24 Feb 2015

Kava dealers blamed for Australian ban push

8:42 am on 24 February 2015

An Australian police detective superintendant says a small group of Pacific Islanders who are profiteering from illegally selling Kava are to blame for the move to ban it.

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Photo: RNZ

Tony Fuller, from the Northern Territory's Drug and Organised Crime Division, says some Pacific Islanders are inflating prices and exploiting vulnerable indigenous communities.

A limit of two kilogrammes of kava can legally be brought into the country from the region.

But a Northern Territory senator Nigel Scullion is pushing for a total ban which has sparked concern in local Pacific communities.

Mr Fuller says he understands the concern but agrees that kava is harming indigenous communities.

He says some kava dealers don't care about the cultural aspects and are only in it for the money.

A lot of the kava is brought into Australia and then sold in the Northern Territory to aboriginal communities at extremely inflated prices. So a kilo will sell for about a thousand dollars here.

Detective Superintendant Tony Fuller.