Tag Archives: Liberal capitalism

Legal bloody highs | DCC’s pathetic buffer zones (fail OGHS / View Street)

Legal highs (via ODT 31.8.15)
• All psychoactive substances banned last year.
• Producers now need to prove their products are safe.
• Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority expected to begin issuing retail licences to sell approved products from November.
• Dunedin City Council consulting on proposed legal high retailers location policy; outlets permitted in only limited central city sites.
• No applications for product approval, or manufacturing licence, yet received.
• Any psychoactive product expected to take “at least” two years to win approval.

Dunedin City Council
Legal High Retail Location Policy

Closes: 14/09/2015

The Council is proposing to set out where legal highs (commonly referred to as ‘party pills’ or ‘synthetic cannabis’) can be sold within Dunedin.
The proposed Legal High Retail Location Policy will effectively ban sale of legal highs outside of the central city and within 100m of sensitive sites such as education facilities, churches, libraries, hospitals, mental health facilities and justice premises.

Previously psychoactive substances could be manufactured and sold without restriction. The government reacted to the harm these products caused by banning them individually once harm had been investigated and proven. The process for doing this was slow and reactive and did not effectively manage the harm caused by the substances.

Parliament has now banned all psychoactive substances unless they can be proven to be no more than a low risk of harm to users. Although manufacturers are testing products, none have yet met the test to be considered an approved product.

Despite this, from later this year, those wanting to sell legal highs can apply to the Ministry of Health’s Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority for a retail licence. This means the retailers could sell legal highs as soon as one meets the low harm threshold.

Parliament also introduced rules around selling legal highs, including an age restriction, display and packaging restrictions and a ban on their sale from supermarkets, dairies, petrol stations, premises licenced to sell alcohol, residential premises, vending machines or places likely to be frequented by minors (for example recreational or sports facilities). It also gave councils the power to specify where (within reason) in their districts, legal highs can be sold.
This means the Council can formalise the community’s preferences for where legal highs can be sold (within the scope of the law) by adopting a Legal High Retail Location Policy (also called a ‘Local Approved Products Policy’). All applications for retail licenses would have to first be checked against the policy before the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority could legally grant a licence. The Council cannot make a policy that bans legal highs outright, or is so restrictive it effectively bans their sale.

OPTIONS (Pros / Cons X)
Parliament has created a system which makes some psychoactive substances legal. The Council does not have the power to ban the sale of legal highs in Dunedin. The options available to the Council include:

Option A
Restrict legal high retailers to the Dunedin central city area provided they are more than 100m from “sensitive sites” (proposed).
Restrictions within the Act apply (no sales from dairies, petrol stations and residential premises etc.)
Sales only allowed where there is high public surveillance (Dunedin central city area) and away from sensitive sites like schools, churches, the library, the hospital, mental health facilities and justice premises
X Demand for complete ban not met

Option B
Allow sale of legal highs in areas other than the Dunedin central city area
Restrictions within the Act apply (no sales from dairies, petrol stations and residential premises etc.)
X Sales occur away from the areas of highest public surveillance and potentially closer to sensitive sites like schools, churches, the library, the hospital, mental health facilities and justice premises
X Demand for complete ban not met

Option C
No restrictions above those outlined in the Act
Restrictions within the Act apply (no sales from dairies, petrol stations and residential premises etc.)
X No restrictions on sale of legal highs near schools, churches, the library, the hospital, mental health facilities and justice premises
X Demand for complete ban not met

The Proposal
We are proposing Option A – restricting legal high retailers to the Dunedin central city area (Option A), provided they are not within 100 metres of sensitive sites such as schools, churches, the library, the hospital, mental health facilities and justice premises.

There are two key reasons for this approach.

This is the only regulation currently available to limit sale of legal highs in Dunedin

A Legal High Retail Location Policy is the only way the community can limit the sale of legal highs within the current regulatory system. The proposed policy limits the sale of legal highs to the extent possible under the law as it stands. Adopting an overly restrictive policy could be legally challenged.
Non-regulatory responses such as education and advocacy to central government can and will also be used to help manage the harm caused by legal highs.

