Meth seizures at a decade high

By Aroha Treacher

Official figures show that combined meth seizures between Customs and the New Zealand Police have increased by more than 20 times in the last decade, with authorities seizing almost a tonne of meth last year alone.

"There is a simple equation here, as long as there is a demand for meth there will be a supply so let's flip this around and instead of trying to stop the supply of meth we have to stop the demand," says Ross Bell, executive director of the NZ Drug Foundation.

Over the last decade, meth seizures have dramatically increased in New Zealand.

In 2007 nearly 40kg was seized and seizure quantities stayed below 53kg until 2013.

Then in 2014 that figure more than doubled to almost 100kg and then more than tripled in 2015 to 341kg.      

However the biggest spike came in 2016, with customs recording almost a tonne of methamphetamine seizures.

In the last two years there have been at least five major busts of 30kg and over, the biggest haul seized in Northland last year of 501kg.

Bell says that more resources and funding should be put into health and education around drug awareness and rehabilitation rather than focusing on police, courts and prisons.

"If we want to address the high rates of drug use and all of the problems associated with that I think the obvious answer is shift the resources from law enforcement into health," says Bell.

In 2015 the top countries where individuals were caught exporting the drug's precursors were China, Mexico, Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan and Canada.