6 Nov 2013

Polytech pressures legal highs shop to shut down

3:09 pm on 6 November 2013

A polytechnic in Palmerston North has begun a campaign against a shop set up near the campus that is selling legal highs to students.

Universal College of Learning (UCOL) wants to have the shop shut down or for the Palmerston North City Council to change the area's zoning to make it impossible for such shops set up, senior lecturer Tina Smith says.

Ms Smith says the shop called Paradise set up several months ago just metres away from the polytechnic and is clearly targeting students.

"They go and buy substances in their lunch break and they come to classes under the influence of legal highs. There's been financial impacts, there's been impacts of people not studying, there's been a number of health impacts."

Palmerston North mayor Jono Naylor says he wants shops selling legal highs banned from the city but because they are not illegal, the council has to consult with the community to decide where the shops can operate.

"This is one of these situations where the law is clearly an ass. It was rushed through, local government wasn't consulted in the process of making the law, and now it seems they're making local government the scapegoat for trying to fix things up."

Mr Naylor says he would rather see shops selling legal highs completely banned from the city and consultation will begin early next year to decide how to zone legal high retailers.