To limit sale of legal highs to where harm is likely to be better managed

Limiting the sale of legal highs to the central city would mean sales would occur in areas where there is natural public surveillance (ie areas of high foot traffic and/or CCTV cameras). This would help reduce risks to the community.
Adding a 100m buffer zone around sensitive sites (schools, churches, the library, the hospital, mental health facilities and justice premises) will further reduce exposure to legal highs, particularly among users of sensitive sites.
By applying these criteria legal high retailers will be prohibited from suburban retail areas such as South Dunedin, Green Island, Mosgiel and Port Chalmers.

DCC Legal Highs CBD-July-2015-buffers

Have Your Say
The Council wants to know what you think about the proposed Legal High Retail Location Policy. Have we defined sensitive sites effectively? Would you add or remove any? Are the proposed buffer zones correct? How would the proposed policy affect you?
Provide your feedback using the form below and/or indicating whether you would like to speak at the public hearing, to be held in late September.

█ Feedback closes 5pm, Monday 14 September.

Consultation documents
Draft Legal High Location Policy (PDF, 549.0 KB)
Legal Highs in Dunedin – Have Your Say

Consultation details: Closing date: 14/09/2015

Public feedback
Online submission form
● Email to – legalhighs @dcc.govt.nz
● Post to – Dunedin City Council, PO Box 5045, Moray Place, Dunedin 9058, Attention Governance Support Officer – Legal High Retail Location Policy Consultation
● Hand deliver to – DCC Customer Services Centre, Ground Floor, 50 The Octagon, Dunedin, Attention: Governance Support Officer – Legal High Retail Location Policy Consultation

DCC Link

Comment at ODT Online:

What next DCC?
Submitted by Catcher on Mon, 31/08/2015 – 9:37am.

I think it’s just an unhappy circumstance that we’re seeing the ‘Bermuda triangle’ occur at the bottom of View St – A known problem area for anti-social behaviour. The Council will certainly be copping some flak for it and where they depict the woefully inadequate buffer zone that 100m represents around the most vulnerable and impressionable of all the ‘Sensitive sites’, the school. If that measurement started from the perimeters of these sensitive sites, no one would be permitted to operate in the city centre – which would send a clear message to our City planners.
Read more


Related Posts and Comments:
12.5.15 View Street, seen from Moray Place
2.6.15 Unpublished letter to ODT editor —Aftermath of Sunday TVNZ (10 May)
17.5.15 Social media messages after Sunday TVNZ (10 May)
11.5.15 Aftermath of Sunday TVNZ on ‘Party Central’
8.5.15 Sunday TVNZ #Dunedin —10 May TV1 at 7:00 pm

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Economics, Media, New Zealand, People, Police, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Tourism, Town planning, Urban design

RNZ Sunday Morning —The Decline of Reason #mediapoliticsculture

Updated post Sunday, 25 Jan 2015 at 3:16 p.m.

Radio New Zealand National – Sunday Morning with Wallace Chapman
11:40 Helen Razer – The Decline of Reason

Cover, A short history of StupidHelen Razer and Bernard Keane were going mad over the deteriorating quality of public debate and the dwindling of common sense in media, politics and culture.
So they wrote a book about it: A Short History of Stupid – The decline of reason and why public debate makes us want to scream.
Helen joins Wallace to talk about why so much has gotten so dumb.

Audio | Download: OggMP3 (13′ 47″) Link


A Short History of Stupid – The decline of reason and why public debate makes us want to scream
By Bernard Keane & Helen Razer
Published by Allen & Unwin
ISBN 9781760110543

Reviewer: Gordon Findlay
Posted on December 15, 2014

It would be great to make this compulsory reading for every journalist, blogger and aspiring politician, but I can’t imagine them persevering with it. It would ruin their life’s work.

