said ''I strongly
encourage Dunedin City Council, indeed all councils, to
''This is so communities have the opportunity to identify
where in their city or district they would prefer licensed
retailers to sell approved psychoactive products ahead of the
implementation of regulations and the full licensing
He noted the council, in its submission on the Psychoactive
Substances Bill, was supportive of the legislation, but asked
for two changes.
Those were for communities to decide on places where licensed
substances could be banned, and that licensed substances
should not be able to sold at licensed liquor outlets.
The passing of the Bill in July last year ''gives the DCC the
very power they asked for to develop a Lapp'', Mr Dunne said.
Drug Foundation chief executive Ross Bell said ''councils
have these powers because they know their community best''.
''They know the sensitive neighbourhoods, where the schools
are, where the drug treatment centres are. So rather than
moaning about these new powers they have, they should be
embracing them and making sure they best reflect their
Councils could choose to push the stores to the outskirts of
each community but that went against the spirit of the
''Councils could choose to do that if they wanted, but they
are removing themselves of any responsibility and shifting
all control to the criminal black market.
"They are naive if they think banning shops from these areas
will remove these products, as that demand will be met by
internet sales or tinny houses.''
Since the introduction of the Act, the number of outlets has
fallen more than 95%, to about 155, with three out of every
four products having been removed from sale.