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Anderton Defends Anti-cannabis Stance



House prices were probably not in any danger of plummeting in suburban
Christchurch last night.

But Jim Anderton must have been surprised how many of his constituents
favoured facial hair.

A crowd of more than 100 turned up to hear the political debate that United
Future leader Peter Dunne refused to host - should cannabis be decriminalised.

Despite his ongoing war of words with Green MP Nandor Tanczos in Parliament
about the drug, Mr Dunne said a public debate involving Mr Tanczos in his
electorate "would lower the house values".

So Mr Anderton - who staunchly stated he has not smoked cannabis - took up
the challenge in his electorate, Wigram.

It was a popular Tuesday night activity. The hairy faithful trooped in to
the church hall - not all dreadlocked but certainly sporting a liberal dose
of facial hair.

As Mr Tanczos spoke they were relaxed; either silent or applauding.

They agreed prohibition was bad, they liked the idea of more drug
education. But if the punters thought they were in for an evening of
humorous debate they were wrong.

Mr Anderton took the stand and the vibe changed.

"This is a serious political debate about a serious social issue."

Followed by "The Progressives are unashamedly anti-drugs. We are
anti-cannabis. We are against the other harm-causing drugs as well. Let me
be very unequivocal about that."

Mr Anderton managed only to rile the voters with his tough talking. But he
did raise the biggest laugh with his final statement - albeit without
meaning to. "I'm as consistent and boring as anything on all of this stuff
because I don't like any of it. And that's where I stand."

Pubdate: Wed, 22 Oct 2003
Source: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2003 New Zealand Herald
Contact: letters@herald.co.nz
Website: NZ Herald Homepage - New Zealand's latest news, business, sport and entertainment
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