The article "Drug law reform will pay for itself" (Nation, November 8) talks costs and positive benefits, as estimated by Shamubeel Eaqub of Sense Partners.

But much detail is missing. Drug users feature in many kinds of crime.

In 2006 the Treasury wanted to know the cost of crime in NZ. The study by Roper and Thompson estimated $9.1 billion, but it was a sparse, inconclusive review.

In 2011 WHO estimated the cost of all crime in NZ to be $18 billion, warning that figure could double with further research. The cost to health alone is largely unknown, and yet it is most exposed to costs of crime/public injury every day.


In 2006, the group, "Rethinking Crime & Punishment", estimated the cost of justice to the private and public sectors at $7 billion, and in 2011, their study costed each homicide at $4 million. When a competent study is done we will all be shocked at the billions of dollars we spend on crime.

But, before costs, we need a plan that shows great wisdom, addresses public safety, and identifies which crimes are perpetrated by drugs, and where the safe levels are. Nothing can be concluded, proposed or costed until we know those details. (Abridged)

Russell McKenzie

Climate debate balance

The article by Dawn Picken "Young Want Healthy Planet" was scary reading (Opinion, November 8).

Scary because it seems a whole generation of children are being told untruths about our planet and its future.

The bleak outlook young people have is surely part of the reason for teenage self harm and perhaps may even contribute to our suicide statistics. Have our teachers and journalists ever considered that I wonder?

I wonder too whether Picken and her daughter's teacher ever consider introducing a little balance into the debate?


A little balance that might convince impressionable teenagers that living conditions on Earth are actually improving.

Such sentiments are of course heretical these days, but heresy may be truth.

Don't believe me? Then Google Hans Rosling's TED Talks, or visit Bjorn Lomborg's web page. Both men are realists and their realism has led to their optimism over the planet's future.

It's worthwhile to remember the sentiments of IPCC official and German economist Ottmar Edenhofer earlier this year who said, "Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection. The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world's resources will be negotiated".

Mike Houlding
Mount Maunganui