Psychoactive Product Retail Location Policy - 2015

The Psychoactive Product Retail Location Policy was adopted by Council on 24 June 2015 and reviewed on 17 December 2019. The 2019 review did not recommend any changes, and Council resolved to continue with the current policy. The next review will be in 2024.

The policy provides restricted areas where retailers of approved psychoactive products (legal highs which have gone through a new testing process, led by the Ministry of Health) can be sold in the District.

Council is not able to enforce a ban on the products - this is a call that must be made by central Government - however the policy enforces the restrictions which the community have told us they expect to see, while still allowing some potential sale locations as required by legislation.

Having a policy restricts areas where the products can be sold, and ensures that if there are any approved, we won't be caught on the hop.

The Ministry of Health's Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority runs the process of approving products and licensing retailers. They've got an excellent website at and a free phone number that you can call with any other questions about psychoactive substances in New Zealand at 0800 789 652.

The 2015 Psychoactive Product Retail Location Policy

The policy states that approved psychoactive products will only be able to be sold from licensed retailers located:

1. In the commercial area of the town centres of Whitianga, Whangamatā and Thames called the 'pedestrian core zone'

2. At least 50 metres away from the following:

  • education facilities, schools, early childhood centres, kohanga reo, kindergartens and youth facilities
  • council-administered playgrounds and swimming pools
  • skate parks
  • libraries including toy libraries
  • community halls
  • sports fields
  • medical centres and community health providers
  • social welfare and support centres
  • places of worship.

3. At least 300 metres away from any other existing licensed retailers (there are no existing licensed retailers yet - it is currently illegal to sell psychoactive products).