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Labour’s O’Connor Lodges Medicinal Cannabis Approval Bill!!

Maybe I was stoned and missed it, but a momentus event occurred in April!

You are receiving this newsletter because Re-Legalise NZ decided to “carry” a transmission from Damien O’Connor. This was a decision SecretStoner made and is a one off – for more you would need to subscribe to Damien O’Connor’s news list personally on his website. We respect your privacy and will not share your details with any 3rd party.

Copyright © 2016 Re-Legalise NZ 



April 2016 newsletter from Damien O’Connor
MP West Coast/Tasman

Bennett Morgan (left) presents the petition with over 4000 signatures in support of Helen Kelly’s access to medical cannabis. Damien’s Members Bill was placed in the Ballot the day before.

Damien lodges medicinal cannabis approval bill

Damien O’Connor has lodged a Member’s Bill to make it easier for patients like the late Alex Renton to access medicinal cannabis products.

“I supported Alex Renton’s family in their quest to get approval for medicinal cannabis in a hope it could improve his desperate situation.

“The current system is too bureaucratic and it is unclear where the final approval lies.

“My Bill makes the approval process simpler but has appropriate safeguards.

“The key change is the Minister must not prevent the supply and administration of processed cannabis products to a person considered by a registered medical practitioner to be either in the final stages of a terminal illness, or have a permanent condition that causes significant pain or impairment.

“This is a Member’s Bill I hope will progress the issue and, if drawn, will enable Parliament to properly consider the value of access to medicinal cannabis. Change is supported by the majority of New Zealanders,” says Damien O’Connor.

The future of work on the West Coast

Small business and technology

Labour’s Future of Work Commission, chaired by Grant Robertson is looking at a comprehensive plan for ensuring decent work opportunities and secure incomes for New Zealanders in a world that is changing faster than we have ever seen before.

Buller locals know all about rapid change as the region comes to terms with the loss of Solid Energy, Oceana, Bathurst and Holcim, among global changes in industry and the boom and bust cycles of coal and diary.

There has been much talk about diversification and how to revive the economy. The brightest prospects on the horizon are focused on tourism and technology, driven by a variety of smaller ventures, rather than one big industry, such as coal or cement.

A partnership between several Westport organisations such as Buller Reap and the Buller District Council has launched the Epic project, which focuses on technology to stimulate small business. They are hosting a business networking event with Ben Dellaca on 15 April.  Ben grew up in Westport and is now on a mission to bring digital innovation to Buller. The first Epic breakfast with Guy Ryan was very successful and has inspired a number of new initiatives. The Epic hub will also provide other key start-up services such as fibre optic internet and open plan office facilities to encourage and support entrepreneurs.

Co-Starters is a comprehensive learning and support programme that will also soon get underway in Westport. It aims to help people get their business ideas going. It is a 9 week course utilising guest speakers and peer support to develop ventures. Tai Poutini Polytech is also running a small business management course to provide the nuts and bolts skills for small business entrepreneurs.

Automation is predicted to wipe out nearly half the jobs that exist right now within a decade and a half, so Labour’s Future of Work starts with technology because it is driving much of the change.

“We are calling this digital equality”, Grant Robertson said, “It is the modern version of saying that everyone deserves a fair go, except this time it is about getting us all connected and knowing how to make the most of technology”.

This means encouraging small businesses and social entrepreneurs. Not just in our cities but also by supporting development in our regions that is sustainable and high value.

About Labour’s Future of Work Commission 

Labour backs young entrepreneurs

The next Labour Government will encourage innovative and driven young entrepreneurs to create a viable business by providing training, a business mentor and up to $20,000 capital for successful applicants in its Young Entrepreneurs Plan, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.

“The changing nature of work is creating a new generation of smart, innovative young Kiwis who need nurturing and capital to get successful ideas off the ground.

“We know that not everyone thrives in formal education or training and some of our best-known entrepreneurs learnt everything they know on the job.

“In January we announced our first major Future of Work policy – three years free training and education across a person’s lifetime. Today’s announcement is an extension of that, allowing smart, young entrepreneurs aged 18-23 to cash that in and capitalise on a great business idea.

This would be in the form of a one-off start-up grant with the safety net of funded business training, an ongoing business mentor and a business plan approved by an independent panel of experts.

“The grants will be capped at 100 per year for the first three years.

“Today’s young people are growing up in an environment that promotes entrepreneurial thinking in ways older generations did not. Their working careers are more likely to involve generating more of their own income and less stable work. Encouraging their business skills will be crucial.

“There are many barriers to young people accessing finance to back good business ideas. But this plan is about much more than just capital. Putting young Kiwis through business training, providing them with an experienced business mentor and requiring a thorough business plan to be successful for the grant provides a real safety net for their idea.

“This will offer real opportunities to young people who have a good business brain and the drive to make their ideas work so they can not only be a part of the Future of Work, but help determine the future of work.

“New Zealand needs more successful entrepreneurs and this small investment will help create the next generation of them,” says Andrew Little.

Time for a tourism levy

by Damien O’Connor

The West Coast has experienced a strong tourist season and people continue to visit our amazing region. That’s great news for anyone with a business connected in any way to travelers.

