19 February 2014

Draft policy adopted restricting the location of businesses selling psychoactive substances

The Gore District Council has condemned Government legislation around the sale of psychoactive substances and the limited power it gives local government.

At its meeting on Tuesday night, the Council adopted a draft combined Local Approved Products Policy (LAPP) that restricts the location of any business in the Gore District to two blocks in Gore’s Main Street. Southland’s two other local authorities, Invercargill City Council and Southland District Council, have yet to consider the draft policy.

Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks and councillors were critical of the Government’s Psychoactive Substances Act 2013 and the limited powers it gives councils.

Under the Act, councils cannot stop businesses setting up. They can only restrict where they set up.

“Central Government has left local government holding the baby,” Mr Hicks said.

Gore, like towns throughout the country, doesn’t want businesses that sell psychoactive substances. They do not add anything of value to a community and should be stopped from setting up but the law doesn’t allow councils to do that, Mr Hicks said.

Cr Nicky Davis said most people she had spoken to were horrified at the prospect of having these businesses in their town. Local MPs need to be told that the Council does not want them in the community nor does it want to have to enact this legislation, she said.

The Council decided to restrict businesses to properties that front on to the Main Street in a 400m section from the roundabout on Hokonui Drive to the Mersey Street roundabout.

Councillors believed ensuring a high profile location for these outlets would act as a deterrent.

Cr Doug Grant said he didn’t believe anyone would have the audacity to open a shop in the Main Street of the CBD. The public would have it closed in a matter of hours, he said.

Chief executive Stephen Parry said the aim of an LAPP was to confine where an outlet goes. Without such a policy they “could spring up anywhere”.

Ensuring businesses went in the Main Street was as good as putting a camera outside their front door, he said.

The Invercargill City Council and Southland District Council are due to consider the draft LAPP in the near future. It is expected to be publicly notified mid-March and open for submission until 14 April.

The Council appointed Crs Cliff Bolger and Anne Gover to a combined LAPP committee that will consider submissions.

Gore District Council 29 Bowler Avenue Gore P: 03 209 0330 E: