Pubdate: Mon, 24 Jul 2000
Source: Otago Daily Times (New Zealand)
Copyright: Allied Press Limited, 2000
Contact:  P.O. Box 181, 52-66 Lower Stuart Street, Dunedin, New Zealand
Author: Jason Baker-Sherman


For many years Jim Anderton has claimed to represent the average New 
Zealander and their interests.

Yet now that he is Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economic 
Development he seems to have forgotten this. It appears that he can't wait 
to jump into bed with a multi-national company to appease their consciences 
over the loss of 155 jobs and $7 million to a small, local economy.

Even Rod Donald's suggestion that the Government buy New Zealand products 
is dismissed summarily as simplistic by the people's champion, despite 
statistics showing that every $1 million of imports cost 16 jobs, $118,000 
in lost taxes and $159,000 in welfare payments.

But there is an even simpler solution to the high pulp costs and low 
returns which caused the Mataura paper mill's closure: legalise the use of 
the world's most useful plant, cannabis.

This would allow local farmers to make some extra money growing cannabis 
for the mill. Cannabis can be grown on fallow land, it improves soil 
structure, keeps weeds down and is nearly free of pests and diseases.

The "boutique" mill would then have a cheap source of pulp and because 
there is currently a high demand for the high-quality hemp paper there 
should be no problem finding a market.

Development of the technology needed would be a good thing for Mr Anderton 
and Carter Holt Harvey to look at and invest in. A crop this spring could 
see the mill operating again in just a few years.

Mr Anderton justifies his anti-legalisation position on the increasing use 
of cannabis by our youth, but while joblessness, poverty, debt and 
uncertainty affect more and more parents, and with the same problems to 
look forward to as adults themselves, our youth will continue to use 
alcohol and drugs for relief from such harsh realities.

Prohibition and globalisation seem to only benefit the US and big business.

The only solution to our real problems is to create the job machine by 
legalising the use of the people's plant, cannabis.

Jason Baker-Sherman, Dalmore
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