But what is concerning is the increasing amount of unwanted, misplaced and sickening human effluent from the top of our region to the bottom.  Almost every roadside stopping point is strewn with obvious signs of people who needed a toilet.

While everyone understands urgent needs, the absence of toilets and clear directions for visitors means our reputation for spectacular, pristine scenery is at risk. We can’t continue to ignore the problem.

The expectation that local councils and ratepayers should stump up with the bylaws, the facilities and the maintenance costs are completely unrealistic, especially on the Coast where we have a small population in a large geographical area in which rates are already proportionately among the highest in the country.

I promoted a conservation levy of $25 paid by every visitor to NZ. It could be included in their airline ticket and the money administered by a fund available to councils and DoC to pay for toilets, signage and infrastructure to protect our environment from degradation. Visitors could be rewarded with a National Park pass book, which would be stamped as a memento of their journey.

A campaign run by a sector in the tourism industry that claimed the costs would discourage tourism, was both stupid and self serving. It’s time for the tourism industry to push for the conservation levy. At the moment visitors pay nothing and many have no idea of the value of their experience. The status quo is not sustainable and tourism should jump on board to change it.

Around the electorate

From Wellington

Latest press releases from Labour HQ

Documents prove Crown land sell-off a fiasco

Posted by Phil Twyford on April 12, 2016
New documents obtained by Labour prove Nick Smith lied when he denied the Government had identified land occupied by substations and cemeteries as Crown land to be sold off for housing, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. More

Tax history should be an open book for leaders

Posted by Andrew Little on April 12, 2016
In revealing his tax history for the past six years today, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says transparency is crucial for public confidence in political leaders. More

Full transparency needed from PM and Government

Posted by Andrew Little on April 11, 2016
John Key’s proposal to appoint a ‘tax expert’ to review our foreign trusts doesn’t go far enough and he must instead launch a full independent inquiry into the details coming out of the Panama Papers, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little. More

Govt worried about public scrutiny – cuts down TPP process

Posted by David Clark on April 08, 2016
The Government wants to trim the process for hearing TPP submissions to get the controversial legislation off the agenda for election year in a shocking case of political expediency, Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Clark says. More

O’Connor lodges medicinal cannabis approval bill

Posted by Damien O’Connor on April 07, 2016
Damien O’Connor has lodged a Member’s Bill to make it easier for patients like the late Alex Renton to access medicinal cannabis products. “I supported Alex Renton’s family in their quest to get approval for medicinal cannabis in a hope it could improve his desperate situation” Damien O’Connor said. More

To read more press releases, news and information about the Labour Party, visit

Thanks to everyone who responded to last month’s survey. Here are the results:

Should our police services be centralised?

  • Yes 18.2%
  • Dont know 9.1%
  • No 72.7%

Blackball Mayday Events

FRIDAY night debate at the Blackball Workingmen’s Club – Runanga vs Blackball: That West Coast leadership remains hopeless.

SATURDAY Forum at the Mines Rescue Centre, Runanga.  Last year’s day was robust and thought-provoking, with the various speakers articulating a way forward for the region.  What have they got to say a year later?

SUNDAY Community Day outside the Runanga Miners’ Hall, McGowan St, Runanga.  There will be baking, biking, poetry and solidarity. Come and join us!

Facebook page

 Friday April 29 to Sunday May 1

A weekend of conservation and entertainment at Punakaiki.

Diary & Events

Wills and Trusts Seminar
12.15 pm The Auditorium, St Thomas’ Anglican Church, 101 High Street Motueka

APRIL 15 to 16
West Coast Ag Fest Cass Square Hokitika.

APRIL 17 to 22
National Farm Forestry Assoc. Conference, Hokitika

Trio Éclat concert
7.30pm, Chanel Arts Centre, Motueka

Mayday Blackball-Rununga Debate at the Blackball Working Mens Club.

Mayday forum at Mines Rescue, Rununga

Westport Warrior endurance race
North Beach Westport

Rununga May Day fun day, Rununga Miners Hall

APRIL 30 / MAY 1
Return of the Petrel Festival, Punakaiki

Community & Whanau meeting
12 noon, Community House, Motueka

“Mothers & Fathers”: A play by Joe Musaphia
Thursday to Saturday, May 5th and 7th, 7.30pm
Imagine Theatre, Woodlands Ave, Motueka.

Hokitika Mid-Winter Festival

Jennian Homes Mothers Day Fun Run / Walk
9 am at the Solid Energy Centre Westport

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The Argus Tradition

The Grey River Argus was the first newspaper published in Greymouth, appearing in November 1865. The Grey River Argus supported the Labour Movement. For many years the legend New Zealand’s pioneer Labour daily appeared on the masthead. I am carrying on this proud tradition and the West Coast-Tasman Argus will be my way of keeping the electorate up to date. Damien O’Connor
You are receiving this newsletter because Re-Legalise NZ decided to “carry” a transmission from Damien O’Connor. This was a decision SecretStoner made and is a one off – for more you would need to subscribe to Damien O’Connor’s news list personally on his website. We respect your privacy and will not share your details with any 3rd party.

Copyright © 2016 Re-Legalise NZ