Staff threatened, abused in city centre

AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 14:49 20/02/2014
Kelly Klink
CHRIS HILLOCK/Fairfax NZ

Victoria St retail worker Kelly Klink gives an account of abuse and threats inner-city workers experience.

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Shop owners and staff are regularly subject to death threats and intimation from synthetic high users congregating around Hamilton's city centre.

Victoria St retail worker Kelly Klink today spoke at a hearing into the council's draft psychoactive substances policy and gave a graphic account of abuse and threats inner-city workers experienced. 

The council's draft policy names Te Rapa and the central city as the options for where synthetic high dealers may be located.

Ms Klink said her shop, located near two synthetic high sellers, was regularly "peed on and spat on" by synthetic drug users.

She told councillors she was threatened with assault as she walked from her workplace to today's hearing.

"I'm on minimum wage and I have to put with this," a tearful Ms Klink said.

"I invite you all to spend a day at my work and see what I put up with on a daily basis on the minimum wage. I have to suffer daily because you guys, the government wants this crap in our city, destroying more people."

Under the Psychoactive Substances Act, council has no role in the issuing or enforcing of licences to psychoactive high retailers and can only put a policy in place to approve locations where the products can be sold.

Council cannot ban the sale of synthetic highs outright.Ms Klink said not enough resources were being channeled into helping turn drug users into productive members of the community and instead authorities appeared content to allow vulnerable people to access "this crap".

"You think I want this for my CBD, I don't want this in our country at all."

The hearing is expected to finish tomorrow.

Councillors will discuss submissions next week before adopting the psychoactive substances policy on February 27.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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