Parasites on poverty take a legal hit


If there were a prize for political weasel of the year it would have to go to Minister of Self-Service Peter Dunne on the issue of legal highs.

When the heat came on from frustrated communities in low-income areas witnessing the destructive impact of these products the gutless little worm refused to ban legal highs and tried to pass responsibility on to local bodies with weak and ineffective legislation.

When mayors complained he loudly castigated them again and again for being slow to use the popgun powers he’d given them as Associate Health Minister. He told us he was quite frankly getting sick and tired of their winging and they should just get on with the job. It was classic Pontius Pilate – wash your hands and depart the scene.

However after weeks of mounting community anger, marches and pickets of local shops and the revelation that Dunne’s son is a lawyer working for the legal high industry the worm turned and was Dunne was forced act for his own self-preservation. He will have legislation to ban legal highs before parliament next week.

This is a victory for community action around the country.

Legal highs are targeted particularly at low-income communities. It’s the same with the other “parasites on poverty” such as pokie venues, cheap booze outlets, loan sharks, and fast-food joints. We don’t find them on every street corner in Remuera, Karori or Fendalton. Instead they propagate in areas like South Auckland, Porirua and Aranui.

We all know this ban is not the whole answer to the huge problems dealing with legal and illegal drug use in the community but it shows what can be done when communities campaign against these “parasites on poverty” which they see destroying young lives before their eyes.
When Dunne announces his ban in parliament next week he needs to also announce greatly improved services for the many additional drug addicts he has helped create through his failure to act decisively at the request of communities.


  1. You forgot to add – legalise cannabis – the real thing. It is long past time to end the criminally stupid regime of cannabis prohibition.

    Your “parasites on poverty” line implies that “the poor” have absolutely no self control and are incapable of staying home and cooking a meal. Really?

  2. This community approach might be a way to deal with pokies & loan sharks too. I’m sure they do as much harm.

  3. It seems the main thrust of your article is the somewhat patronising view that people in ‘poverty’ are incapable of making the correct decisions for themselves.

    • C’mon Intrinsicvalue, you know as well as I do that Poverty is an industry to be exploited.

      Poverty gets exploited by unions who impose fees on poor workers in the name of protecting the vulnerable. Yet we had 51 workplace deaths in New Zealand last year. So much for unions making our workplaces safe!

      As long as those in poverty continue to hand over their money to Unions and the likes of John Minto they will remain poor.

      Stand up for yourselves poor New Zealanders and don’t hand your money over to these snake oil salesman.

    • Well the science does assert that the day-to-day grinding stress of poverty contributes to poor decision making. The industries listed by John are clearly exploiting this by heavily targeting low socio-economic areas. So we have businesses thriving on the weaknesses of our most vulnerable people, which is ethically and morally questionable.

      …But I don’t think you’re concerned for the self-esteem of the poverty-stricken. I think you’re pondering back to all those times people on the left criticised you or your ideology for being patronising towards those in poverty and you’re now lining yourself up to play the ‘hypocrite’ card. I can tell you now, with the utmost certainty, that you are wrong.

      • “Well the science does assert that the day-to-day grinding stress of poverty contributes to poor decision making.”

        Perhaps, but then again so does the grinding stress of holding a job down, of long working hours and juggling those hours with a family you love.

        “The industries listed by John are clearly exploiting this by heavily targeting low socio-economic areas.”

        Which will only work if those in low socio economic areas cannot make sound financial and social decisions for themselves.

        And it seems to me that is the underlying implication.

        • Oh dear. Once again IV ‘if only people were like me the world would be a much better place’ syndrome. Ever lived in poverty? And no people don’t live in poverty because they make the decision to or they like it.

        • That is the underlying implication. Your misstep is the insinuation that it applies to everyone living in poverty. That would be patronising.

  4. Good Post John Minto .

    @ Intrinsicvaslue . You say ;
    ” It seems the main thrust of your article is the somewhat patronising view that people in ‘poverty’ are incapable of making the correct decisions for themselves.”

    Patronising ? How was John Minto’s Post patronising ? Are you sure you have the correct word ?

    As for people in poverty being incapable of making correct decisions for themselves . That is correct . They are not .
    That’s perhaps why they are kept impoverished . To be manipulated and used . And I think that was the point of John Minto’s Post . In case you missed it . Which I think you did .

    Trans generational poverty is like another language on another planet while breathing different air for those of you whom are not living in poverty . People in poverty need very , very special care . People who put them there and keep them there need a swift kick in the balls / vagina .

    In Peter Dunnes case ? Ruffle his hair . That’d make him go mental I bet .

      • I’m quite sure this family living in a tent in CHCH are not “expecting” ‘the taxpayer…..’, to do anything. And media have hyped up the entire situation.

        I do believe, that right at this moment in time, they are indeed in need of care and support. This is the issue with the family in the tent – and it is a wonderful cause for our taxes – not a bad one.

        Why do you think that spending tax dollars to help the down and out is wrong? Seriously, do you really think that way?

    • Country boy, you are too quick to blame others for every little thing.

      A man who always showed admirable restraint in challenging situations once told me “nothing’s a problem as long as you have someone else to blame.” Listen to yourself. According to almost all supporters of this blog, everything bad that happens to anyone receiving below a certain level of income is someone else’s fault. You think you are all being ripped off. Blame, blame, blame.

      That is why the average middle class wage and salary earners have no patience for your arguments. They are sick and tired of being blamed for this guy being addicted to gambling, that guy being addicted to alcohol. ‘My rent is too high because a greedy capitalist is ripping me off’. I can’t afford the petrol to get to a doctors appointment because the state are not paying me enough.’

      Heaven forbid, if all your wishes came true and everybody received a huge weekly welfare entitlement or a living wage. That would put you on a “rich prick” tax rate. I can see it now…Country boy complaining about 60% of his income being stolen from him by the government to give to others while he struggles to maintain a standard of living that he knows he deserves. “Why is it that as soon as it looks like I’m just starting to get somewhere the government takes half of it.”

      If your hopes and dreams rely on winning an election that will allow you and others to legislate to redistribute income from the productive sector to the unproductive sector while using ‘climate change’ to sanction unrealistic taxes, levies and restrictions on progress, you need to reassess your hopes…..and your sanity.

  5. Good work on the legal highs parasites, next parasites to target are the pokies and Casino owners …

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