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The Police Association holds its 83rd annual conference this week, from Wednesday 10 to Friday 12 October, at the James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel, Wellington.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Weeding out the referendum: Policing with a ‘Yes’ vote.”

This is reference to the government’s promise to hold a referendum on or before the 2020 election on legalisation of cannabis for personal use.  For the association this conference marks the starting point for an open, honest and evidence-based discussion on how our members could be affected if there is a ‘Yes’ vote. The association will not take a pro or an anti-legalisation stance in the public debate because our members must enforce the law, whatever it is.

Conference speakers have been chosen for their respective areas of expertise - from how Canadian police are dealing with their country’s recent legalisation of cannabis, to leading NZ research on options for cannabis law reform, the social harms of cannabis, and young people and cannabis. The panel and conference discussion, will be moderated by Ross Bell, director of the NZ Drug Foundation.

Association President Chris Cahill will address the conference and introduce Police Minister Stuart Nash, who will officially open the conference on Wednesday morning.

National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop will speak on Friday morning.

Delegates from around the country, and international guests representing Australian and South African police associations, will attend the conference.

Media representatives are invited to attend the following sessions:

Wednesday 10 October, 10am – 11am

  • 10am: Official Welcome – NZPA President Chris Cahill
  • 10:20am: Conference Opening – Hon Stuart Nash, Minister of Police

Thursday 11 October, 9am – 1pm

  • 9am: Bravery Award presentation
  • 10:30am: Weeding out the Referendum – speeches and Q&A
    • Overview of the Canadian perspective on policing under cannabis legalisation from Canadian Police Association President Tom Stamatakis
    • Moderator Ross Bell of the NZ Drug Foundation will then introduce three speakers offering various perspectives on the potential impact of a ‘Yes’ vote on policing. A panel discussion and questions from delegates will follow.
    • Speakers:
      • Tom Stamatakis, Canadian Police Association President and ICPRA Chair
      • Ross Bell, NZ Drug Foundation director
      • Chris Wilkins, Massey University drug researcher
      • Carrie Drake, NZ Police intelligence practitioner
      • Julia Amua Whaipooti, JustSpeak spokesperson and Children’s Commission senior advisor

Friday 12 October, 9am – 10am

  • 9am: Address by Opposition Police Spokesperson Chris Bishop

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