Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has announced a new testing regime for political party pills, after concerns were raised about the testing of animals.
Mr Dunne said he will put a stop to the lethal dose (LD50) test, which involves dosing a test group of dogs with a drug until half the group dies. He described the test as "barbaric and disgusting".
He said the new testing regime would not involve dogs.
A political party pill testing regime was originally announced after concerns were raised about the safety of some pills.
Doctors have reported cases of political party pill users displaying unusual behaviour, and even symptoms of mental illness, following consumption of some products. Medical experts fear that frequent exposure to some pills may have negative long-term consequences.
The highly popular National party pill range has been the subject of particular concern. The product has proven commercially successful because users of the pill report feelings of euphoria even as their personal lives come crashing down around them.
One anonymous user said he took some National party pills just after being made redundant, only to find his despair at losing a thirty year career turning to a strange overwhelming joy.
“One of my workmates offered me some Brighter Future pills to help me cope,” said the man. “Losing my job was the worst thing that could have happened to me, as we were already struggling financially and were behind on the mortgage, and I couldn't see the prospect of getting another job.
“Within half an hour of taking the pills I began to see strange lights, and everything began spinning. As things slowly settled down an odd euphoria came upon me. I suddenly realised that my personal tragedy was nothing in the greater scheme of things, and that if my family’s destruction secured a better return for my employer’s shareholders then it would all be worth it.
”I took more and more Brighter Future pills over the next few months, even as everything turned to crap. I lost the house, my wife left me for a shoe repair guy, they repossessed my car, and I ended up filing for bankruptcy. But I didn't care because I was so happy, and because I knew better times were just around the corner.
"So I spent everything I had on the pills. It was only when I ran out of money and couldn't afford another hit that the crushing weight of the world fell upon me.
"I wish I’d never gone anywhere near National’s Brighter Future.”
Another pill user said she suffered unpleasant side-effects after taking several Labour party pills.
“The pills come in a range of colours, but I went for red,” said the woman. “People have told me that for the next month or so I was argumentative and unpleasant.
“While I was on this party pill high I found an online forum where other Labour party pill users were posting, and I began to write hundreds and hundreds of comments on the site, attacking the maker of the pill and anyone who used a different colour pill to me.
“It took over my life and I lost most of my friends.”
Mr Dunne said his motivation to regulate political party pills came from his own past experiences.
“I'm an occasional user of political party pills, and I've experienced my share of bad trips over the years. Labour, Future New Zealand, United New Zealand, United Future, I've tried them all.
“I decided in the end to make my own range of political party pills, because I was sick of feeling terrible on someone else’s product. I have to be honest, though, that while my pills provide a certain level of comfort, I've also experienced long periods of sleepiness, grumpiness, and bewilderment.”
Mr Dunne said the side-effects of the pills were unwelcome, but he felt better for not subjecting the public to his product before it was confirmed as safe for use.
“I’d like to see my pills on the shelves one day, but the active ingredient appears to cause flatulence," said Mr Dunne.
He said the new testing regime would not involve harm to beloved animals.
“I have spoken to the Prime Minister, and we have agreed that political party pills should not be released to the public until they have been thoroughly tested.
“It would be unjust to subject innocent animals to a testing regime, when there are so many politicians available.
“John Key has now agreed to adopt this approach with National’s Brighter Future range. Those pills have now been taken off the market pending further tests, and Mr Key has agreed to be a test subject.
“Those tests are ongoing, but they are already showing some remarkable results. Apparently the euphoria that comes from taking a Brighter Future pill can be offset if at the same time you stuff your mouth full of live maggots.”