At Wednesday’s Child Poverty Action Group Whangārei election debate, the Green, Labour and National candidates all agreed that drugs are a health issue, not a criminal issue.
“Do we treat is as a health issue or do we treat is as a criminal issue? And that’s a conversation society will develop over time.” said National Candidate for Northland Matt King.
“We need to support our health services and our addiction services to deal with it. We just don’t have the resources here in Northland.” said Labour Candidate for Northland Willow Jean Prime.
“Ngawha Prison is at about 190% capacity. That’s where our resources are going. We do have the resources up here, they’re just going in the wrong direction.” says Green Candidate for Whangārei Ash Holwell.
In the past three years (Mar 14 – Mar 17) the Prisoner Population in New Zealand has increased by nearly 17%, and currently 52.2% of New Zealand prisoners are classified Minimum or Low Security.
The latest report from the Ministry of Health shows that 58 teenagers, and 147 adults in Northland had to wait over three weeks for the health assistance they requested in relation to drugs and alcohol.
“People are being denied the health care they need and are ending up in prison. They’re labelled low risk, yet aren’t able to access the drug and mental health services they require to get off the drugs. What we need are policies that get to the cause of problems, care for people in need, and actually produce results for our communities. The Green Party will deliver them.” says Ash Holwell.