10 Apr 2013

New law could see kava banned in New Zealand

8:30 pm on 10 April 2013

MPs in New Zealand are concerned that a proposed law change which aims to stamp out harmful synthetic drugs, could encompass the traditional kava drink.

All eight political parties backed the Psychoactive Substances Bill, though opposition MPs want more clarification of the scope of the Bill at the select committee stage.

The Labour Party's associate health spokesperson, Iain Lees-Galloway, says it's unclear yet whether the law would ban or limit the sale of kava, which contains psychoactive substances.

He says it's important they get the threshold right at the select committee.

"I don't think anybody wants to see kava taken off the shelf I don't think that it is considered to be a substance which is causing harm in our communities and we respect people's traditional rights to use kava in ceremonies and however else they want to use it."

Iain Lees-Galloway is encouraging Polynesian communities to make submissions on the Bill.