31 Oct 2013

Lower Hutt mayor, community ask legal high store to shut

2:51 pm on 31 October 2013

The mayor of Lower Hutt has spoken to the owner of a store selling legal highs about the community's anger and worry about the product.

The store, Naenae T, operates out of the Coin Save shop in Naenae, and residents say its location, on a popular thoroughfare used by children, is unsuitable.

More than 100 people met on Wednesday night to discuss their concerns, and local MP, Trevor Mallard, and Lower Hutt mayor, Ray Wallace, visited the store on Thursday to speak to the owner.

About 50 residents also turned up.

Mr Wallace says he spoke to the owner, and gave him a letter on behalf of the community and asked the man to stop selling the legal highs.

Mr Wallace says the owner's reaction was to say that he was trying to make a living and that it is a legal operation and he would be penalised if he broke the lease.

But he says the owner has a moral obligation to the local comunity.

Mr Wallace also says his council will urgently look at what policy it could introduce, under the Psychoactive Substances Act, to ban the local sale of approved legal highs.

He says he will speak to the council's legal team about available options and if there are things the council can do to assist in bringing the tenancy to a close, they will.

Mr Wallace says the store's location, opposite a community library and near a community swimming pool and playground, is unacceptable.