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Most read: Winston Peters doesn’t rule out loose leaf medicinal cannabis, criticises National’s bill during exchange with Paula Bennett

This story was first published on Thursday July 26

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters extended an olive branch to the Opposition over medicinal cannabis in Parliament today, before criticising National's own bill.

National Party deputy leader Paula Bennett was questioning Mr Peters in the House today over if he supported loose leaf cannabis being available through the Government's medicinal cannabis bill. 

"What the Government supports is a sense of commitment to the law change, which people like Helen Kelly were asking for, which is not accommodated for in the National Party's legislation, which if they had of consulted with us, if they had any good faith, if they had any integrity they would have asked us before hand and we could have helped them," Mr Peters said.

"And we still stand ready to help them."

Ms Bennett said the National Party "repeatedly asked the Select Committee to include important detail, like whether loose leaf cannabis will be available and offered to work more collabouratively". 

National confirmed yesterday it would be pulling support for the Government's own medicinal cannabis bill, saying it "utterly fails" at creating the right regulatory and legislative controls alongside giving New Zealanders greater medicinal cannabis access.

Mr Peters said National could still make a "constructive contribution" as the Government's medicinal cannabis bill passes different stages.

Ms Bennett then asked if Mr Peters agreed with Ross Bell of the Drug Foundation, who told MediaWorks that National Party member's bill provided detail a lot of people wanted and the National Party had done a "tonne of work". 

"That is a comedy," Mr Peters said. "If the National Party have done a tonne of work, then where was it in the last nine years?"