Legal highs top Labour's list of Southland issues
The effects of legal highs is one of the biggest social welfare issues in Southland, a Labour list MP says.
MP and spokeswoman for social development Sue Moroney was in Invercargill yesterday talking to agencies such as Family Works and Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust about problems facing them.
During her visit to the city several matters impacting the south were highlighted, the Hamilton MP said. They included the "huge" impact of legal highs, gambling addictions and families struggling to make ends meet. Parents were working "really unsociable" hours just to pay power bills, she said.
The problems had led to high demand being placed on services, she said. When asked if legal highs should be banned entirely, she said: "Watch this space. We don't think the current situation is working."
Moroney also discussed Labour's Best Start policy, which would focus on the first five years of a child's life and help families struggling to meet the rising costs of living.
It would give families $60 a week during a baby's first year for families earning less than $150,000 and not receiving paid parental leave. It would then pay up to $60 a week between the child's first and third birthdays for low and middle income families.
It would also extend paid parental leave from 14 to 26 weeks and fund 25 hours instead of 20 hours free early childhood education a week.
The Southland Times