MP for Taupo, Louise Upston, is urging members of the public to make submissions to the Psychoactive Substances Bill to help control the sale of ‘legal highs.’
“There has been a large level of concern from the community about party pills and synthetic cannabis products that some retailers are selling,” Louise said. “You can now have you say on this issue, so I’m encouraging people to make a submission to the select committee . We want to see a wide range of views represented.”
The Psychoactive Substances Bill regulates psychoactive substances, or “legal highs”, so products have to be proved low-risk before they can be sold.
At the moment, these products are unregulated, with no control over ingredients, place of sale, or who they can be sold to.
If the bill is passed it will be illegal to sell any product which has not been through an assessment. There will be strict restrictions on where products can be sold, the purchase age, and marketing restrictions. Manufacturers of legal high products will have to prove their product is low-risk before it can be manufactured and sold.
Cleaning up the “legal high” industry is part of Government’s drive to deliver better public services.
Louise has had the issue of legal highs raised by many constituents, and believes there has been pressure on those who sell it from the community.
“I have heard from constituents who have used synthetic products, and those who have been affected by friends or family taking them. There is a crippling negative impact for many people who use these drugs, and you can be exposed to significant dangers while experiencing the effects of these substances. Most people I have spoken to want the sale of these drugs more heavily regulated, which is what this bill is all about.”
Louise said New Zealanders deserve to know that products available to them are safe and that they’re not being put in harm’s way with untested, risky substances.
To make a submission go to www.parliament.nz and search for ‘Psychoactive Substances Bill.’ Submissions close on Wednesday, 1 May.
MP for Taupo, Louise Upston, is thrilled that heart patients in her electorate are receiving care faster than they have in the past.
Health Minister Tony Ryall announced yesterday that there has been real improvement in the quality of care patients receive.
“Data shows that 18 months ago only 33% of people in the central North Island were receiving an angiogram within 72 hours of presenting with serious chest pain – one of the lowest intervention rates in the country,” Mr Ryall said. “Now, 70% or more patients regularly receive an angiogram within 72 hours, which is important because this medical imaging enables blood vessels and the heart to be viewed.”
The improvements are due to a partnership between the New Zealand Cardiac Network and the Lakes and Waikato Midland District Health Boards.
“The more patients who are receiving angiograms sooner means less patients who are likely to have a heart attack because their condition can be diagnosed early,” Louise said. “We are now getting patients to special care quicker which is great news for everyone.”
The MidlandAcute Coronary Syndrome Projectfocusedon ensuring patients who have serious heart symptoms are assessed promptly and at least 70% of those who should undergo an angiogram receive this within three days. Also those assessed as lower-risk receive further evaluation within 48 hours of presenting with symptoms.
Louise applauded the Lakes and Waikato DHBs for having achieved faster, better care for patients through innovative changes in clinical practice.
Local MP Louise Upston has welcomed the announcement that $3 million will be invested to protect the quality of Lake Taupo’s water.
Environment Minister Amy Adams made the announcement yesterday and said extra funding will be used to achieve a 20 per cent reduction in nitrogen in the lake.
“Lake Taupo has significant economic, cultural and environmental value for New Zealanders,” Minister Adams said. “It is important that we continue to restore the lake’s water quality so that people can make the most of this unique environment in the years to come.”
As the MP for Taupo, Louise has strongly advocated to ensure further protection of Lake Taupo’s water quality.
“I’ve worked with farmers, the Lake Taupo Protection Trust, local and regional councils and other stakeholders to ensure the quality of water in New Zealand’s largest lake is among the best in the world,” Louise said.
To date the Lake Taupo work programme has been successful in significantly reducing the amount of nitrogen getting into the lake by getting land owners to change farming practices. High nitrogen levels in lakes and rivers can harm micro-organisms and cause algal blooms
The Government has already committed $35.5 million to ensure Lake Taupo’s water quality is protected long term. Together with funds provided by Environment Waikato and Taupo District Council, this forms a joint fund of $75.4 million.
“Lake Taupo is important to the people of Taupo as well as the thousands of visitors who spend time in the region each year,” Louise said. “Not only is the lake a source of drinking water, but it is a jewel in New Zealand’s tourism crown and a popular holiday destination for Kiwis year-round.
“The benefits of keeping Lake Taupo’s water protected are important for our economy and the environment,” Louise said. “That is why the Government has committed substantial funding towards cleaning up New Zealand’s most iconic waterways, of which Lake Taupo is one.”