HCC votes to restrict legal high sales to CBD

AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 13:11 26/02/2014
Public hearing: what they said
CHRIS HILLOCK/Fairfax NZ Zoom
HAMILTON CITY LICENSING SERGEANT JIM KERNOHAN: "They [legal high users] like to be interacting with the public so they can ask for money, so they can beg. They also smoke tobacco so they like to be around where there’s people who throw their butts down."

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Hamilton City Council has moved to restrict the sale of legal highs to the central city.

In a 12-1 vote, the council's strategy and policy committee today voted to limit psychoactive drug sellers to the central city area and away from Te Rapa.

The council's psychoactive substances policy will be adopted at the council's meeting tomorrow.

Deputy Mayor Gordon Chesterman was the only one who voted against the recommendation.

The committee's decision will be a bitter blow to central city businesses who spoke out about the damaging effects legal high sellers were having on the central business district.

But Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker said the council had made "the best of a bad situation".

The council had given the Health Ministry clear guidelines when it came to granting licences to prospective legal high sellers, she said.

The draft policy dictates legal high sellers operate at least 100m away from sensitive sites such as churches and schools.

Also added to the list of sensitive sites were the Waikato River, pharmacies, medical centres, "key bus stops" and stand-alone public toilets.

Almost 60 per cent of submissions on the council's draft psychoactive substances policy supported restricted legal high sellers to the central city.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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