Petition linked to fly-over

By Alexandra Newlove

7 comments
Grey Power's Beverley Aldridge believes her group's stance on cannabis is upopular with some powerful people. Photo: John Stone
Grey Power's Beverley Aldridge believes her group's stance on cannabis is upopular with some powerful people. Photo: John Stone

The head of a Grey Power chapter promoting medicinal cannabis believes her group is being "sabotaged", after an Air Force plane flew "very low" over her home.

Otamatea Grey Power put its weight behind the legalise cannabis movement in April this year, saying they want to have the choice of dying pain-free. The group then launched a petition asking the Government to legalise the growing of cannabis for personal medicinal use.

Now, president Beverley Aldridge says her group was being "sabotaged and maybe intimidated", after an Air Force Hercules flew over her Maungaturoto home on July 18.

"All of a sudden it's happening. I don't believe in coincidences and I'm not paranoid," Ms Aldridge said.

But a Defence spokesman said the Air Force had no knowledge of who owned the properties that such flights passed over, unless an owner agreed to the use of their land as the drop zone, as was the case with a property near Maungaturoto.

Ms Aldridge said the flyover frightened herself and some of her neighbours. It seemed strange the plane flew directly over her house which was situated in "thousands of acres of farmland", she said. She complained to the Royal New Zealand Air Force, which said the flight was part of routine training departing Whenuapai Air Base.

"While large aircraft flying at low level attract attention, especially for people unused to seeing them, minimum standards are rigorously maintained," an RNZAF spokesman said.

The standards referred to require planes to be at an altitude of at least 250 metres above a residential area.

Ms Aldridge said she had no proof to back up her suspicions, "but one does wonder".

Ms Aldridge said she was not a cannabis user herself but had researched the plant and come to the conclusion it had a myriad of benefits.

Just over 700 people had signed her group's online petition so far.

Ms Aldridge said she believed further signatories would be put off by the incident with the plane "knowing there could be repercussions when the petition is submitted".

Otamatea Grey Power planned to submit the petition to a local MP. The group's stance was that the resources currently used policing cannabis crime would be better spent elsewhere.

They also said the plant had medicinal benefits, prohibition did not work, and that the law was hypocritical when other drugs like alcohol and tobacco were legal.

The Whangarei Grey Power branch had expressed some support for Otamatea, but said medicinal cannabis should require a prescription.

- Northern Advocate

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