Health trougher reveals his statist leanings

Doug Sellman is a control freak, who hates alcohol. He is also a cry-baby who whinges about people criticising him.

You can tell he hates alcohol and alcohol companies when he compares them to criminal gangs.

The days of cannabis prohibition in New Zealand appear to be coming to an end. Peter Dunne is reflecting a change in public attitudes towards cannabis that is gathering momentum.

The brave admissions by Helen Kelly and others about their illegal use of cannabis for medical purposes has helped reignite public discussion about cannabis law in general.

Drugs, including alcohol, are here to stay – our job is to get better at managing them as a society. Declaring war is a failed strategy, which needs to be replaced by scientifically based harm-reduction approaches.

He is, of course, funded for his own harm-reduction approaches, so it is unsurprising that he wants more of this.

He now embarks on his own jihad against alcohol companies.

Alcohol has a highly commercialised “free market” approach, which Sir Geoffrey Palmer described as “unbridled commercialisation” when he led the Law Commission’s call for strong regulatory reform in 2010 (mostly ignored by the Government at the time).

At the other end of the continuum is prohibition, which exists for cannabis and all other recreational drugs (except tobacco).

Even possession of small quantities of cannabis can potentially attract a criminal conviction, which can scar a young person for life, derailing them from feeling they belong to the mainstream of society and blocking career and travel options.

Excessive harm is caused at both ends of the continuum, where big business flourishes, one within the law and the other outside of it. Both share the goal of profit maximisation from supplying and selling as much of their drug as possible.

Booze companies are like drug cartels?

He continues:

The alcohol industry goes out of its way to project a socially responsible image and strives to be seen as part of the solution to problems its product creates rather than ever admit it is central to the problems.

Behind the scenes, however, alcohol corporates target new young customers, avoid paying tax, schmooze politicians, and attempt to denigrate those who point out their devious tactics.

The organised criminal cannabis suppliers also flagrantly target the young and avoid paying tax, but they don’t try to pretend they are anything but gangsters making money out of drug dealing.

There he is with his cry-baby stance. But he should be challenged with his beliefs that companies selling a legal and highly regulated and licensed product are somehow akin to tinnie houses and drug cartels.

Leaving recreational drugs in the hands of big business, without very strong regulation, is a recipe for harm maximisation. Prohibition is an admission of defeat and an abrogation of control.

Harm would be minimised in the middle ground of the drug policy continuum if the Government took centre-stage and strongly regulated drugs in terms of marketing, pricing, accessibility, age of purchase and drug-driving laws.

With change in the cannabis laws coming there is danger that a 180-degree switch might occur – from prohibition to commercialisation.

Lobbying of our parliamentarians may already be under way by business leaders salivating at the new fortunes they anticipate reaping. This is especially so since the dramatic changes in the United States where four states now have laws allowing private businesses to supply and sell cannabis.

There are alternatives to a private business model, one of which is the establishment of state-owned enterprises.

Government monopolies of retail sales of alcohol exist in Scandinavia and are documented as a highly effective harm reduction intervention for alcohol . In Uruguay the Government directly controls a legalised cannabis market alongside home growing and social clubs.

With the Government taking control of drugs, the huge profit from sales goes back to the Government for the greater good. Black markets are undermined while health promotion can be genuinely undertaken at the point of sale, motivated by the fact the state bears the costs for harm from excessive use of these drugs.

He has just spent half of his article claiming that heavy handed regulation of illegal drugs and the war on drugs has failed and in his next breath he is telling us only the government (which failed in its war on drugs) is the only solution to controlling the issue of harm from those same drugs, of which he lumps alcohol in the same boat.

It is a ridiculous proposition, so ridiculous that Labour will probably end up adopting it. You will say I jest but consider this….Labour wants to strong arm banks, control interest rates, have the state as the sole provider in education, health and many other industries. They still want to nationalise the power system and have every single adult on suckling on the tit of the state…why wouldn’t they want control of the drug and alcohol industry?

Doug Sellman is a dangerous, conceited, lunatic masquerading with respectability because of his job and title. Anyone who thinks the government is the answer to any problem is certifiable, and clearly and demonstrably a statist if not a communist. He should be challenged at every opportunity because his drivel is so willingly accepted by the like of the NZ Herald. The fact he compares alcohol companies with illegal drug cartels shows he is acutally unfit for his job as an academic, and shows clear bias in anything he says or does.


– NZ Herald


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  • Aucky

    Arguing that government control over the production and sale of alcohol is beneficial is an outright lie. I’m sure that he is fully aware of the massively high rates of alcoholism that existed in the Soviet Union when the manufacture and distribution of vodka was totally state-controlled.

    • RightofSingapore

      Wasn’t the alcholism there caused by a black market rather than State control?

      • willtin

        Isn’t it the same answer which ever way you ask the question?

  • localnews

    And again the accusation that companies avoid paying tax. It must be the new slur that is going to be dropped into every media story

  • anniem

    I wish Sellman would just shut up and go away. He lost all credibility when he trotted out his weekly “safe limits” for alcohol consumption. According to him every person who has 2 G&T’s each evening has a problem. Gosh there’s a lot of older Kiwis with a booze problem. (not to mention younger ones as well) Go and put your head in a bucket of water Doug!

    • El Jorge

      Have you seen how much sugar is in tonic?!?!

      • anniem

        Indeed I have El Jorge, and it is a major gripe of mine that diet tonic (which I have managed to get used to) only comes in large plastic bottles that are flat after 2-3 openings and get tossed in my house because life is too short to drink flat tonic water. In NZ we are very poorly served for tonic water. There are a couple of “designer” tonics available and also Fever Tree brand imported from UK but they do not have a diet option. Maybe we should start a campaign?

  • JEL51

    Why should it be the concern of a Health Professional whether a company, what ever its nature, is paying its due share of tax?
    Answer……. only when that Health Professional has been infected with that Green virus which has a tendency to move the perspective to the limitation of the Marxist viewpoint.
    Like that of the many other salaried Health Professionals, who had the audacity to challenge a ‘fairly’ elected Government in the High Court to prevent them from carrying-out what the majority of THIS Nations peoples voted them in to do, this is another expert who has lost his way.
    If Doug and his colleagues spent as much time finding an answer to why some of their clients fail to take responsibility for the direction their lives have gone, than meddle with the rest of society, they may just be seen as credible.
    Sadly in the forty years I have been observing the psychiatric profession from afar, I have seen nothing but failure……

  • Rick H

    This man, a few decades ago, would be living 24km NNE as the crow flies from his current place of work.

    The Seacliff Lunatic Asylum.