NZ’s ‘Vote NO’ Campaign Is a NZ-Funded Effort

By June 30, 2020 Media Release

Media Release 30 June 2020
New Zealand’s Vote No campaign is rubbishing claims that the Vote NO campaign is being bankrolled by or controlled by US organisations.

“An alliance of community organisations and leaders (including ex-addicts, educators, ex-police, addiction counsellors, health professionals and community workers) have joined together to form Smart Approaches To Marijuana NZ (SAM-NZ), and will work together to oppose any attempt to legalise cannabis in New Zealand in the upcoming referendum. We’re pleased to have such a wide-ranging group of organisations and experts from all areas of society to come together to argue against legalising the recreational use of cannabis, based on reputable science and sound principles of public health and safety,” says spokesperson Aaron Ironside.

“Yes, the coalition is drawing on research and resources from prominent US group SAM which is led by Dr Kevin Sabet, a former advisor to three U.S. presidential administrations (Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations) – the only drug policy staffer to have ever served as a political appointee in a Democrat and Republican administration.”

“SAM’s Staff and Science Advisory Board is composed of world-recognised experts in research, addiction, and treatment who work tirelessly to advance public health and safety, and stand up to a powerful marijuana industry.”

“However, we reiterate that SAM in the US are not telling our coalition how to run our campaign, and have not contributed one cent to it.”

“What we are doing is drawing on the expertise and experience of a group that has watched the outcomes of legalisation in many US states. This is no different to groups like the Drug Foundation inviting people like Deborah Small, executive director of Break the Chains (USA), and US activist & author asha bandele (shown right) – both who attended a symposium attended by Andrew Little and Chlose Swarbrick in the Parliament buildings.”


(Smart Approaches To Marijuana NZ) 

Aaron Ironside                        Spokesperson: SAM-NZ

Pat Buckley                             Amped4Life Trust

Shk Shaakir Ismail                   New Zealand Muslim Association

Pat Walsh                                Secondary School Principal, former head of a Principal’s Ass’n
Rev Pane Kawhia                     Anglican Minister, Ruatoria

Christine Rankin                      Transforming Justice Foundation

Dr Ate  Moala                          PACYFIC Trust

Vic Tamati                               Community Worker

Mo McLeary                            Drug Free Ambassadors

Dr Andreas Leinfellner            Paediatrician.

Kirk Hardy                               The Drug Detection Agency

Alli Axford                               Drug Free World

Mazin  Al-Salim                       Working Together Group (WTG)

Sully Pa’ea                               Community Worker – South Auckland

Maureen MacDonald              Drug-ARM Wellington

Wayne Mulqueen                   Focus on the Family NZ

Jess McVicar                           Sensible Sentencing Trust

Dave Pizzini                             Ex-Police (Detective Senior Sergeant)

Bob McCoskrie                        Family First NZ

Darryl Wesley                         Health Professional

Stuart Caldwell                       Get Smart (Tauranga)

Brendon Warne                      Anti-P Ministries

Alan Vink                                 LeadershipWorx

Dale Kirk                                  Methcon

Stuart Lange                          NZ Christian Network

Nick Tuitasi QSM                     Pacific Wave

John Subritzky                         Promise Keepers

Rob Nordstrom                       Rubicon Alcohol & Other Drug

Gaylene Fraser                        Drug Free World

Karrin  Coates                         Sensible Sentencing Group Trust

Greer Keane                            Te Ata Rangi Rangatahi

Glenn   Dobson                        International Board Member – National Drug and Alcohol

Screening Association (NDASA)

Gayann Phillips                       NZ Christian Network

Christina Stroud                      World Federation Against Drugs

Ismail  Waja                            Working Together Group (WTG)

Bruce Couper                          Ex-Police

Phil Paikea                              Community Worker

Trevor Turner                         Drug Free World

Imraan Ali                               New Zealand Muslim Association

Ronji Tanielu                           Community Worker

Allan Va’a                                Community Worker – South Auckland

Bev Adair-Beets                      Youth Advocate

Piripi Rakete                            Drug Free World

Dr Kevin Sabet                         SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)

Luke Niforatos                        SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)


  • Dave Pigou says:

    Discusted in TV news tonight, basiclly pulling apart SAM[ as all and just USA propaganda]. Please target Justice minister Andrew Little, he is a very evil man , doing what he did with Abortion legislation plus end of life. Get what ever you can on this man and take the bloody offensive. I am donating $500.00 towards this fight. Must get in front of the game. Please remember these Progressive liberials dont care about truth and facts [ as Abortion bill showed ] dig up what ever you can and use it. destroy there credability with truth not lies as TV1 just have. Come on!!!

  • Moses says:

    $500 helps Muslims on marijuana.
    Jesus saves his herb seeds and plants them by the euphrates

  • Zheng Qiu Wu says:

    I must say no ,if it is legal ,everyone has legal chance to try it and use it with out doctor‘s offers, if you try it for a while ,very hard to give it up ,it effects the whole life and family.

  • Colleen Fraser says:

    No please

  • Tim Hinchliff says:

    Sorry but I don’t see much science or evidence here. @zheng if kids want to try marijuana or any other drug it is easy enough to get from someone at school or off the dark web. There is no evidence that marijuana is addictive and considerable evidence that sugar is more addictive. @dave the debate should be kept as level as possible resorting to dirty tricks should be avoided by both sides it will only further cloud the debate, and I don’t see what abortion has to do with this debate except that it shows that you are generally very conservative. That’s fine but not everyone thinks the same as you. The basic fact remains. Marijuana is out there and heavily used. Criminalisation and the “war on drugs” has done nothing to decrease drug use (drug use has steadily increased) and has led to the rise of massive criminal gangs that (looking at Mexican cartels) have been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. The legalisation of all drugs, not just marijuana, would give government control over the issue of crime and addiction associated with drugs. The cat has already been long out of the bag. Let’s at least put a leash on the cat.

  • quaid says:

    Giving government control over drugs to legalise buy, sell, market overseas and to generally take MORE control of our lives is stupid. The country does not need being further stuffed up and not helped. The country needs people to be positive and not drugged up to oblivion.

  • Tim Hinchliff says:

    @quaid I would accept that government is an imperfect way of dealing with problems. However would you prefer they controlled drugs or the mongrel mob or the hell’s angels or the triads? Your positive attitude is admirable but not shared by all people. We have to deal with people as they are not as we would like them to be. People get “drugged up” regardless of legality, they have done for thousands of years. Maybe they need God, maybe they need therapy, or meditation or whatever. How will they be guided to those things if they hide in the shadows because the problem they have is illegal? How do we help people get off drugs and be positive if they are too afraid to get help for fear of being arrested? The war on drugs is a failure by any measure. There has to be a better way. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

  • Da says:

    I have just received the Govt. what am voting on paper in my letter box.Iam incensed to see that it is blatantly promoting the yes vote to the cannabis bill. How can a Govt. do this when it is supposed to be the public ‘s choice? They are definitely trying to influence the decision their way.
    The present law is working much better than if it was made a free for all. Once the gene is let out of the bottle it can never be put back in.

  • Shaun Alexander says:

    I came here to see what the negatives could be, I read @Tim’s comments and feel I couldn’t agree more. We’ve tried one way (illegal marijuana) and it’s not worked, what about if Instead it was legal and the tax revenue could go into programmes to help those that, in the current system, would go to jail?

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