MPs must lead the charge against drug use in the country, the Demos politician says. “There might be a couple of members of Parliament who would oppose this, but I feel most would be happy to undergo drug testing to show their support and that they are ‘clean’.”
Napa is calling for drug-testing and bag searches for methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana.
“Is it too much to ask for drug testing to be done starting with the Prime Minister, and just as importantly for Cabinet, Parliament and senior civil servants to waive any special treatment like diplomatic immunity?”
Henry Puna flew to Tuvalu this weekend for the Pacific Islands Forum. And Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown was sceptical of Napa’s call, saying Customs had more important things to do than satisfying MPs’ political gimmicks.
“It reminds me of my days as a sportsman when we had to provide urine samples for drug testing,” he said.
Travelling diplomats and other VIPs had special immunities as prescribed by the law, but MPs did not have special exemptions for their luggage. “We all go through the same screening at border security as everyone else,” he said.
“All MPs are required to fill out arrival declaration forms and declare what they are bringing in. I suspect that the only harmful substances being brought in would be the occasional bucket of KFC.
“Even in the VIP lounge I have had the occasional customs officer come and inspect me. I think that our border security staff are best placed to decide on who to strip-search and probe.”
In the battle to combat drugs trafficking, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration earlier said it had banned more than 200 people with gang affiliations or serious prior criminal convictions from entering the Cook Islands.
Selina Napa said MPs should “lead by example”, after several methamphetamine and cannabis prosecutions in the past few months.
But Mark Brown said Napa was welcome to be tested herself: “If she wants to be searched, probed and have her blood extracted then she is welcome to volunteer.”