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2017 Parliamentary Drug Policy Symposium

April 27, 2017 at 2:00 PM

*From the Community Waitakere Noticeboard*

2017 Parliamentary Drug Policy Symposium – Through the maze: Healthy drug law

I want to share with you my growing impatience with the slow progress being made on changing our obsolete drug law.

The Misuse of Drugs Act is 42-years-old and is no longer fit-for-purpose – it hasn’t arrested New Zealand’s high rates of drug use and drug harm, but has instead burdened tens of thousands of young people and Māori with criminal convictions.

When it was last reviewed in 2011, the Law Commission recommended it be repealed and replaced with a law based on effective health-focused responses to the drug problem.

Parliament has been unwilling to accept that considered recommendation. Meanwhile convictions mount and money continues to be pumped into law enforcement, court processes and prisons. This has to change.

To help inform and accelerate this change we’re convening a 2-day Parliamentary Drug Policy Symposium on 5-6 July, to which I invite you to join leading international and New Zealand drug policy thinkers to map out what a modern, health-focused drug law should look like. I want this new law in place by 2020.

To whet your appetite I’ve included the provisional agenda (below). To register and for more information including the biographies of our wonderful speakers visit:  

If you have any questions about the symposium please contact me – 021 499 292,


Ngā mihi nui

Ross Bell

Executive Director



2017 Parliamentary Drug Policy Symposium

“Through the maze: Healthy drug law”

5-6 July, 2017

Parliament Buildings, Wellington


Provisional agenda, subject to change

Nau mai, haere mai. Welcome to all.

Join our two-day forum about how New Zealand can shift to drug laws that are fit for the 21st Century.

Wednesday 5th July

9.00 - Mihi whakatau

  • Welcome from Alison Mau, symposium chairperson
  • Opening address – Hon Peter Dunne, Associate Minister of Health

10.00am – Keynote addresses:

  • Setting the scene – Professor Alison Ritter, Director. Drug Policy Modelling Program, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales
  • The case of Canada – Hon A. Anne McLellan, Chancellor Dalhousie University, Chair, Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation; former Deputy Prime Minister, Canada
  • The case of Washington State, and wider US reform – Alison Holcomb, Chief Executive Officer, Action Now Initiative, USA
  • Political panel – reflections on keynote presentations from NZ political leaders

2.00pm – Global opportunities

  • Drug policy reform within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – Rt Hon Helen Clark*, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme; former Prime Minister, New Zealand
  • Global drug policy reform post-UNGASS2016 – Ann Fordham, Executive Director, International Drug Policy Consortium

4.30pm - Reflections on day one

5.00pm - Cocktail function


Thursday 6th July

9.00am – Māori and drug law reform within the context of wider criminal justice sector reforms

  • Professor Khylee Quince, Associate Head of School, Director of Maori and Pacific Advancement, AUT School of Law; Trustee, NZ Drug Foundation
  • Professor Tracey McIntosh, Faculty of Arts, Auckland University; Joint Director, Nga Pae o te Maramatanga, Centre of Research Excellence
  • Hon. Tariana Turia* DNZM, founder Māori Party
  • Julia Whaipooti, Chair, Justspeak; Kaitakawaenga/National Māori Coordinator, Community Law Centres of Aotearoa
  • Annette Sykes*, Principal, Annette Sykes and Co
  • Roimata Smail, Director, Braithwaite & Smail

1.00pm – Public health innovations

  • Dr Marianne Jauncey, Director, Uniting Medically Supervised Injecting Centre, Sydney
  • Professor Fiona Measham, Criminology, School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University; Member, Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs; Co-Director, The Loop, UK
  • Professor Nicole Lee, Adjunct Professor, National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University; Director, 360Edge

New Zealand discussants:

  • Kathryn Leafe, Executive Director, Needle Exchange Programme
  • Wendy Allison, Director, Know Your Stuff
  • Dr Vanessa Caldwell, National Manager, Matua Raki

3.30pm – Launch of the NZ Drug Foundation’s model drug law

4.00pm – Final reflections and close

Category: Events