Parliament Buildings Wellington
Organiser: NZ Drug Foundation
NZ Drug Foundation is delighted to be co-hosting this event with support from eight partner organisations.
Right now, Aotearoa NZ is on the cusp of significant change. The argument that we should treat drug use as a health issue has largely been won. What we have yet to do is consider what a just and equitable approach to drugs looks like, and how drug reform fits within the wider context of the whole criminal justice system.
NZ can get drug law reform right. But it means facing up to the injustice suffered by Māori who have been disproportionately criminalised. Our 2019 Through the Maze symposium brings two powerful voices for change to New Zealand, to show how we can build justice and equity into any new law, right from the outset. Sold out.
There’s never been a drug law that wasn’t tied to race.
asha bandele | organiser, author of The Prisoner's Wife and When they Call you a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir
In the USA, racial discrimination and the War on Drugs have seen too many African and Latino Americans unfairly incarcerated. Opponents are fighting to end the injustice. Two influential African American women at the centre of the struggle are joining us to share their knowledge and passion. They are determined and vocal, and they know what it takes to challenge a racist criminal justice system.
It’s widely known that Māori are unfairly carrying the burden of our own War on Drugs. Māori are more likely to be stopped, arrested, convicted and jailed for drug offences. Police have acknowledged their own unconscious bias, and there is evidence of discrimination across the entire criminal justice system.
A drug conviction is for life. Long after the sentence is served, the lasting impact on education, job opportunities, overseas travel, and family relationships can be devastating. It has to stop.
History is watching us. We’re on the right side.
Deborah Small | Executive Director, Break the Chains (USA)
We’re getting there. The Mental Health and Addictions Inquiry and Hāpaitia te Organga Tangata both point to the need for change. And next year’s cannabis referendum will be an unprecedented opportunity to right past wrongs.
We can build a better system. But it won’t happen by itself. The 2019 Through the Maze parliamentary symposium will help us drive the change this country needs.
Rt Hon Helen Clark | Former NZ Prime minister
Moana Jackson | Lawyer and researcher
The central themes are:
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