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A spat smouldering all week between the two MPs most passionate about
cannabis really started to smoke yesterday.

Chances of the pair enjoying a peace pipe together appear remote.

Law reform advocate Nandor Tanczos ignited the matter on Tuesday when he
reminded the House that the guardian of the legal status quo, Peter Dunne,
had admitted using cannabis in his youth.

Mr Tanczos says the comment was not a personal attack, but designed to
highlight concerns about discriminatory policing raised in a health select
committee report released last week.

The report had found Maori more likely to be arrested and convicted for
cannabis use than "middle-class Pakeha smokers, like Peter Dunne in his youth".

Mr Dunne responded the next day to what he called Mr Tanczos'
"shock-horror" revelations. "Fair's fair, Nandor. You got me. I have long
since confessed to a youthful indiscretion ... Now let's have the same
level of openness and honesty from you. Who's your dealer?"

Mr Dunne said that given Mr Tanczos' long-standing disrespect for New
Zealand, he did not expect the MP would answer the question.

"What we never get from the Greens - particularly on the drugs issue - is
the truth."

Mr Tanczos said he had always been frank about where he got his cannabis.
"If I don't grow my own, close friends do."

He did not like to participate in the illegal drug market, he said, before
he issued a release in reply.

It challenged Mr Dunne to a public debate in his Ohariu-Belmont electorate
and accused him of "dirty tactics".

Mr Dunne rejected that. "I wouldn't have Nandor in my electorate - it would
lower the house values," he said.

"And my constituents probably wouldn't thank me because if his policies
were implemented it would be at the cost of their children and their families."

This prompted Mr Tanczos to issue another statement yesterday accusing Mr
Dunne of "running from the facts".

An annoyed Mr Dunne later said Mr Tanczos' position on cannabis was
"utterly unacceptable and I'm not going to dance to his tune".

Pubdate: Fri, 15 Aug 2003
Source: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2003 New Zealand Herald
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