Today the Community and Culture Committee adopted the Psychoactive Substances (Local Approved Products) Policy, to protect the Tauranga community should any of those substances become approved for sale in the future.
Tauranga City Council doesn’t have the power to prohibit the sale of psychoactive substances – aka legal highs. This is regulated by a central government body, the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority (PSRA). The PSRA issues licences for the importation, manufacture and sale of psychoactive substances in New Zealand. The PSRA also controls which psychoactive substances are deemed to be ‘approved products’ and can be imported, manufactured or sold in the country.
Tauranga City Council does not endorse the use of psychoactive substances and the discussions today reflected the Committee’s strong opposition to them. In adopting this policy, Council has set rules on where in Tauranga any future approved products can be sold, to protect sensitive communities and make it more difficult for users to access substances.
Committee Deputy Chair Cr. Leanne Brown said that although there are currently no approved products in New Zealand, products could be approved by the PSRA at any time, and someone could apply for a licence to sell them.
“If that ever happens, this policy will help prevent a store from setting up next to a sensitive site like a school” she said.
“We’re adopting this policy as a precaution, but most importantly we want to urge the Government to review the law regarding psychoactive substances.”
A copy of the policy will be sent to the Minister of Health noting Council’s concerns about the impact of psychoactive substances on communities, and urging for a review of the law.
The policy adopted today defines that:
- approved products can only be sold in the Tauranga city centre commercial zone as defined in the City Plan
- premises selling approved products cannot be within 50 metres of each other
- premises selling approved products cannot be within 75 metres of any sensitive site: early childhood centres (including kindergartens, kōhanga reo and playcentres), schools, kura kaupapa Māori, tertiary education facilities and associated accommodation, places of worship, marae, mental health or addiction treatment facilities, and council community facilities including parks and reserves.
The committee also asked that the PSRA consider restricting the hours of operation of licensed premises to 10am-5pm Monday to Friday, and 10am-1pm Saturday, when granting a licence.
Draft Alcohol Control Bylaw 2018 recommended to Council for adoption
Today the Community and Culture Committee also discussed submissions on the draft Alcohol Control Bylaw 2018. This bylaw governs the consumption of alcohol in public places, including the permanent and temporary alcohol-free areas in Tauranga.
The Committee supported the changes proposed in the draft bylaw that went out for public consultation, to retain all but two current alcohol-free areas and extend some others. The committee also agreed to include an additional alcohol-free area at Waiariki Street, based on community feedback.
This revised draft bylaw will go up to full Council for adoption in October. If adopted, the bylaw will take effect on 19 November 2018.