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Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

Question No. 2—Prime Minister

2. Hon PAULA BENNETT (Deputy Leader—National) to the Prime Minister: Does she stand by all her Government’s policies and statements?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Deputy Prime Minister) on behalf of the Prime Minister: Yes.

Hon Paula Bennett: Why did the Government settle on 14 grams of cannabis being able to be purchased in the proposed bill, three times what’s allowed in the Netherlands but half of what’s allowed in Canada?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Well, actually, I’ve got to say, I have an example of the kind of amounts that are in other countries [Holds up photo of Hon Paula Bennett] In this case, it’s very hard to tell the difference between the dope and the weed, but Ms Bennett is a world-class expert on that, and I do defer to her knowledge and experience.

Hon Paula Bennett: If the Minister would like a picture of me for his wall, he can just let me know. What will the tax rate that will be imposed on cannabis be?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Well, on the question of the picture on the wall, it’s very hard to get a photograph when you’re spending all your time, as that member does, in front of a full-length mirror. But—[Interruption] Well—[Interruption] Ha, ha!

SPEAKER: I think we’ll now leave the pot-kettle-black and get on with the questions.

Hon Paula Bennett: I’ll just repeat the question if I might, Mr Speaker?

SPEAKER: Repeat the question without the “mirror” comments.

Hon Paula Bennett: Thank you. What will the tax rate that will be imposed on cannabis be?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: On behalf of the Prime Minister, that decision has not been made by the Government yet.

Hon Paula Bennett: Does she envisage the tax rate on cannabis being the same as tobacco?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Again, that is not a decision that the Government has made.

Hon Paula Bennett: Does she agree with allowing New Zealanders to privately grow cannabis in their homes?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: On behalf of the Prime Minister, I do not think that that has been announced yet, but I have to say, to use—[Interruption]

Hon Grant Robertson: The view has not been announced.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: The view has not been expressed, with respect. But I have to say, listening to all these questions, it reminds me of that flower-power, hippy era—you know, “Far out, man!”

Hon Members: What?

SPEAKER: Well, come on, it’s a historical reference—we’ll just leave it. Some of us can remember.

Hon Paula Bennett: Does she agree with allowing New Zealanders to grow and smoke cannabis in rental properties?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: The Prime Minister has not expressed a view on that yet. That member sits on the committee, so does my colleague. Of course we’ve got an expressed view, but you’re asking the Prime Minister and not me.

Hon Paula Bennett: Does she believe that the drafting on the proposed bill around legalising cannabis should specify whether or not rental properties can allow their tenants to grow and smoke cannabis?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Can I just say that there’s a cross-party consortium working on this matter, but here’s the real essence of the answer that that member’s got to grasp: we believe in democracy.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Oh, don’t start this rubbish!

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: We believe in asking the people of this country. We do not think, like Mr Brownlee and others, that they’re too dumb to work these questions out.

Hon Paula Bennett: Should New Zealanders, in the name of democracy, have an answer to the question around rental properties before they vote?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: That member is on the cross-party committee and should be making submissions on that matter, and at the end of it, I hope, with all her wealth of experience on this particular subject—rather exceptional knowledge, I might add—we can advance the outcome and come to a conclusion, but the matter is still a matter of deliberation.

SPEAKER: Order! I am going to ask the Deputy Prime Minister in future replies to be very careful about what can be inferred from the answers.

Hon Paula Bennett: Why did the Government not bring legislation to the House so that it could go through all stages and the public know exactly what they are voting for and so that it was binding?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Can I say to that member that that has been traversed by the Ministry of Justice already.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. [Interruption] Mr Peters, I think we all know what “traverse” means—

SPEAKER: No, sorry. Do we have a point of order, Mr Brownlee?

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Yes.

SPEAKER: Right, well, points of order are to me, not to Mr Peters.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Right. Well, with all due respect—

SPEAKER: No, no. It’s to me, and I know what the member means when he says that.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: The question was not answered. The question may have been addressed with some words out of the Minister’s mouth on behalf of the Prime Minister, but it was not an addressing of the question.

SPEAKER: I think the question was addressed.

MIL OSI