The second reading of the Psychoactive Substances Bill was on 27th June 2013 in the New Zealand Parliament. The recently demoted ex-Minister responsible for the Bill, Peter Dunne, made a speech as part of this that contained some demonstrably untrue statements, as we now show below. Confused Mr Dunne? Well you're not the only one...
1. Dunne claimed that one of the reports received by NZAVS under the Official Information Act and provided to the Sunday Star Times by the Green Party was not solicited by the Ministry of Health (MoH). In Parliament his words were: "What appeared in the Sunday Star-Times was: 'Here is an official report to the New Zealand Government recommending animal testing.' It was an unsolicited piece of advice."
Yet the paperwork provided to NZAVS by Dunne's office shows the advice was provided to the Ministry of Health after they approached the author for it. The final version of this report provided to the Sunday Star-Times was produced following that request and over two months of consultations with the MoH on the many draft versions the MoH received and provided feedback and comments on.
Dunne claimed the advice was unsolicited but the first email relating to the report was from a MoH official to the report author and was sent over a month before the MoH received the first draft. This email said "We would greatly value your expert scientific advice regarding what an appropriate toxicology data package could be to assess the risk of a psychoactive product seeking approval for sale in New Zealand." The "unsolicited" claim by Dunne is just plain wrong.
2. When asked about the animal testing in Parliament Dunne said in the same speech "It was never going to happen. The member says: 'Will it happen?'. Can I say it was never going to happen." NZAVS though has documents from Dunne's office showing that the MoH produced its own discussion document based on the report mentioned already. This document outlined a testing regime that extensively relied on animal testing, including the LD50 test, and it was provided to Dunne for his approval prior to its restricted release in May 2012.
3. "There was never any intention--ever--to embark upon a programme of animal testing associated with these products. There was never ever any intent." - Dunne in Parliament 27 June 2013 If there was never any intent Mr Dunne then why did MoH officials spend over two months working through multiple draft versions of the "unsolicited" report recommending animal testing? Why was that report then used to draft a MoH discussion document approved by you, and sent out under an official MoH header, that proposed extensive animal testing including the use of the notorious LD50 test?