Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Ours is a government of liberty, by, through and under the law. No man is above it and no man is below it.”
New Zealand is also such a country, and this is its true strength.
In a liberal democracy like New Zealand, the Rule of Law, not the will of government, must be the foundation of our peace and security.
As the newly-elected Member of Parliament for Pakuranga, Law & Order is one of my key priorities. In a survey mailed out to my constituents at the end of last year, I asked them to specify their three most important issues.
Consistently, Law & Order was one of the top concerns.
Yet, the will of government is not sufficient to bring this about; throwing money at Law & Order will not be enough to make them go away. We must be a country that is tough on those who break the law and one that protects those who respect it.
My Bill in Parliament
This is exactly why I have put forward a Member’s Bill, ‘the Psychoactive Substances (Increasing Penalty for Supply and Distribution) Amendment Bill.’
This Bill, drawn from the ballot last month, takes aim at the real causes of crime and suffering in our communities. Resolving this issue is found by taking both a hard-line stance on the dealers and criminals who sell these harmful drugs, and by understanding the need for sympathy and care for those caught in harm’s way by these drugs.
That is why, I have called for an increase in the penalty for those found guilty of dealing synthetic drugs but have also called for a Parliamentary Select Committee Inquiry into those who suffer with addiction and how we can support them.
In the light of the harm caused by synthetic drugs, it is time that we increased the penalty that those found guilty of dealing these drugs deserve.
Listening to People
In preparing this Bill, I sat with or heard from several families who have had loved ones severely harmed or die from synthetic drugs. As I have spoken with those who have seen first-hand the extent of the damaged caused by these drugs, I have come to understand the need for this two-pronged approach.
Our law is written to protect the vulnerable, help those in need, and foster strong communities. To do this, we must continue to support strong Law & Order policies, providing the Police with the means and authority to serve and protect our communities.
If the police are afraid to act or are restrained by excessive limitations, a dangerous message is sent out to those who do not want to respect our laws.
No place for the lawless
We must have a consistent message that says there is no room for those who don’t want to abide by the law. In order to achieve this, we must do more than put more cops on the beat, though that is a strong first step. We must also foster a culture of support and safety throughout our communities.
Organisations such as Howick-Pakuranga Community Patrol, the Asian Council on Reducing Crime, and Community Law, are vital to such work.
Communities can step up and be the solutions to the concerns they face.
I am proud to be an MP that takes a strong stand against crime and that works with all those seeking to promote safe communities in our area.
Not a slogan
To me, a safe community is not just a slogan.
As we continue to work together and stand with the backing of law against those who undermine the safety of our communities, it becomes a reality.
I hope you will sign my petition on my website as a mark of your support and to set up an inquiry so that we can help better those who suffer from addiction.
Simeon Brown is elected Member of Parliament from Pakuranga in East Auckland. He is a Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on ‘Regulations Review’ and Social Services and Community.’