Napier Mayor Bill Dalton continues to lock horns with Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne on the regulation of legal highs.

Mr Dalton called the Government "wimpish" at the weekend over its refusal to ban psychoactive substances.

His comments came after Peter Dunne listed Napier and Hastings as cities actively "restricting" the sale of legal highs on TV1 last week.

"Ironically he held up Napier as one of the few cities making the most of their so-called power to 'restrict' the sale of these vile things. We don't want them in our city," Mr Dalton said.


Mr Dalton and Mr Dunne appeared on TVNZ's Seven Sharp last night to debate whether council capabilities to regulate legal highs were sufficient. Mr Dunne believed councils had all necessary powers to regulate legal highs, while Napier's mayor called for an outright ban of all mind-altering drugs.

Mr Dalton was dissatisfied with regulatory powers conveyed to councils under the Psychoactive Substances Act and proposed a blanket ban of all mind-altering drugs. "There must be a way," Mr Dalton said. "They [the Government] have got more resources than I'll ever have."

Mr Dunne: "That would be foolish. It would drive the whole thing underground and we'd be in a worse position than we are now."

Mr Dunne said the Government was unable to ban legal highs because the chemical composition of synthetic cannabis "keeps changing". Adult Selections in Napier continued to sell synthetic cannabis. "If we had the power, we'd shut it down within minutes," Mr Dalton said yesterday.