I think that the deterioration of public debate, and the absence of common sense and moderation in both media and politics, are pretty much givens now. But why? And where did this come from? These are the questions that this apparently light-hearted, yet fundamentally serious, book seeks to answer.
For these authors, stupid comes in many forms, and damages us in many ways. And yes, ‘stupid’ is a noun for these 329 pages. Many different types of stupid are identified, and an attempt is made to find their origins. Far too many ‘species’ of stupidly are identified to list them all here. But the rise of individualism over social responsibility, vaccination denialism, excessive partisanship in politics, the conflict between sentimentalism and reason, postmodernism, fallacious opinion polling and reality TV might be a representative sample. For me the most important forms of stupidity identified were three: the inability to understand numbers, the preference for emotion over facts, and the ignorance of historical contexts.
A real attempt is made to pin down the development of stupidity in its many forms. This takes us into an elementary, and often light-hearted, discussion of the development of some core ideas in western thought. The authors also make a determined effort to be seen to be in touch with popular culture, invoking as many memes from popular culture as can be squeezed in, from Dallas to the Bond movies. The authors are Australian commentators, and quite a lot of the stupidity is taken from Australian sources.
[…] A broad-gauge rant, which is based on gently concealed erudition. But a rant nonetheless. And that becomes the book’s weakness. The writing is always turned up to eleven. In places the F-bomb becomes a carpet bomb. This continuous bombast makes reading more than a little tiring. But it’s a great source of one-liners.
Cont./ Booksellers NZ blog

Reviewer: Frank O’Shea
Posted on December 12, 2014

The problem with a book like this is that it encourages the reader to become more alert to Stupid.

This book sets out to show how much of public discourse is guided, not by reason, but by Stupidity. It is the work of two writers for the online magazine Crikey, and even those not sympathetic towards that journal’s independent take on the news, will find much in the book to stimulate and delight.
[…] There are phrases that pull you up with glee: “… the cheap meth of personal development seminars”, “the Oprahfication of wisdom”, “the well of homeopathic opinion”, “a prostatariat of old white male journalists”, “holistic healing … rip-off bollocks with a whale-call soundtrack”. And you feel like cheering aloud when you read psychiatry described as an “iffy branch of medicine … a pseudo-science … an impotent practice”.
The level of Stupidity in public debate in Australia is probably no higher than in other Western countries. It is unlikely that politicians, for whom the luminous vest photo op is more important than any discussion of complex issues, will be changed by what they read here. But then again, their success is based on the well-founded belief that the rest of us are Stupid.
Cont./ Sydney Morning Herald

Reviewer: Martin Hirst
Posted [2014], undated

The writers have very different tones and registers in their prose; but the bigger issue is that the book doesn’t seem to really know whom its enemy is.

I am a big fan of both Crikey political editor Bernard Keane and freelance writer Helen Razer. They are intellectually sharp, write with good humour and come across as eminently rational in their thinking. […] Keane and Razer are friends and obviously share a dislike for stupidity in all its forms (and they are many); but they are not cut from the same cloth. Keane comes across as a socially-concerned individualist, verging on the libertarian, while Razer is more than willing to own up to her own proto-Marxist and critical feminist intellectual development. Razer is also a bit of a potty mouth, so if you are offended by the occasional use of c—t, f—k and s—t in your reading material, perhaps you should only read the chapters by the more (ahem) refined Mr Keane.
But I’m not fazed by Ms Razer’s crudities because I love her razor wit and sharp insights. Her chapter on reason and unreason is one of the best in the book and one paragraph in particular sums up her (and my) take on the psychological pressures of modern working life: “When we fail at life as it is so broadly and meticulously prescribed, we call it mental illness. We have failed life. We are not permitted to think it is the conventions of life that have failed us.” (p. 164)
[…] both authors, but particularly Bernard Keane, have a blind spot to the ultimate form of Stupid: the problem of the system itself. Razer calls it “liberal democracy” and Keane calls it “liberal capitalism” and they ultimately concede it is all we’ve got. However, this is an ahistorical approach that denies the evidence of the past that it is the economic system that breeds inequality and that ultimately needs a certain level of ideological Stupid among the general population in order to prevent mass (and organised) public opposition that would be capable of overthrowing it. Previously Stupid systems of political economy such as slavery and feudal aristocracy have been defeated and replaced, so why not stupid Capitalism? If Stupid is in the way, then it is serving some purpose of the ruling class. After all, as Marx once wrote in his critique of Hegel: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” Insert “Stupid” into that sentence instead of “Religion” and read it again—it makes perfect sense!
Cont./ Academia.edu

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Hot air, Media, Name, People, Politics