Pubdate: Thu, 03 Oct 2002
Source: Dominion Post, The (NZ)
Copyright: 2002 The Dominion Post
Author: Jonathan Milne


Cannabis activists are threatening to overwhelm police by turning 
themselves in en masse if police act on an NZ First MP's criminal complaint 
against Green MP Nandor Tanczos.

Mr Tanczos was defiant last night, saying he would continue to use the drug 
in the face of a police complaint about his cannabis use from NZ First MP 
Craig McNair.

"My faith is more important than Parliament," he said.

Mr McNair, 27, a former youth camp leader, said he had never tried cannabis 
nor even been offered it, and was outraged at Mr Tanczos's open use of it 
as part of his Rastafarian religion.

Mr Tanczos retorted that he used cannabis "a lot less frequently than many 
members of NZ First take a glass of whisky", a reminder of his famous 
accusation that MPs were "drunk in charge of a country".

He is campaigning for the decriminalisation of cannabis for adults aged 
over 18. "I use it as part of my faith, and I use it in a sacramental 
manner about once a month," he said yesterday.

The fresh-faced, clean-cut Mr McNair offered himself as an alternative role 
model for young people to the "cool" dope-smoking model of Mr Tanczos, 36.

"I try to stay away from those parties," he said.

"I hang out with friends who are like-minded like me, that want the best 
for our young people and realise that there are certain activities that 
aren't healthy.

"We all can grow up to be valuable citizens and human beings . . . If we 
all stick to certain virtues that we can contribute to society with, I 
think that's the kind of role model that I would like to offer."

Mr McNair said he did not drink whisky, but that was a side issue.

"What Nandor is doing is illegal. Drinking whisky isn't illegal."

Wellington police district commander Superintendent John Kelly confirmed 
that he had received a written complaint from Mr McNair, and would decide 
whether to pursue an investigation.

Members of Norml, the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana 
Laws, sprang to Mr Tanczos's defence, threatening to follow British 
examples by turning themselves in to police stations en masse.

Auckland coordinator Mike Harding encouraged Mr Tanczos to plead not guilty 
if he came before a court.

"It's an unjust law. So make his day, arrest him. Give him his day in 
court. We'll support him wholeheartedly.

"There will be a mass outbreak of people turning themselves in to police 
stations saying 'charge me too'. I'll turn myself in, along with Nandor and 
thousands of others," Mr Harding said.

Mr Tanczos said he would cooperate with any police investigation, but it 
was too early to consider how he might respond to any request to search his 
home or office.

"I'd expect the police to come and talk to me before they did anything, but 
it's up to them."

Though he would not be rushing home to Auckland to dispose of his supply of 
cannabis, he would not say if he used the drug while he was at Parliament - 
within the Wellington police district.
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