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NZ First to reconsider stance on pill testing at festivals

A motion put by Young New Zealand First to re-evaluate the party's position on pill testing at festivals has been carried following a robust debate on the floor.

Today's debate at the NZ First party conference in Christchurch included Young NZF members and MPs. Tracey Martin and Jenny Marcroft were in favour of the motion, while Darroch Ball, Clayton Mitchell and Mark Patterson were against.

Previously Police Minister, Stuart Nash's attempt to legalise testing before the summer festival season failed after he struggled to garner support from New Zealand First.

Mr Nash is now looking at other options to have testing in place, possibly implementing scientific pill testing trials at festivals, following Britain where results were used to change the law.

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While NZ First continues to block moves, Stuart Nash says he’s looking into another option to get testing in place by summer. Source: 1 NEWS

As it stands New Zealand First oppose the bill which would legalise drug testing at festivals, with party leader Winston Peters previously saying, " I think it's better to tell people that drugs and drug experimentation is an awfully risky and dangerous thing to do."

Previously NZ First law and order spokesperson Darroch Ball said drug testing could legitimise and encourage drug use.

“We're acting at the wrong end here. We're being very reactionary if we think it's okay to start saving lives or to start protecting people after the drug has been taken or after it's been purchased,” he said.

National party leader Simon Bridges has a similar view, with his party opposing the move.

"Legalising the pill testing sends the wrong message to young people - is National divided over this? No."

The Green Party are in favour of legalising the drug testing.

A recent 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll found overwhelming support for legalising testing of drugs at festivals.

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Jenny Marcroft spoke in favour of testing while Mark Patterson was against it. Source: 1 NEWS