The Eros Association extends their congratulations to the New Zealand National Party after their third consecutive electoral victory over the weekend. The National Party introduced and passed the ground-breaking Psychoactive Substances Act (PSA) in 2013 with near unanimous support. This legislation made New Zealand the first country in the world to try regulation rather than prohibition to tackle the rising market for Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS). The PSA is designed to regulate any substance that is not already controlled by other legislation and can be tested and found to be of a low-risk to health. While the PSA and its regulatory bodies are being set up, an interim period was allowed where retailers could apply for a temporary license and continue to sell licensed products. Australian federal, state and territory governments have introduced over 30 new amendments to legislation since 2011, failing to curb the market and creating incentives for more untested NPS to end up on the market.
Earlier this year, the New Zealand government revoked all interim licenses in response to political pressure from several small but vocal interest groups.
Now that New Zealand has decided who will lead the country for the next few years, we urge the government to push forward with ensuring that the PSA is implemented effectively so that products can begin to be tested and regulated as low-risk. Grant Hall from NZ industry representative group The Star Trust said, “Let’s get on with it and finish it as soon as possible. Let’s stop the suffering and reduce the potential harm to otherwise law abiding Kiwis, who are currently forced to deal with organised crime to get low risk social tonics.”
Australian legislators and drug law reform organisations are watching on with interest to see how the PSA is implemented.